15 May 2004 8:18 pm

One of many afternoons at Cafe Mirrador

They say that Sucre is the nicest city in Bolivia and a great place to stop and study Spanish. I completely agree, Sucre IS really nice. We all know how picky I am, and if I like it, it MUST be a good place.

Sucre isn’t the largest city in Bolivia, but it is the capital. It sits at about 2,300 meters up in the alti-plano (the high dry country) of Bolivia. At this time of year (winter) the days are sunny and warm and the nights are a little cold. Sucre is an old colonial city filled with beautiful white washed Spanish colonial buildings topped with terra cota tiles. Unlike many smaller towns in Bolivia, Sucre is rather modern. There are heaps of internet cafes and some very good restaurants. None of the internet places have a decent connection, so I’m afraid you will have to continue to wait for photos.

Most everyone dresses in western style, but there are also plenty of women selling food in the markets and on the street corner who are sporting the more traditional Bolivian look. These women have long long LONG black braids toped off with a black gentleman’s hat (boler or a wool fedora type). They wear pleated brightly colored velor skirts. These women are short and wide and have the tiniest feet I’ve ever seen. There are more people out on the street begging for change or food than I’ve seen almost anywhere in the world, even San Francisco, which I would put at a close second.

There are a few Spanish language schools in town which all seem good, but I opted for a private instructor who actually teaches at the best school in town. Chary and I met every afternoon for 2 hours and she absolutely LOADED me with verbs all week long. Today I finished 6 days of lessons and I can hardly see straight through the irregular present, irregular past and the future tenses. Spanish has something like 8 verb tenses and has many more verbs than English. In Spanish, for example, there are separate verbs for combing your hair, taking a shower, taking a bath, putting on clothes and putting on makeup. Don’t even ask me about the volume of vocabulary I learned this week. Yikes, steam is shooting out of my ears as the verbs start bouncing like electrons inside my skull. STOP!

Uyuni group at Joy Ride after eating FOUR Bosche boms

Sucre is a great place for hanging out in cafes and restaurants. There is the set menu almuerzo (lunch) option – soup followed by a plate of rice, potatoes and meat for under 1 U$S. Other restaurant entrepreneurs have totally clued in on the world of fresh green salads, yogurt with muesli, fruit shakes and iced cappuccino. There are also fun markets with good fruit, goat cheese and even decent olives and wine and of course the colorful ladies selling.

My favorite spot in Sucre is Cafe Mirador. It’s a gringo place (sorry, I do like to indulge myself) up on a hill above town. Walking up there is unfortunately the only exercise I’ve had in some time… From Cafe Mirador I passed many afternoons this week soaking up the warm sun, sipping cappuccino frios, and overlooking the valley filled with terra cota roofs and white washed buildings that is Sucre.

Today I finished my Spanish lessons and tonight I was to be on a bus for La Paz, but alas, there is some kind of strike/road block and there is no transport at all to La Paz. We tried for the plane but it is booked. I’m feeling rather tranquilo about this delay. I’ll get out of here eventually. For tonight, I’m going to listen to live Bolivian music at a nice little place near the plaza.

3 Responses to “Sucre”

  1. Cindy (May 20th, 2004 at 11:59 am)

    Sounds like a rigorous school schedule for anyone — you may end up knowing Spanish better than you know English.

  2. Molly (June 2nd, 2004 at 11:43 am)

    Hi Laura,

    Sucre sounds like a great city. I started back to work on May 24th. It was hard to leave Noah at daycare the first day. He’s doing well though. Take care!

  3. yeni (August 17th, 2004 at 7:55 pm)

    hola , soy una chica peruana ,alumna de arquitectura de la universidad de san martin de porres, en peru, me han dejado un tabajo sobre un cafe mirador , les agradaceria si me menviaran a mi correo informacion y fotografias sobre el cafe mirador.