Sunday, September 13, 2009

We survived the festival weekend! This party in honor of the Virgin Guadalupe’s birthday in Sucre is supposed to be one of the biggest celebrations in Bolivia, and is definitely the biggest event of the year in Sucre. Yet by 7pm on Saturday night we were sitting in our room, only listening to the party going on outside. We were warned by several people to be sure to be in before dark - apparently, as the festival wears on and the locals get more wasted, they like to pick on foreigners! So, we did as directed, and sat at home early to write about it instead. Boo.

See how safe we are being, Mom?

While we were out perusing the streets though, the sights were incredible! Friday was the children’s parade – where every school, day care, etc. in the area were involved. Hundreds of colorful costumes, and YES, what seemed like a bazillion marching bands in the streets. The kids were sooo cute in their outfits, I will admit that my Brangelina-spidey senses tingled a few times!
Friday served as the warm-up for the big event on Saturday. We met some friends in the main plaza early and bought seats in bleachers for 20 Boliviano’s each (~$3 CDN). I use the word “seats” loosely – they were so crammed together that half the time we could only stand and just rest one butt cheek on it. But it was worth it for the good view that we had.

I don’t think I can even really describe what it was like without being able to show the 100+ pictures and videos that we took! Amazingly colorful costumes and dances. A lot of audience interaction, and the kids that sat around us just went nuts everytime something new came around the corner. Pete even got to be a part of the parade! One group of senoras was pulling people from the crowd to dance, so Pete got up and joined.

And now it is Sunday morning, and the streets are kinda smelly, somewhat empty, and really dirty. Must have been a helluva party! The party is also STILL going on, marching bands are still in the streets and costumed locals are everywhere. Here we had hoped for a very quiet Sunday - hopefully everyone is partied out by tonight and I can finally sleep without my ear plugs in!

Here’s a couple of pics, but don’t forget to check out my facebook link for all the pictures:

For those of you that are having problems viewing the link, we are trying to download another website to use for posting our pictures…but downloading anything here requires a LOT of time and patience!


On Friday we finished the “present tense” portion of our Spanish classes! Hard to believe that we covered that much in two weeks, but we feel pretty good to be done such a big part. Our teacher told us on Friday what I already knew – we are good at writing in the language, but there are still a lot of errors in our speech. We obviously haven’t been practicing enough, so instead of learning new things next week in class, we are going to just work on having conversations.

I think a lot of it (for me) has to do with being super nervous about sounding like a total idiot when I do speak in Spanish – our accent is so unlike everyone else, and I find it hard to put correct sentences together without writing them out first. That, and sometimes the little bit of French I know slips in there! Like the other day, someone asked “como esta?” which is “how are you?”, and I answered: “Bien, merci!” Damn French!

Hopefully after next week, Pete and I will be able to speak faster than 10 words a minute, and have the confidence to use the language more regularly. We often have to keep reminding ourselves that we have only been here for 2 weeks, and it is pretty amazing what we have already learned thus far!

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