Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Haircut, shave and a blockade

This winter I got my haircut and shave in Sucre, Bolivia, a couple of weeks before visiting my new grandson Felix (see his blogspot). There was this blockade that shut the whole country down for more than a week. I spent 11 days trapped in Sucre waiting for the busses to go again. Fortunately, the blockades I went through were totally peaceful-no police or military were called out or seen. Will be checking that Bolivian blogspot to see what happens. Funny, my winter was their summer- although that high up it was like winter again. Sucre was like spring and Santa Cruz was tropical summer. Potosi was winter again- a hollowed out mountain of silver above 12.000 feet-passed on through as night was coming on up to a cold high dessert "alte plano". I had been complaning to my seatmate about this nightbus kept me from seeing the vistas in daiylight. Well we soon came upon a long line of busses and trucks and cars and cooking fires. I was on a nice cama bus, and I slept there till morning, when they let us through. Got to see some incredible vistas as we spent the whole next day getting to Tarija, where I hung out till it was time for my visit with my 1st grandchild. Liked Tarija, as I was lead to expect. They had a big rally for" autonomia"- it had some anti blockade overtones and was heavilly supported by truckers, bus lines, taxis and the city. Tarija is both a city and a province. They have the most prosperous agriculture and have a budding wine thing happening and they want more loc al control. The blockades were more of a campesino thing, which included a cocalero element- it started off in the newly rich Santa Cruz jungle plain where we came upon a 2 k long lane of traffic backed up on our side of the blockaded bridge. The local restaurant and tiendas were doing great. We found an identical bus on the other side who would exchange passengers, and we all took taxis to the blockade and hoofed it on to the other bus. We all got identical seats-our bus had been full. The next day they created another blockade some 50 ks away and it became impossible to get through as I had. At that point, the only blockade going was the one along the Cochabamba/Santa Cruz highway, so we bought overnight tickets for Sucre. Well, 6:00 am we hit the blockade, 2d rig in the line-almost made it. Had some nuns on board- think they might have helped. The blockaders decided to let us through at 6:pm. In the meantime, some food booths came out, and then a couple of guitars, somebody passed the hat for some whiskey and the whiskey was mixed with coka cola and they let us through for the 30 k ride to the next blockade from where we abandoned our busses and caught taxis for the short ride into Sucre, a nice town to be stuck for 11 days in and get a haircut and a shave. Nice year around spring climate. It is the other of the two capitols and has the judicial supremo. Another spring climate-not the high altitude cold of La Paz or Potosi

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