January 27, 2004
Another Day in The Trinidad Show
DAY 98: The thing to do on a Sunday morning in Sucre is to leave the city for the day and go to Tarabuco, a smaller town with its lively Sunday markets. Zoe, Sam and I hopped on a bus to these markets, a one-hour drive away. The "Moody Jacksons," the family musical band we saw perform the day before at the Cafe Gourmet Mirador, was also on the bus ride. Again, the kids played unhappily while their father laughed like Tigger in Disney's Winnie the Pooh at certain parts of the song.
"ARE YOU GETTING A PHONE NUMBER ALREADY?" I teased Zoe as she wrote her lowest price in a notepad, trying to bargain down a woolen handbag from a vendor. She eventually got the 25 boliviano bag down to 17 -- with the exchange rate, even at 30 Bs. it would have been a bargain. We walked around the market
After having been to the Museo de Arte Indiginia, Sam was keen on buying a small tapistry. Conveniently, as we sat at a small and modest-looking sidewalk cafe for a little breakfast, the shopping experience came to us as dozens of tapistry vendors hounded us for a sale. After Sam bought one she wanted, the table-service vending turned from convenient to fucking annoying.
A familiar face broke up the vending madness: Gilbert the Dutchman, who I roomed with in La Paz and the three of us bumped into at all the stops on our salt flat/desert tour. He had made his way south and looped back north, ending up in Tarabuco as it was the thing to do on a Sunday from Sucre. He joined us for a coffee, served with more of the aggressive salespeople that wouldn't go away.
"Just tell them it's ugly," I suggested. I wasn't even being hassled as much and I was getting annoyed.
WE SPLIT UP to wander the town at our own paces. I visited the food market, with its spectrum of colors on the ground from fresh fruits and vegetables, to the collection of foosball tables in the center of the plaza -- Bolivians love them their foosball -- to the edge of town where I found some mules waiting around for something to do (picture above). By early afternoon we had all seen enough of Tarabuco and head back on the buses back to Sucre for lunch at our usual place, the Joyride Cafe. Gilbert joined the three of us in the new trousers he bought, but we left him there as he ordered a second entree to satisfy his hunger.
Zoe, Sam and I left Gilbert and went off to the bus terminal. The girls tried to get a ticket for a 5:30 bus to La Paz that day, while I bought a 5:30 ticket for a bus the following day to Santa Cruz. It was smart on my behalf to buy an advance ticket; all the buses to La Paz were full, and so the girls had no choice but to buy tickets for the next day.
"I guess we're going to be characters on your website another day," Sam told me.
"Yeah, it's like The Truman Show," I said, citing the 1998 movie starring Jim Carrey as a man whose entire life is broadcasted for entertainment to a large audience.
"Ugh, do they have to be British?" Sam complained, embarrassed with the youth of her nation.
"Don't worry, just switch the accent and they'd just be annoying Americans," I said. Gilbert felt the same way about some of his fellow Dutchman.
If we had been in the Joyride Cafe, I'm sure other Brits, Americans, Danes and Dutch would have been embarrassed the way we were with those high school brats. If we really were broadcast on TV like in The Truman Show, I'm sure the ratings would have tanked as well, unless it was on MTV of course.
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