Monday, March 15, 2010

Sucre to Tarabuco



We finally got a chance to sample some of these giant bean pod things that we have been seeing people snacking on from the heights of Quito to the Coasts of Peru to the streets of Sucre. Once inside there are giant beans that you don´t eat, but if you suck off the sort of fluffy pulpy stuff surrounding them you get a mouthful of pulpy and rather sweet stuff. Then you ditch the bean. Not bad if you´re looking for something nice and sweet to stave off the hunger for something more exotic. The seats on the busses in Equador were littered with the pod casings and seeds. This other package has some kind of unkown to us corn kernals that are cooked until they puff-up like Popcorn, but they don´t explode completely. It´s delish and as good if not better than popcorn, but more compact and it doesn´t go stale right away. Puffed things seem to be all the rage in Bolivia. Actually throughout the Andes you can get popcorn almost everywhere and other puffed snacks. Markets in Bolivia frequently have a place that sells giant giant bags of puffed stuff. Some of it is a mystery. Mostly it´s puffed wheat, barley, quinoa, and other assorted grains that you can puff. Some of it is sweetened. It´s puffin awesome and ridiculous. Watermelon is, of course, everywhere and ready for the eating.

Have I mentioned that Burros are awesome? We all know that, but sometimes we forget and I have to put up another burro picture here to remind myself and others of their undaunting usefulness and their crazy big heads and their timeless sad-sack expressions. They are cheaper and mellower than horses, they eat spiney stuff and you can ride them! We ran into these burros along with their mentally troubled owner on the streets of Tarabuco which is just outside of Sucre. Tarabuco is a great place to shop for Bolivian souvenirs and other hand and factory-made stuff not from Bolivia but from other places.

At one point we found a hand-made bag with ¨ecuador¨ printed on it, but the town is also small and pretty and temperate surrounded by dry hills with little farms. It felt almost Californian without the Californians. This old colonial building caught my eye. There were many old one´s decaying in the heat.

All in all it was a rather unremarkable town with a rather large Sunday market aimed at both locals and Tourists alike. Unlike Sucre things seemed a little bit more ¨desperado¨ here. Many people would come up and shove stuff in your face for sales and were a little pushy, but there was some really beautiful authentic stuff as well and for the ammounts of work put into these quality hand-made textiles, we had to walk away with a few things. BUT...

...It´s worth mentioning this giant and very graphic statue in the central plaza of an Incan warrior standing victorious above what looks like a conquistador soldier. He is holding aloft a blood-filled horn with one hand and in the other he holds the man´s heart freshly ripped from his chest! there are rivulets of blood rolling down from his mouth and he has this intense expression on his face. It was a pretty grizly scene, but I guess some moments can´t be captured with a stoic figure with a big mustache on a horse or what-have-you. heheh...

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