03.05.2016 - 03.05.2016
By the time I got to Sucre, Bolivia, I was well excited to just chill somewhere for a bit as I'd been running around like a chickenhead for two months. Natalie had informed me of how nice it was and one of the best and cheapest places to learn Spanish. It's a city that's very colonial, very Spanish looking and very white, all the buildings, fences, white. And I was SICK of nature (lol) but it defeated me in the end when my hostel group went to the 'Siete Cascadas' aka Seven Waterfalls on my last weekend. How nice is it that cascada means waterfall? It truly is a romantic language.
I arrived at 5am, Thursday the 31st of March, after catching an overnight bus from Uyuni. The bus smelled like off cheese and had a broken toilet that had a 'don't use' sign taped on the door. Even after I specifically asked approximately 3 times for a bus with a loo, as I was still kinda sick. In my next to nothing Spanish I vented to the kid who was letting people on the bus and wasn't hiding the fact that he couldn't have given two shits 'No banos?!' (pointing to the lady inside) 'Si banos!' NO BANOS? SI BANOS! Not to worry, he promised there would be a few stops so we could all get out and relieve ourselves in the middle of the night. Nek minut, I'm squatting next to a farting cholita on a roadside dumpheap in the dark. Aaaaah South America.
This very attractive Brazilian woman, my age, named Raquel, (lol) overheard me when I was complaining re no toilets and we made friends, she was so intense and hilarious but so sweet. She was also up in arms that there wasn't a working toilet on board 'WHAT?! WHY DO THEY LIE??' 'Are you travelling by yourself?' she asked, shocked, 'Isn't it dangerous?!' She said her and her husband were on the top floor of the bus and to let them know if I needed help with anything during the trip. So when we got in at the station, I asked to share a cab (Solo cab rides when it's dark creep me out) They agreed, and were already sharing with this Irish couple, so it was all 5 of us. WELL I don't think this cabdriver quite got the concept of what his job was. We'd all given him addresses of our respective hotels, but he still seemed to want to drop the Irish couple, the first to get off, at the wrong location, meanwhile the loco Brazilian couple are all intense and yelling at him in what sounded like PortuSpanish, he eventually spits us out in the central plaza of the city. Amazing. Meanwhile, we're all flustered, trying to look on the map, I trip over a jet black street dog, not seeing him, Me: 'FUCK?! WHAT THE FUCK?!' Thinking I was about to catch rabies if he bit me, turns out he was the most chill dog ever and would end up hanging out at my hostel a lot of the time, he was so pretty, I wanted to take him with me. This Dutch guy happened to be walking past on his way to work as a tour guide - 'Guys, do you need help?' He ended up walking me and the Brazilian couple a few blocks to my hostel, Kulturberlin, cuz he was staying there as well. I ended up seeing this guy about 3 weeks later, at my new home, the Beehive, and I was like 'Can you remember when you helped me and this crazy Brazilian couple find a hostel at 5 in the morning? He was like 'Oh my god, yes that was a few weeks ago, wasn't it?.' (You often run into the same people while backpacking because we're all either going up or down what they call the 'gringo trail') He was actually very cute, only 22 years old, and HAD THE EXACT SAME SPEAKING VOICE AS JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE (a lot of euros when they speak English sound American, probs cuz of all the movies) and also looked a liiiiiiittle bit like him, his name was Phillip, but of course I only ever called him Justin. I think he was pleased with this, and yes if I had common sense I would have made a move on him, but guys that are approx 10 years younger than me, just aren't my thing, not for now anyway, well look, never say never. Maybe when I'm 50 and I date a 40 year old. For an open minded person why am I so hung up on age? (Lol)
A few days of first being in Sucre, I move to the Beehive, pretty much my fave hostel ever, it had this hard to find mixture of a social community vibe, but not too party party and a bit chill, a great view of the mountains from the second floor patio, hammocks to chill in, attracted a late 20s crowd, the best breakfast of oats and fruits, and had cheap Spanish lessons on site. I did one week at this group spanish school, and then 2 weeks of lessons with an indeterminably aged Bolivian woman, Fabiola. She was very good and thorough, and had a very high status but very calm presence. You wouldn't wanna fuck with Fabiola, I could tell. 'MMmmmuuuyyyyy biiiiieeennnn' she would say to me in this low and smooth tone when I got something correct. Turns out Spanish is a wee bit harder than I thought, here's optimistic me saying, I'm gonna be fluent by the end of this trip! Apparently it takes 2 years to get a language, yowzers.
Of course this wouldn't be a post of mine if it didn't again mention something disgusting, but hey, I can't help it, if these things are gonna keep happening, I gotta keep talking about it.....
So one Friday night at say 3 am I woke up to this noise of someone spitting, post vom spitting specifically and this Irish voice saying 'go to the baaaathroom' repetitively. Long story short this American guy got home wasted, peed in the middle of the floor, and then spewed in the corner of the room. The entire dorm woke up, all ten of us, Joukje, who I'll talk about soon - was like, 'What the FuCk?!' she was worried he'd peed on her backpack (he hadn't luckily) I thought this was hilarious cuz she's normally so calm. This north American lass, Steph, dealt with it beautifully, she calmed everyone down, was very sweet to the drunk guy trying to see if he was OK, and even got him a bucket. Maeanwhile the rest of us were like 'Fuck this guy, get him out!'
The next morning when Mr Pees on the floor awoke, I could hear him frantically packing his bag and he hightailed it out of there, never to be seen again, he was clearly embarrassed, someone had also found his soiled jocks in the bathroom, but he DID buy the hostel two cheesecakes to apologise, one for the staff and one for the travellers, and a message through his friend that he would pay for anyones laundry if they needed. So he had impeccable manners, for a guy that pissed on the floor. Meanwhile, Steph his caretaker didn't get any cheesecake in the end, hilarious............Just last week on an overnight bus, this guy comes up to me, asking some questions while we were making a stop, I was like, I know you from somewhere! And then it clicked, it was him. He looked at me, puzzled, he didnt remember me, I quickly changed the subject as I didnt wanna embarrass him!
The list of nationalities I ran into whilst at the Beehive, and at any hostel for that matter: Dutch, Irish, English, French, Arrubian(?), North American, Canadian, Greek, Brazilian, Taiwanese, Kiwi, Danish, German, Swiss, Colombian, Spanish, it's like being at the bedhopping Olympics. And of course, a few Aussies thrown in for good measure. I was sitting in the courtyard one day having a good chortle to myself as this family of 4 Aussies arrived, Mum & Dad in their early 60's with their two daughters. It was a real novelty for me to listen in on the two oldies chatting away, sounding like Kath & Kel, made me miss home. 'Awwwrr loook, I can do moi tai chi in the morning on the patio' 'Oh look, oats and fruits or eggs for breakfast, gee that's noice'
I even took a wifey at the Beehive, Joukje from Holland and I've now got such a soft spot for this girl, she's a true chiller. We decided to buy food from the market and cook together for a whole week to save some dosh, we made this incredible vegan celery & green pepper risotto twice and both couldn't believe how good it turned out, no butter or white wine in it, just coconut oil, garlic, stock and less rice than I normally use. (If you want the recipe just holla)
My favourite time of the day there was breakfast, I would sit, eat and chat for an hour or two at the beginning of each day and unwind, so I was a bit bummed out when the Spanish lessons got booked in the morning and took over special breakfast time.
Joukje/Dutch wifey was volunteering at this baby care centre where all these cute as lil Bolivian señors and señoritas were at, I went along with her one day, and I changed a nappy for the first time in my life! And I grew up second eldest of six kids - go figure. It was fucking disgusting - the employee there was laughing at me as I was useless, I even got the kids feet in it. And they used actual fabric old school nappies, I remember Mum used to use them in the 90s lol, old Eils is a greenie. But what I was good at was loving them up. They were so CUTE and of course touched your heart cuz they were from tragic backgrounds, with a mum or dad that was unable to care for them, one of them was an orphan. I misted up several times and squeezed the crap out of as many as I could, got some oxytocin going on.
I left the hive a week ago once I'd felt I'd learned enough Spanish, to backtrack through Peru, to fly out of Lima to Bogota, Colombia, where I'm writing this now. I miss it already, and most of all, the bad bees from the hive, and of course Dutch wifey!