Spanish lessons in Sucre, Bolivia

This week it was back to school for us to learn some spanish. We only had time to do a week of classes, but we had also decided to stay with a host family so that we could get a little extra practice in after school. The family (Luis, Rosio, and their three children) were lovely. Oh and the dog Flor! Win, a dog in the house! For me it was especially nice having the children around, as they reminded me of all my nieces and nephew back in the UK.

We arrived in the afternoon after the ride in our taxi from potosi (3 hour drive). The driver was a bit of a nutter as usual, and his car had the standard Bolivian go fast stripes and big exhaust that all the taxis seem to have. We met the whole family and the parents spoke fairly good english. The youngest girl took a liking to us pretty quickly, so we played with her for a while but Kumu managed to make her cry within 30 minutes of playing! She wanted a toy with candy in it on the top of the cupboard which Kumu wasn’t sure if she was allowed. At 3 years old (yes, the human 26 years younger than us) she even taught us us 3 New words within those 30 minutes – mucena (doll), lentes (glasses) and barbas (beard). She even corrected Kumu’s pronunciation!

After kumu had managed to make our youngest teacher cry, we went out for a walk where we bumped into Nila and her mum (two of the guys from the Uyuni tour). We had a little wonder around the city and had a drink before heading to an Asian place for dinner. It was good but the portions were so small! It’s such a disappointment, to have something so nice but only having enough to feed a shrew. This is where the three stages of beer Instagram photo comes from. After dinner we had an early night, I think it was 8.15pm and we were in bed! It had been a long tiring day apparently…. It really hadn’t.

Next morning it was a Sunday and we woke to have breakfast with the family at about 8am. We then took a walk into town to grab a coffee and to use the Wi-Fi at a cafe so I could video call my family, as it was Easter and my mum was doing a get together. Was nice to see them, as i think this was ths first time i had seen them all since we left in february. After lunch we headed to the recoleta viewpoint and had a beer at the cafe at the top. This was a lovely spot, but the road up to it had a ton of dog poo up it and it really stank; was a real wretcher! I have learnt that Kumu has a super sensitive sense of smell, which can often cause all sorts of wretching noises and kick off sprints away from smelly areas; it’s like there has been a crisis and I’m just aimlessly legging it after her not quite sure as to what has just happened. For dinner that night we went to this dirty fried chicken place called dona lia. It was….interesting. Kumu was pretty happy but mine was cold and I was sure the chicken was dodgy (or even just dog).

Next morning it was off to school for us. Kumu was getting all excited about getting good grades and being top of the class. I on the other hand was just thinking about the homework and how I was going to try and not make myself look too much of a simpleton in class in front of everyone. We were put in a group with a German couple (Caroline and Frank) but they had already done a week of classes before, so we were a little unsure how this might pan out with the studying. We also met our teachers, alejandro and Shirley. Each day we got alejandro for the first 2 hours and then a small break before Shirley for the last 2 hours. Let’s just say our first day of school was a little overwhelmjng! Anyway, we survived it and we headed back home for lunch and a bit of rest. Did our homework (yes, at nearly 30 I was sat there with my little book of words trying to remember how to string together a basic sentence) and then we went to joyride cafe for drinks and cafe florin for dinner. Both of these are good for food and drinks in Sucre!

Ok so day 2, and back to class. Today seemed less daunting and surprisingly we learnt something from the day before. After lunch we chilled out at home and played with the kids in the garden. Hide and seek was my favourite, although me and Kumu started running out of place to cram ourselves into to hide. I ended up resorting to burying myself in a bush. The kids would go to school for the same number of hours as we did and mum, rocio, would come home and whip up lunch for all of us in 30 minutes before heading back to work at about 3. We always had soup and a main and even fresh juice!! Kumu’s favourite juice from the week was tumbo, a local fruit and their lemonada!

Our favourite soup that Rosio made was sopa de mani (peanut soup). We found that they deep fry a lot of their food and have a deep passion for fried chicken! That night we went to condor cafe for happy hour where Kumu got ripped of by an old Bolivian lady selling her souvenir. She said it was 6 bob, Kumu gave her 10 and she gave her no change..she then proceeded to pretend to be on her phone and walked out! We then watched a Bolivian dance show. It was brilliant, and definitely worth going to. So much energy and the dances from each region are so different including their costumes!

I managed to grab a few shots of it and get pulled up on stage for the most awkward 2 mins dancing of my life. I think the lady who picked me was really regretting it. Pretty sure she would have rather poked herself in the eye than drag me round that stage.

Next day, our morning of school was the same and then in the evening we took a walk to avenue America. This place was not as grand as it sounds. It was basically half a mile of fried chicken shops. Give them their dues, each one was different to the other though. Then we went to the bus station to buy our ticket to La Paz before stopping at a random bbq joint for some bruchetta served with carbs and more carbs. The rice was pretty much porridge. Even Kumu wasn’t keen on it. You know your rice is criminal when Kumu doesn’t like it! Today we also told the family at lunch that we were checking out a day earlier to stay at a different place on Saturday, as they had an 8am check out and we wanted a later check out, as our bus wasn’t until the evening. When we got back that night they told us they didn’t care about the money or late check out but wanted us to stay the night for their daughter’s 11th birthday party. We were touched and cancelled our reservation straight away.

With birthday plans now arranged, the next afternoon after school we went shopping for presents for the kids and it was not easy… We have no idea what an eleven year old girl likes, let alone one we just met in Bolivia! Anyway, we managed to find something, and decided to get the other two kids a little something as well. To relax from our shopping ordeal, we headed to parque Boliviar for some site seeing. This place had an imitation of the Arch de Triumph and the Eiffel tower, as sucre once had a queen that loved Paris, so she decided to make her own version of it. Probably saves on the travel costs in the long run, so fair enough. The garden was very well looked after, but this tower in the middle seemed a bit of a youth ‘moth to a flame’s sort of place, and it had been trashed a fair bit. Still, we climbed up it though and had a quick lookout across the park.

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After all the school and shopping, Kumu said she was feeling in much need of a massage (she actually has some genuine tight neck issues), so we walked to this spa place where she got a massage for an hour. I just caught up on some interneting in the lobby. Dinner that night was at montirosso; a little pasta place that has a sign the size of a postage stamp, so was a little tricky to spot. The food was spot on, and we left with very happy stomachs.

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Montirosso pasta

For our last day of class we wanted to leave class early to go to the dinosaur park. We didn’t leave early enough which meant we missed the footprints tour and the rest of the tour was a huge let down. Just a heads up, this is in fact NOT where jurassic park was filmed. Anyway the foot prints are ok (Kumu loved them a bit too much I thought…), but I was hoping for something a little more like a three pointed foot. Nice and clear. Maybe with some water rippling in it (ok it’s obvious I have watched that film too much). The place used to be a lake and when the company was mining on the hill they found these preserved footprints! They are on their side because of the way the earth has been forced up because of the movement of the tectonic plates.

We then headed back to town and had lunch at cafe metro before getting an ice cream. I’ve got a real appreciation for Kumu’s ice cream cravings now. We then headed to a mirador on top of San Felipe before heading home. We played with the kids when we got back and went back out to florin to grab a quick dinner. When we got back we helped with the party decorations till 1 am!! It was an emoji / social media themed party. I was cheif emoji maker for these buckets and a picture frame for taking photos in. I was fairly pleased with my efforts as well. We were also set on balloon blowing up duty, which I have always had a talent for. Really got that knot bit down to a tee!

That reminds me, I must add that to my LinkedIn profile ready for applying for jobs in Australia.

So last day. Party day! We had a bit of a sleep in and had breakfast at 9! We decided to go back to joy ride as it was a nice day and we needed some fast Wi-Fi to get some bits sorted. The parents went to the market to grab supplies for the party, and from there it was all a bit of a blur getting things ready. The house had balloons everywhere and we were still making emojis right up to the last minute. But it all came together in one rapid movement. At the party the kids had fun with the dj who was doing all sorts of games. I really wished I could have gotten in there but I’d have just let the team down trying to understand them telling me when to go. ‘do what? You want drink? It’s a bird?….oh, go!….oh the other team has already won….’

We stayed right till the end as Rocio and Luis insisted we stayed on to see the cake cutting. We stayed so late that we were panicking as to whether we would get to the station on time to get our night bus!

Sucre. A lovely city and well worth spending a decent amount of time in. Made all the better by our stay with Rosio and Luis.

CaYf Rikki

P.s. really behind on these blogs but we will get there eventually!

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