We should be heading for Brazil from Sucre, however, there seem to be road blockages on every exit out of the country.
I have already booked our bus tickets to Santa Cruz. Initially, we were told that this was a 24-hour strike on all major roads in out of the city with road blockages. Then we were shocked to find there were actually no buses running when we did a confirmation the next morning.
We try again the next day and we are told that there is a bus that will stop at the blockade. They will help us walk for 1/2 hour around the strikers, and then we will catch a bus on the other side of the road blockages area. Unfortunately, this is a scam and a tactic to get bus fares, and everyone who tried this the previous night came back.
We’ve experienced difficulties with blockades before, so this seems to be something that is common in South America.
Back to The Bus Station
So even though we had bought tickets for the bus, I doubted it would occur. We are told to check back at 3:00 pm that day (day two), and so we are packed ready to go.
What worries me is the bus company is newish. All their phone numbers go unanswered and so I again walk to the bus terminal only to find the shop/office is closed. Oh no !!!
I have noticed that this man likes to chat, so I go wandering around the terminal. Sure enough, after 1/2 hour I find him and I demand a refund, and he obliges. Checking with another company which tells me this strike could be another two or three more days or longer, I confirm my fears.
I feel sorry for the sellers, who have few customers due to the road blockages and the buses not being able to go in or out of the city.
In Search Of A Flight
So we head for advice from the Bolivia Tourism Centre, after which we visit three airlines. The more people we talk to, the grimmer the situation becomes and I start to panic. It seems most airlines are now booked up for a week.
We literally walk into an Airline office but I didn’t know it was! Next, we discover that we can fly out in two days, so we give a big “yeah”!
A Wonderful Host
So we head back to our wonderful host at Hosteling International, Arturo who has been fantastic. I feel for him because he, in fact, is not getting the clientele he would have if the road blockages did not occur. He has allowed us to have our favorite and original room back. Like many of the Bolivians we have met, he has engaged with my son in such a positive way, and they have really become friends.
Helping The Poor
On the way back we buy some food from one of the local street sellers. It is good to support them, and I check that she looks quite clean so we do not get ill. We can give her extra money when we buy or “keep the change” which helps her without her losing her self-worth. We love performing random acts of kindness and changing a life for the better every day.
This afternoon, my son enjoys some free time running around the city. We both enjoy seeing and admiring the white-washed buildings of the old colonial city too.
The city square is filled with historic and beautiful architecture and I never tire of it, and I especially love these big doors.
Sucre is a mix of locals where the ladies with bowler hats and traditional clothes but the men do not dress as traditionally at all.
I am so happy. With plane tickets in my hands, we can relax now. We love meeting the locals dressed in their shawls, and we try to make friends wherever we go.
So with little to do, we sleep in the next day.
Today we head to the markets to buy a new soft luggage bag as we have to split the weight into 2 bags (or so we think). However, this proves to be quite challenging and it takes hours to find one.
A Grand Lunch
We then go to the Grand Hotel which is just off the main square. Lunch for 2 glasses of wine and 3 courses between us is under $10 and an absolute bargain.
Here, we are served by an amazing waiter. Both of us love it here in the courtyard and feel incredibly happy and relax. We joke that I am wearing my happy pants, and we really have a great time bonding and laughing together as mother and son.
These are the single-parent moments we all dream of having. I watch as he plays with the fountain and runs around after lunch, and I feel relaxed and stress-free.
We head back to our favorite ice cream store. My son is loving the cappuccino ice-cream even though he doesn’t drink coffee! The cup-cake stools are cool and it is a modern store for Bolivia and one of our favorite haunts.
Feeling relaxed and refreshed it is time to once more hit the streets. We get a few cheap movies that we are assured are in English (bit often this isn’t the case). Heading back to the hostel it is time for Explorason to have some ‘kid’ time. It is lovely to return to a freshly made bed and clean linen and toiletries too.
What We Discover
Next day we walk up to the city center again and it is about 20 minutes from our hostel.
As we do, we pass an open doorway and a man with wood chips making a small flame. He is handcrafting musical instruments and it is like a scene from a movie.
He looks like he has been sitting here for years. There are many instruments – I try to buy one and he says “no”, but he welcomes us in to look around. Pictures and photos from forty years ago hang amongst the dust and tools. Parts of instruments are everywhere and we have stepped back in time. This place is incredible!
What we see next is just amazing and such a smart idea. There are people dressed as zebras at all the crossings in the street. They are great and they make crossing the street fun for young and old. Seeing you have to wait in the middle of traffic, I daresay the odd tourist has been hit and this is the local initiative to counteract that.
Back to The Markets
We wander back to the markets once more. In the small square is a cosmopolitan event. Ice-cream is sold on dry ice. Meats and chips are also sold. But I love the fact you can play Foosball in the street.
Tomorrow is our last day here in Sucre and we are no longer held up by the road blockages. We are meeting our friends who are already traveling within Bolivia and somehow made their way in using a taxi. We first met them in Ecuador. The boys get along well, and the parents are lovely too.
Comments and Questions
- Have you ever been stuck with a strike or road blockages so you could not travel?
- What did you do?
- Do you have any tips for our readers?
- Do share your comments with us below.