Thoughts on Bolivia Part II: It´s a Wonderful, Magical Place

Well, we have had some time to reflect about our 6 weeks in Bolivia and write some blog posts of our impressions. First, I had to get off my chest what annoyed the crap about of me about Bolivia. Now it is time to write the happy post about all the things I really enjoyed about Bolivia. It is a very interesting country. You can decide for yourself whether or not you want to travel there, I´m not going to recommend it or discourage you 😉

#1. DOGS!  Everywhere You Look!
This might not be everyone´s cup of tea, but it was one of my favorite things about Bolivia. There are dogs everywhere! And they are, for the most part, friendly. The ones that don´t approach you for love or meat, will just ignore you. We didn´t have any dogs bark at us or growl, unless we approached them, which we probably shouldn´t have done 🙂

The thing about street dogs in Bolivia is that a lot of them actually have homes. The Bolivian method of dog ownership being somewhat different than the American way, it is normal to leave your dog outside all day while you go to work. The dog then strolls the neighborhood, or just sits on your doorstep, waiting for you to come home and feed him at the end of the day. In this way, most of the street dogs are well fed and happy, albeit totally dirty. Lots of Bolivians have purebreed dogs as well, and these ones you will not see on the street wandering, especially the girl dogs. Of course, with all these dogs wandering around, there is a lot of poop everywhere as well, so watch your step.

Sometimes extremely friendly dogs will appear in the altiplano for snuggles and food. These ones live at a nearby army outpost, but hang out at the tourist overlook being cute.
Sometimes extremely friendly dogs will appear in the altiplano for snuggles and food. These ones live at a nearby army outpost, but hang out at the tourist overlook being cute.
Kristen was especially susceptible to their cuteness.
Kristen was especially susceptible to their cuteness.
Sometimes there are adorable street puppies with busted legs that you really want to take home and it´s heartbreaking.
Sometimes there are adorable street puppies with busted legs that you really want to take home and it´s heartbreaking. Why isn´t it easier to bring dogs back the USA?
There are a lot of really big dogs in Bolivia, and when they look at you like this, you probably shouldn´t pet them.
There are a lot of really big dogs in Bolivia, and when they look at you like this, you probably shouldn´t pet them.
This puppy found us out on a hike! We almost brought her home, but then her owner saw her downtown following us and took her home ;/
This puppy found us out on a hike! We almost brought her home, but then her owner saw her downtown following us and took her home ;/ Chao She-ra!
It´s a little hard on the heart seeing all these dogs on the streets, but they seem to have an ok life of it.
It´s a little hard on the heart seeing all these dogs on the streets, but they seem to have an ok life of it.

#2. The Price is Right
Bolivia is cheap. You can go out for all your meals and take Spanish classes and rent a nice room for very little money. It´s fun to be traveling and not have to worry about money. Of course, there aren´t a lot of nice things to buy so sometimes you just want to pay for a fancy hotel room and you can´t find one anywhere, but whatever, you can save your money for another country.

#3. So Much Sugar to Eat 🙂 and Potatoes
There are some really delicious things to eat in Bolivia, although I might have tried to convince you otherwise in my last post. Most of the extremely yummy things in Bolivia are made of sugar. These people are crazy about sugar. There are candy and snacks everywhere and everyone is eating them. There are also a lot of dentist offices….

There were three fabulous ice cream and cake shops in a row on the main drag in La Paz. We hit up Brosso and I got this amazing chocolate cake.
There were three fabulous ice cream and cake shops in a row on the main drag in La Paz. We hit up Brosso and I got this amazing chocolate cake.
On the main plaza in Sucre, we were enchanted by the artesenal ice cream place numerous times.
On the main plaza in Sucre, we were enchanted by the artesenal ice cream place numerous times.
Ahhhhhhhh!  Weird fried dough things abound in Bolivia. Yippee!
Ahhhhhhhh! Weird fried dough things abound in Bolivia. Yippee!
Empanadas and api. Api is a drink made of corn and it is warm and super sweet!
Empanadas and api. Api is a drink made of corn and it is warm and super sweet!

They do also make some tasty things about of potatoes. My favorite is the papa rellena, or stuffed potato. It´s more a less mashed potatoes that are formed in a ball around some filling. The filling could be meat and veggies, hardboiled egges, cheese, or platains. Then the ball is dipped in batter and deep-fried. Yum! The lady across the street from our house sold these covered in a delicious stewed onion salsa and accompanied by cole slaw. So good. I wish I had taken a picture, but I was too busy eating.

Another typical Bolivia dish is called Pique Machado. It consists of 3 or 4 different kinds of meats, mine had beef, chorizo, and hot dogs. The meat is piled onto a dish of french fries (never forget the potatoes) and covered in fresh tomatoes and onions. Oh, and there is hardboiled eggs and fresh cheese surrounding it. Yes, and the whole thing is covered in delicious gravy. Yum!

Pique Machado. I didn´t take this picture, but it is from the same restaurant we went to in Potosi (4060) and looked just like this, beer included. So good!
Pique Machado. I didn´t take this picture, but it is from the same restaurant we went to in Potosi (4060) and looked just like this, beer included. So good!

#4. Oh, the Wonderfully Genuine People You Will Meet
If you get past the tourist rabble, offering you questionable tours of things they think you want to see and hear, you will meet some amazing people in Bolivia. The staff at Biblioworks where we volunteered was the nicest group of ladies around. The kids we met at the school were incredibly sweet and kind little beings, adding beauty and light to the world.

We met Oke at a bar in La Paz. He went all the way home to get his guitar so he could hear Kristen play.
We met Oke at a bar in La Paz. He went all the way home to get his guitar so he could hear Kristen play.
One little sweetheart, making our time in Pampa Aceituno more inviting.
One little sweetheart, making our time in Pampa Aceituno more inviting.
All  the kids loved playing the guitar, it was amazing to see their little faces light up for the music.
All the kids loved playing the guitar. It was amazing to see their  faces light up for the music.

#5 Sucre is a Kick Ass City
Sucre is the constitutional capital of Bolivia, and while I´m not sure what that means exactly, it is an amazing city. They really have everything you could need in a little city and it´s beautiful, clean, relaxed, and normal there. It isn´t overrun with tourists, but tourists are a part of the city. It has a vibe of people just living their lives. It has a university and lots of young people. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site so it has lots of history and charm. There are great grocery stores, a movie theater, fun bars from all cultures, and amazing natural beauty all around.

Overlooking the city of Sucre from a cafe.
Overlooking the city of Sucre from a cute cafe.
The main plaza in Sucre. They have people dressed up as zebras helping kids cross the street (and adults too).
The main plaza in Sucre. They have people dressed up as zebras helping kids cross the street (and adults too).

#6. There is a Ton of Dinosaur Stuff in Bolivia
The dinosaurs were here! The area that is currently Bolivia used to be covered in dinosaurs and there is lots of evidence of that still in the area. Plus, they love dinosaurs so there are lots of parks and fun dino themed things around.  Kristen is a little obsessed with dinosaurs so this was a big plus for Bolivia.

This vertical surface is covered with hundreds of fossilized dinosaur tracks. It used to be the shore of a lake where dinos walked to get water. Now it is a museum discovered by a concrete factory in Sucre.
This vertical surface is covered with hundreds of fossilized dinosaur tracks. It used to be the shore of a lake where dinos walked to get water. Now it is a museum discovered by a concrete factory in Sucre.
Dino statues of South American dinosaurs. Kristen was impressed.
Dino statues of South American dinosaurs. Kristen was impressed.
Hanging out with all the kids at the dinosaur park near our house.
Hanging out with all the kids at the dinosaur park near our house.

#7. Bolivia has Amazing Natural Beauty
There are a ton of beautiful natural places to see in Bolivia. We didn´t even make it to the Amazon part of Bolivia and we were blown away by it´s natural splendor. Here are some shots of what we thought was a pretty amazing country to see, even out the window of a dangerous busride along a windy road.

Ancient ruins on the Isla del Sol in Lake Titicaca-
Ancient ruins on the Isla del Sol in Lake Titicaca.
Sheep grazing on Isla del Sol in Lake Titicaca.
Sheep grazing on Isla del Sol in Lake Titicaca.
Sunset over the mountains driving south to Tarija.
Sunset over the mountains driving south to Tarija.
Just another view out the window of the bus, driving to Potosi.
Just another view out the window of the bus, driving to Potosi.
The Cerro Rico silver mine behind the beautiful city of Potosi.
The Cerro Rico silver mine behind the beautiful city of Potosi.
The train graveyard outside of the Salar de Uyuni.
The train graveyard outside of the Salar de Uyuni.
Playing with perspective in the Salar de Uyuni, the world´s largest salt flat.
Playing with perspective in the Salar de Uyuni, the world´s largest salt flat.

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Cactus island, Incahuasi, in the Uyuni Salt Flats.
Cactus island, Incahuasi, in the Uyuni Salt Flats.
Flamingo lagoons in the Eduardo Abaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve
Flamingo lagoon!
Look at this adorable animal called a viscacha!
Look at this adorable animal called a viscacha!
Interesting rock formations in Eduardo Abaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve.
Interesting rock formations in Eduardo Abaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve.
Laguna Colorada, one interesting lagoon in the Eduardo Abaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve.
Laguna Colorada, one more beautiful lagoon in the Eduardo Abaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve.
A long way from anywhere.
Greetings from Bolivia! A long way from anywhere.

It might be hard to get to Bolivia, and kind of annoying once you do finally reach Bolivia, but still, it is quite a beautiful country. We have moved on to Chile and are now in Peru. It´s hard to believe that 3 months have already gone by on the road on our South American adventure. We will be back in the USA next week!

 

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