On April 20, 2013

Sucre has been an incredible city in which to rest. It’s an obviously wealthy city center full of old white washed buildings, wealthy businessmen, and European cars. There’s also the taste of Bolivia found in the market, street vendors, and the relatively few people begging. The sheer difference in wealth is most staggering here. Surprisingly I met some travelers that commented that Bolivia didn’t seem that poor. Another cyclist and I were extremely surprised by the comment, but if you travel by bus from city center to city center, stay in hostels, and eat in restaurants you won’t really notice the poverty. Cycling through the poverty stricken outer ring of a city and through shanty farm villages really lends a perspective I previously took for granted.

I had time to fix up my bike. I rotated my tires, changed my chain (6,000 km!), and trued my wheels. I also managed to find a replacement tire for my trailer made in Brasil. Luckily I found one that wasn’t too knobby. I didn’t want to risk blowing the tire on the hundreds (perhaps thousands) of kilometers of ripio coming up. There are also several gashes and small holes in the old tire.

I decided not to take any formal classes in Sucre. My Spanish has improved enough that I learned the vocabulary I need for my trip and practice speaking is the only thing that will help me. I decided to combine my love of food and need for speaking by spending time in the market eating and buying food. The money I saved by not sitting in a class full of English tourists (who complain about their teachers not teaching) goes towards food, which is as much as I can eat at these prices.

I absolutely love the Bolivians I’ve met thus far. In the market I go to the same lady for lunch every day. There is a row of vendors that all yell their (same) entrees while trying to guide you by the arm to their table. It’s rather entertaining to watch. My lady waved a spatula, catching my eye after i made it all the way across and looked back. These ladies are the most aggressive, the other food vendors just yell their produce in a constant monotone drone. I’ve tried many dishes including mondongo, picante de pollo, sopa de mani, and milanesa de pollo. Mondongo is small ribs in a tomato sauce served over large corn kernels (mote). The milanesa de pollo is chicken breast beat flat with a stone and fried with egg. I also enjoy the fresh fruit salads or juices, dried fruit, nuts, spices, veggies, cheese, and bread. Makes me want to go back…

I started buying groceries for my ride out of Sucre. The amazing blog inspired me to eat healthier. The amount of great produce here is amazing. For breakfast I’m going to have oatmeal with raisins, dried apples, some sort of seeds (flax?), and a solid molasses-like substance as sweetener. Then one dinner will be a stew with lentils, carrots, potatoes, peanuts, and small noodles. I also bought curry and some sort of picante spice for the stew. I’m excited to be out in the middle of nowhere cooking again. I’m drinking up my hot chocolate even though its my camping comfort food (drink) because its heavy. I also am contemplating touring in the Peruvian Andes until I need to go to Lima rather than going to the coast and getting to Lima early. I hear the coast is busy and boring while the mountains are barely visited, gorgeous, and super hard cycling.

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