Saturday, November 14, 2009

Catching Up

Internet access, especially reliable wi-fi, is bound to vary from place to place, especially when by "place" you mean "the cheapest possible accommodation with something resembling a bed." Fortunately the Ireland-France soccer match this afternoon means that we're comfortably ensconced in a Dutch bar in Sucre, Bolivia, with smokin' Internet access. Here are some recent highlights.

1. The Bob Marley Effect
When we were in Brazil a few months ago, people frequently greeted Ken as Bob Marley, shook his hand, and/or offered him something to smoke. Not one of our five days in Cuzco passed without Ken being offered some illegal substance or other ("Smoke? Sniff?"). Several times I've noticed someone taking a stealthy picture of Ken, and twice we've been stopped by someone who'd like his or her photo taken with our favourite Bob Marley doppelgänger.

2. Hostels
As we anticipated, $2.50 per night for our room in Copacabana was too good to be true. After a brief, half-hearted negotiation we paid about $4.25 per night (still a bargain, obviously, for a private room). On the Isla del Sol we paid just under $6 per night for a private room, and here in Sucre we're splurging: $13 per night, and we even have our own bathroom. Generally the hostels are safe, clean, and warm, and even have hot water (although my showering standards are certainly on the decline).

3. Monk Mode
Monk Mode (i.e., a budget) certainly makes things more challenging, but it has its advantages. I'm pretty sure we eat less ("1 Boliviano [15¢] for cheese? Forget it!") and bargaining is more fun when you're willing to walk away from a scarf that with an asking price of $3. (Inevitably you'll get it for $2.) Yesterday we boarded the "Dino Bus" to see some fossilized dinosaur footprints just outside Sucre, and soon learned that the 15 Boliviano (each!) ride didn't include entrance to the Dino Park and its 8 dinosaur replicas (30 Bolivianos! Each!). We took the bus ride anyway and amused ourselves with the dino replicas outside the park while we waited for the rest of the group. How frugal!

P.S. More pics from Peru and Bolivia are on Flickr.

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