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|JULY 25, 2006 TUESDAY|
|WELCOMING PARADE IN TUPIZA, BOLIVIA|
| It was a spectacular drive past the rock formations on the way into Tupiza. The road today, though, becomes more narrow and windy. I love those edges!!(I am going to be short on typing about the next few days. I am 5 days behind and need to catch up so I don’t forget what I saw today. It is a lot of drive days, so there is not much to say anyway.)We climb to what looks like the highest mountain tops of Bolivia. Everywhere you look, there are mountains. They just fade into a lighter shade of blue-green one layer behind another layer. It’s a very spectacular sight. There is a very large cactus, like a saguaro, but with a truck and MANY arms. We stop for lunch in a dry river bed. I go rock hunting while Michael naps.
We have been seeing a few cows for the past few days. We had not seem them previously.
Arrive in Tupiza about 2:30pm. They are having a PARADE!! (Imagine that.) Although this time it is coming toward us, we are not actually able to be IN this parade. There were soldiers carrying these decorated arch things, only they are square, not rounded at the top. They were decorated with everything under the sun: dolls, ribbons, pots and pans . . . There were horseback riding groups, majorettes (without the batons), band, ladies dancing; men in ponchos — don’t know their significance. We found out that the parade was not for us, but was their “local festival”, whatever that may be.
The Tupiza Gallery
Tupiza is divided by a river. We cross the bridge several times in search of a parking place that can take us all. After 2 hours (and a fuel and water stop), we find a friend of a guy who says we can park in his gated area, but the actual owner will not be back for a couple of hours. We are then stopped by a teenage girl who is sure that it is her day to be “watchdog” of the compound, and insists that we CANNOT park there. We finally convince her that Mel and K-9 are short enough that they will not take down the electric wire to her apartment in the back. That seemed to be her main concern. She thought Kolob was going to destroy the wire that supplied the electric for her TV — thus her soap operas. They are very hung up on their soap operas. All restaurants have them blaring at lunch time.
Mick and Mo start working on Mel to find out why her heat and hot water don’t work (day 4-1/2). After only 1-1/2 hours, Mel is fixed. It seems that the gas line was plugged (Mel uses on LPG). Mick is showered, in clean clothes, and smiling when I see him next. They are SO happy to have real warm showers again.
Judy finds a place to color and trim her hair. It costs a whopping $3.00 to have it done!!!
We have dinner at El Bambino, which is recommended by Lonely Planet book. It’s cheap and ok.
We have a 10pm curfew, as the owner of the enclosure will shut and lock the gates AND LET OUT THE GUARD DOGS at 10pm. We arrive at 9:45, and the gates are closed. Luckily the owner is waiting inside the gates for us. We’ll be earlier tomorrow.
JULY 26, 2006 WEDNESDAY KOLOB GETS A BATH
It’s rest day in Tupiza to catch up on some things. Michael heads off to find some hardware things to work on the fuel tank (something for a fuel line cap, backflow preventor, or something). Judy and I set off for the laundry. It is actually in the Grocery Store!! You drop it off at the grocery checkout counter, where they weigh it. I insisted that I leave my name, as she was just going to take it away. Hope we get it back!! I was told that if you have something that you really cherish of clothing, best to wash it yourself.
Michael has returned with 5 bags of parts, and has found a place to weld up the “aluminium” aluminum tank, and WASH Kolob. So off he goes. Stephen tells Judy that he needs her out of Mog for a few hours while he works on something in the camper. FINE — WE WILL GO TO MARKET.
Judy is working on some handmade Christmas projects, so we set off to find some embroidery threads and fabrics. We find the “mercado central”, central market which has quite a large selection. It is like a crafts fair with a jillion little tent things set up selling everything, including the kitchen sink, literally. There is a shoe repair guy, next to a produce booth, next to ladies clothing, next to kids toys, next to a fabric shop — hey, that’s what we are looking for. We make our purchases and ask if there is anyplace that is a co-op or sells hand-woven (you guessed it), textiles. The shop lady eagerly tells us (more like plays charades) to follow her. We go about 6 blocks away with her chatting at us the entire time in Spanish, as we catch a few words here and there. But we smile, nod, and say “si” and “bueno” a whole lot. She seems happy with that.
The shop she actually takes us to is a Costume and costume supply shop. Not exactly what we were looking for, but interesting. Judy buys some C-mas colored rick rack, which they call “zig zag”. I didn’t even know they still made it. I eye a western styled cowboy hat with burros on it, but don’t buy.
Lunch was at a restaurant wonderfully decorated with their local cactus “cordero”. It was milled into actually car-siding type paneling (t&g), and had milled top cap and base board. I was very impressed!! Usually there are just planks of board stuck up, if there is wainscot at all. There were all kinds of cactus wood decorations, and of course the Spanish soap operas pining away on the TV of the back wall. In a concern for time, I ordered veggie lasagna, thinking it would be made and ready to heat and serve. Wrong. Judy had already finished her hamburger and ordered 2 for Stephen when my specially made, individual sized lasagna was served. It was good, especially for the $2 price!!!
It’s time to do some food shopping. We head for Tarija, then the Paraguay border tomorrow, and not much promise of I-net, phones, or supplies for the next 6 days. The local market is stocked with all sorts of fresh veggies and fruits, although I cannot identify all of them, and asking what it is, I have learned, is never a very fruitful effort (no pun intended.) It is absolutely amazing what 1 Boliviano (13 cents) will buy: 3 Roma tomatoes, a whole bunch of radishes, 2 cucumbers, 1 zucchini, a small pile of potatoes, 2 green peppers, but only 1 red or yellow pepper, 3 onions . . .
We buy fresh rolls in lieu of sliced bread, because we cannot find any. My best find was a freshly showered, handsome, and refreshed looking Michael. He was done and ready to hang with us. Our arms are strapped full of heavy veggie bags, so he is kind enough to take them back to the vehicles for us. Next stop is the grocery (or should I say laundry), where we stock up on canned goods, cereals, TP, and milk.
Everyone has agreed to go to “The Alamo” tonight so Michael and I can have Mexican food. We are so excited to see burritos, enchiladas, and quesadillas on the menu board on the wall. We are very disappointed to find out that they serve NO MEXICAN FOOD!!! Not only that, but they also do not serve half of the things on their menu!! The restaurant’s slogan is “You’ll Remember the Alamo”. You bet we will!!!
Back to our compound at 9:30 — open gate and no guard dogs out!!!
NOTES: (Notes are for things I forgot to type along the way)
ROADSIDE WORKERS — Along the dusty mountain roads, we have seen “hombres trabajos”, men working. The very strange thing is that they are wearing yellow PVC-looking rain suits and big yellow floppy brimmed PVC hats! How hot are these things!!! The daytime temps are only around mid 60’s, but the high-altitude sun is so intense. The other very strange thing is how they arrive at their worksite BICYCLES!! Up and down these mountain roads. We have not got it all figured out, but think that maybe they camp somewhere while their work on their “project”. That is something else we do not have an understanding of, what exactly they are DOING to the roads. They have usually 1 shovel, 1 hoe, and 1 broom between 2 men. Quite a bit of road maintenance can be done with these tools, right??
We passed 1 set of workers before we realized that they needed Water!! They were holding up their 2-liter soda bottles at us, and we at first thought they were just waving. We all stopped and filled their bottles. What horrible working conditions to be at that altitude, for who knows how long, working on what-we could not figure out, WITHOUT ANY WATER!!! From then on, I carried a 2-liter of water in the cab with me to give to the “road crews”.
JULY 27, 2006 THURSDAY
ROAD OF DEATH TO TARIJA
The road from Tupiza to Tarija is called the “Road of Death”. Mog is instructed to take a southerly route out of Tupiza, in lieu of the more direct looking road, as it is safer. Even this road is skinnier than the last. If they keep getting incrementally narrower each day, I hope Kolob can fly, because there will be no road left!!! (Clair, did you add this function??)
The sky is overcast as we leave, and the clouds are sitting heavily on the mountain tops. The road climbs again to the top of Bolivia. It can’t get much higher, I don’t think. We do not see the cows, like we were seeing.
MOG finds us a wonderful place to camp for the night, beside a blue lake with flamingos, ducks, and other waterfowl that only Mo knows the names of. I slip off to take some pix while the sun sets, as Michael finishes up our BEEF ENCHILADAS!! Yes, we ARE having Mexican food tonight with Guacamole.
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