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Summary of 4 weeks in Bolivia


During our trip, we went through many Bolivian cities and villages in particular Tupiza, Uyuni, Potosi, Sucre, Torotoro, La Paz and Coroico. After almost a month running through the country, here are the main points we will remember from Bolivia!

2



Markets

Crossing markets is essential to understand better the local way of life. These markets look at first sight like capharnaüms. Imagine a big complex full of stands all crammed and over colored. Everything can be found there: fruits, meats, foods, snacks, clothes, electronics, souvenirs,... Markets are actually very organised: all similar stands are located in the same place.
Culinar point:
We can eat there good foods at the cheapest prices (1-2 euros). Basically meals are composed by a soup as starter and a main plate: piece of meat, rice, French fries (of banana or potato) and "verdura" (salad, tomato and onion). In Bolivia, they like fried food. Every evening, street stands propose hamburgers or sausage with French fries. Unlike appearances, food is healthy there.
Accompanying all the meals, the famous "piquante" (spicy sauce) is present everywhere in Bolivia and Peru. It's a simple home maid sauce, very spicy but palatable when you're accustomed. This sauce transforms the rice in a (literal) explosion of savors.

3



The God Evo

We ascertained a deification - at least a huge popularity - of the actual president, Evo Morales. The colours of his campaign (Blue, White, Black) are painted on the rocks, the walls, the roads of the country, especially for the 2014's presidential elections. We can discover his face on each explanation sign of construction work. Evo have made a lot to develop his country, that's why his popularity is so high (reelected with more than 60% of the voices). The development of the country is majorly dued to his acts:
- nationalisation of the raw materials exploitation
- fondation of great works (asphalted roads, public schools and high schools),
- social reforms (struggle against domestic mistreatment, against Aymaras discrimination),
- full employment so diminution of poverty in the country
- tourism development

4



Natural resources in Bolivia

In Bolivia, natural resources are highly exploited as the consequence of the country's development. We can name many mines (Potosi, Chojlla, Oruro), the salt flat of Uyuni for its lithium and the oil well in the Jungle.

5



Bolivian music

Bolivian people produce their own type of music, very particular. A melody with random notes and hollering lyrics that sounds heady. Musics last around 10 minutes and are highly listened inside minibuses...

6



Transports

In Bolivia, the number of asphalted roads could be counted on the fingers of the hand. Except the biggest axes, the cities are linked by dirt roads, made of dust, sand, stones or salt!
Bolivian buses are the worst we tried in South America. They are basic and smell burned oil or odors of other passengers. For small excursions, we can choose minibuses that leave only when they are full. Moreover, bus ticket sellers are screaming the name of their destination inside the terminus to fill their bus.
Hitchhiking is possible here, but your contribution is expected to share the petrol costs.
We keep in mind how economic was the transportation (3€ for 12h in a bus) and the pollution coming from the big cylinders inside the cities (La Paz, Potosi, ...). Sucre seemed to be healthier with more or less 40% of new berlines amongst the circulation, but still a large 30% of overpolluting minibus.

7



Traditional Bolivia

The traditional Bolivian suit is worn by all the women in the countryside. It is composed of several very decorated layers, the hat (always), the shawl and the basket on their back, covered by a multicolor sheet containing victuals, babies...
If we find a ball inside the cheek of lne Bolivian, it's surely the coca leaves he is chewing. Used as a sort of chewing-gum, the coca invigorates the body as a energizer despite the altitude. Many coca leaves are necessary to make a ball that will stay for 2 hours under the cheek. Sometimes they add baking soda. Bolivia is the only country where the production of these leaves is legal. A part of it is used to create cocaine.
We notice a cleavage between the new generation following occidental fashion, but it doesn't seem a source of conflits.

8



The street

The street contains good and bad points comparing to our European standards. We can often complain about wastes spoilt on the floor. Public trash cans are quite rare in the country so wastes are thrown on the ground. However, La Paz is surprisingly clean.
Wild dogs are living in the streets. Sometimes they stay in pack of dogs and look together for some foods. When they are not searching inside the trashs, they watch desesperately the tourists while they eat and hope to receive a part of the dinner. There are a kind of street cleaners: crumbs of sandwiches, lost fries, everything can be at their menu. Inhabitants prefer to run them out kicking them.
Street shopkeepers are a phenomenon, very common in Bolivia. We could find the old cheese makers, the shoe polishers, snack and food sellers. The lastest ones are only here at relevant hours: juices for morning, fries & hamburgers for dinner... Some of them don't hesitate to harass the passersby to sell.

9



Particularities in Sucre

Sucre is the constitutional and judicial capital of Bolivia. It is well known for its colonial style and its white houses. We enjoyed there its quietness and its museums.
Also you surely have seen zebras appearing on our challenge 'Selfies with animals'. These zebras come from Sucre. They are the fruit of a state programme to reorient young offenders to the right way. So they are helping the population (i.e. to cross the street) instead of the opposite.

10


Particularities in La Paz


La Paz is the administrative capital of Bolivia. It's also an unbelievable city stuck in the mountains between 3100-4000m above see level. It has been primed among the 7 cities wonder of world. Moreover, it's the economic heart of the country and a major touristic attraction (see article 26).

11


Particularities of the countryside


In small villages, they are still living from the basic living agriculture. The population works in the fields from dawn until the night. This kind of agriculture cannot follow the green revolution because of the difficult accessibility of the fields. They plough with cows and do the harvest by hand. This way of life doesn't attract the youngs, deserting villages for big cities.

1


Summary of 4 weeks in Bolivia


During our trip, we went through many Bolivian cities and villages in particular Tupiza, Uyuni, Potosi, Sucre, Torotoro, La Paz and Coroico. After almost a month running through the country, here are the main points we will remember from Bolivia!



Markets

Crossing markets is essential to understand better the local way of life. These markets look at first sight like capharnaüms. Imagine a big complex full of stands all crammed and over colored. Everything can be found there: fruits, meats, foods, snacks, clothes, electronics, souvenirs,... Markets are actually very organised: all similar stands are located in the same place.
Culinar point:
We can eat there good foods at the cheapest prices (1-2 euros). Basically meals are composed by a soup as starter and a main plate: piece of meat, rice, French fries (of banana or potato) and "verdura" (salad, tomato and onion). In Bolivia, they like fried food. Every evening, street stands propose hamburgers or sausage with French fries. Unlike appearances, food is healthy there.
Accompanying all the meals, the famous "piquante" (spicy sauce) is present everywhere in Bolivia and Peru. It's a simple home maid sauce, very spicy but palatable when you're accustomed. This sauce transforms the rice in a (literal) explosion of savors.



The God Evo

We ascertained a deification - at least a huge popularity - of the actual president, Evo Morales. The colours of his campaign (Blue, White, Black) are painted on the rocks, the walls, the roads of the country, especially for the 2014's presidential elections. We can discover his face on each explanation sign of construction work. Evo have made a lot to develop his country, that's why his popularity is so high (reelected with more than 60% of the voices). The development of the country is majorly dued to his acts:
- nationalisation of the raw materials exploitation
- fondation of great works (asphalted roads, public schools and high schools),
- social reforms (struggle against domestic mistreatment, against Aymaras discrimination),
- full employment so diminution of poverty in the country
- tourism development



Natural resources in Bolivia

In Bolivia, natural resources are highly exploited as the consequence of the country's development. We can name many mines (Potosi, Chojlla, Oruro), the salt flat of Uyuni for its lithium and the oil well in the Jungle.



Bolivian music

Bolivian people produce their own type of music, very particular. A melody with random notes and hollering lyrics that sounds heady. Musics last around 10 minutes and are highly listened inside minibuses...



Transports

In Bolivia, the number of asphalted roads could be counted on the fingers of the hand. Except the biggest axes, the cities are linked by dirt roads, made of dust, sand, stones or salt!
Bolivian buses are the worst we tried in South America. They are basic and smell burned oil or odors of other passengers. For small excursions, we can choose minibuses that leave only when they are full. Moreover, bus ticket sellers are screaming the name of their destination inside the terminus to fill their bus.
Hitchhiking is possible here, but your contribution is expected to share the petrol costs.
We keep in mind how economic was the transportation (3€ for 12h in a bus) and the pollution coming from the big cylinders inside the cities (La Paz, Potosi, ...). Sucre seemed to be healthier with more or less 40% of new berlines amongst the circulation, but still a large 30% of overpolluting minibus.



Traditional Bolivia

The traditional Bolivian suit is worn by all the women in the countryside. It is composed of several very decorated layers, the hat (always), the shawl and the basket on their back, covered by a multicolor sheet containing victuals, babies...
If we find a ball inside the cheek of lne Bolivian, it's surely the coca leaves he is chewing. Used as a sort of chewing-gum, the coca invigorates the body as a energizer despite the altitude. Many coca leaves are necessary to make a ball that will stay for 2 hours under the cheek. Sometimes they add baking soda. Bolivia is the only country where the production of these leaves is legal. A part of it is used to create cocaine.
We notice a cleavage between the new generation following occidental fashion, but it doesn't seem a source of conflits.



The street

The street contains good and bad points comparing to our European standards. We can often complain about wastes spoilt on the floor. Public trash cans are quite rare in the country so wastes are thrown on the ground. However, La Paz is surprisingly clean.
Wild dogs are living in the streets. Sometimes they stay in pack of dogs and look together for some foods. When they are not searching inside the trashs, they watch desesperately the tourists while they eat and hope to receive a part of the dinner. There are a kind of street cleaners: crumbs of sandwiches, lost fries, everything can be at their menu. Inhabitants prefer to run them out kicking them.
Street shopkeepers are a phenomenon, very common in Bolivia. We could find the old cheese makers, the shoe polishers, snack and food sellers. The lastest ones are only here at relevant hours: juices for morning, fries & hamburgers for dinner... Some of them don't hesitate to harass the passersby to sell.



Particularities in Sucre

Sucre is the constitutional and judicial capital of Bolivia. It is well known for its colonial style and its white houses. We enjoyed there its quietness and its museums.
Also you surely have seen zebras appearing on our challenge 'Selfies with animals'. These zebras come from Sucre. They are the fruit of a state programme to reorient young offenders to the right way. So they are helping the population (i.e. to cross the street) instead of the opposite.


Particularities in La Paz


La Paz is the administrative capital of Bolivia. It's also an unbelievable city stuck in the mountains between 3100-4000m above see level. It has been primed among the 7 cities wonder of world. Moreover, it's the economic heart of the country and a major touristic attraction (see article 26).


Particularities of the countryside


In small villages, they are still living from the basic living agriculture. The population works in the fields from dawn until the night. This kind of agriculture cannot follow the green revolution because of the difficult accessibility of the fields. They plough with cows and do the harvest by hand. This way of life doesn't attract the youngs, deserting villages for big cities.

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