Weekends Away

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Jeremy and I are sitting in a swinging hammock on the roof top of our four star resort at the edge of the Amazon. The air is wet and thick, warm with dew. The only sounds are those of the jungle. The softs screams of crickets and birds make for the most soothing ambiance as we sway slightly back and forth.

For the past two weekends we’ve been enjoying short getaways (like the one we’re on now) to visit other parts of Bolivia. First we flew into the high mountains cities of Sucre and Potosi. Unfortunately for us both, I fell sick with food poisoning the first day we arrived in Sucre and spent the day in bed, while Jeremy explored the city on his own.

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We were lucky that the sickness only lasted 24 hours and were able to catch a ride to Potosi the next day. A three hour drive up and up and up to the highest city in the world. Potosi, once the wealthiest city in Bolivia, is now a half abandoned town famous for its horrendous mining operations. Tip: If you a visitor of Potosi and are thinking about paying for a tour of mines, don’t. It’s nothing more than a ‘zoo’ of poor people dying slowly from arsenic poisoning. The mine tours are not a respectable form of tourism to the locals and are considered exploitation of the primitive and deady working conditions that shouldn’t exist.

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In the main plaza at the center of town you see remnants of a city that was once flourishing with prosperity. The parks and plazas are the most beautiful we’ve seen in this country, adorned with flowers, gold fountains and manicured trees. The streets display small details of glamour and elegance as well. We were there on the day of la Fiesta de San Bartolome (much like Urkupina), which meant that the all shops and restaurants were closed while the entire town danced the night (and next morning) away in the streets. So we simply walked for hours admiring the colonial architecture with its diversity of windows and doors, occasionally stopping to sit on a park bench and soak up the scenery.

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Sucre doubles up on its pride by being Bolivia’s capital city and a Unesco World Heritage site. People here call it the intellectual capital of Bolivia, a reputation made apparent in the cleanliness of the streets, the modern dress of the locals, and the plethora of language schools and universities on every block. We spent the day drinking the best coffee we’ve had in months, strolling through the whitewashed streets, and enjoying the cultural museums. Although the best part of the day was probably the hilltop view at the Museo de Recoleta where we were reminded how much we love escaping the craze of cities.
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This weekend we have ventured down to Villa Tunari, away the dryness of high altitude and into the rainforest. Laura, Allan and Surya have been our companions on this weekend of luxury, which could not have been more perfect. Arriving late into the town at night, we asked a taxi to take us to “El Puente”. He drove us down a long, twisting gravel road through the forest until finally coming to a clearing. The host was surprised to see us, but welcoming. Feeding us heaping plates of spaghetti as we sat chatting until 2 am.

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The next morning we rose with the mission to swim, sunbathe and sip rum the whole day through. The hotel is located near a quiet river with small natural swimming holes, so after breakfast we followed the jungle path to the water.  The day was spent by the river and the pool, all of us enjoying our new surroundings.

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It couldn’t have been a more enjoyable and relaxing weekend. I found comfort in simply absorbing the humidity and rehydrating my skin from the dryness of Cochabamba and Jeremy made good progress on his tan and even learned a few new cords on the guitar.

Soon we’ll be back on a bus for the four hour return trip to Cochabamba. Back to work on Monday and ever thankful for a great weekend together.

More shots of our weekends away here.

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