Leaving Sucre

15 Aug

last row of a small bus. about to cross the border from bolivia to peru.

the land is untame, uneven.  life looks hard.  even the flat lands valley of the altiplano is filled with rocky nooks and crannies, a land boiling with rage.

im surrounded by mountains on either side – to my right, splendid snow peaked ridges with roots down at the tip of the continent.  we’re high, so high that the mountains themselves don’t seem that large.  to my left lie modest lumps of mountains no less large, but without the dramatic scenery of snow and ice, more like a humpback whale frozen in time.

our bags lie tied down to the roof.  i hope they don’t fall.  this is the second bus in two days.  last night we took the first from the old capital city of sucre.  white, colonial, the center was filled with plazas, churches, old government buildings – even castles.

our last lunch was in a restaurant overlooking the whole city.  i tried to take it all in.

set in a valley surrounded by mountains, the city felt oddly small.  and not just the landscape. it was the people too.  the time was right. it was time to go.

though i’m not gonna lie, the small town environment was comforting.

my last day was spent running around, cleaning, taking care of all the little things.

it was better that way.  less time to think.  in my short time in Sucre, I made some good friends, even found myself in a relationship.  even though it only lasted two weeks, it felt like twenty years.  nearly everyday and everynight we spent together and truthfully, i couldn’t wait to leave.

i also got to know most of the bar staff in town, its taxi drivers, its spanish teachers, an indigenous man of 7 kids, and a million other characters who made my moment of departure feel bittersweet.

my days were spent mixed – a combination of studying spanish (though I progressively did less hw as my time went on) and a makeshitft crashcourse in bolivian politics (which thanks to my roomates influence quickly turned into matters of south american politics in general – which then led to the broader questions od development and political economy).

one afternoon, after cancelling dinner plans with my spanish professor, steven and I (with beers in hand), met up to watch a lecture on Marx’s economic views.  far from being radicalized though, I found myself defending positions I otherwise wouldn’t have – if only to keep my arguments with Steve more interesting.  It wasn’t till we parted that I sensed just how my views had changed.

Then there was LCD, and a new upsell that I promised Alex I would write, as well as my own book that I cam so close to finishing in Brazil, but hadn’t really touched since.  Of course, time had to be saved for movies on our flat screen tv, occasional spells at the gym, and the marathron kohlberg drinking sessions (a 3 dollar wine that we came to know and love).  Our counter was stocked with empty bottles if only to confirm our passion. At times there seemed so much on my plate that I became paralyzed and got nothing done at all.

There were also a few shifts at the poker table with the worst card players in the world (but maybe with some of the luckiest), and a brief flirtation with the roulette table/  15 reds in a row though!? what are the odds of that?

The last few weeks in Sucre were heavily intoxicating and now tha tI look back on it, kind of a blur. Helped along by my girlfriend’s never ending energy to party and Steve’s search for a bolivian girlfriend of his own, combined with my inability to say no (though I did try a few times and my wifey of 20 years would show up anyway, always with an excuse in hand like just wanted to drop off your laundry), made certain that I was perpertually sleep deprived during my stay in Sucre, and actually craved a bit of detox time.

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