Chapter 30::Table of Contents::Chapter 32

Chapter 31
Sucre Part 2

MON MAR 12.

Woke up late and tired.

We got our camera gear together after breakfast and headed out to museum-ize for a while. The sun looked as tho it was going behind the clouds any minute so we didn’t go to San Felipe. We checked at the Casa de Libertad but it didn’t open ’til 10 so we sat in the park for a while. As we were sitting there, Gonzalo walked thru on his way from the bank. We said hello and he walked on to work.

The sun showed more signs of staying out so we decided to give San F. a try. We got there but a little uniformed girl told us there were classes today and we’d have to come back at 11:45. Well by then the sun would be wrong so we decided to wait for another day. I don’t think the little girl knew what she was talking about, the place being closed ’til 11:45, but we’ll just have to try again.

The Casa de L. was open and we went into the main hall (after taking a pic of the courtyard ) to hear a lecture by a monk or priest telling all about the history of the country. The Bolivian Dec. of Indep. was signed here. There was a gallery up on the “2nd floor” made out of solid cedar covered with 24k gold. There were also a couple birds flying around inside. We went into a display room filled with paintings and memorabilia. There was a picture of Tio J’s older brother on the wall. He played some part in Sucre’s past. There was a giant 8’ bust of somebody in the corner.

There was also a sheep skin or something covered with what looked like ancient hieroglyphs . Closer inspection revealed characters in the shapes of a church with cross on top, a fellow sitting at the table writing, miners with helmets, and the Bolivian flag. Real ancient stuff. The Priest explained that he had drawn up this whole thing but that somehow it was based on actual Inca hieroglyphs (even tho they didn’t have a written language). I tended to be rather skeptical. Another gallery had more artifacts on display, a cannon, photocopies of important papers, biers for carrying dead bodies, an old guitar, etc.

N had asked the gate keeper if an old lady he met the 1st time he came here still worked here. She did, and after the tour we went to her office to talk to her. She knows N’s family and they talked for 15 min or so. She’s an old but spry grey haired lady. She wished us well and we walked back to take another look at the galleries. We were followed about by a military type in a green suit. When we went to look into a display case, he was right there with us. He followed us like a shadow. Finally we left and walked down the street to take some pix of buildings around town.

It was 11:30 and most of the museos close at 12 so we really didn’t think we had time to go to another one. But in walking past a church , a fellow coming out from the church museo told us to go on in and take a look at the Virgin of Guadalupe. This is the one mounted on a base 4cm thick made of gold, and studded with diamonds and many other precious jewels. Gaudy but impressive. We took a photo of the old Virgin and the lady asked for a donation saying anyone who photos the Virgin should contribute something. Probably to help pay for the diamonds. There was another museo just next door that contained many religious paintings and artifacts from the church. It supposedly contained the vestments of N’s relative, the Archbishop of the Vice - Royalty of Alta Peru. I opted out for some pix of the courtyard but N tried to get in and see the clothes. But it was too close to noon and he couldn’t get in.

We walked back to the house, the pre-dinner scotch, and lunch. After lunch I retired for a while and N went out to visit with some Nun who’s also related to him somehow. He was gone ’til about 6, having to have tea with all the Nuns who remember him from when he was here 15 yrs ago. Back at the house it was time for dinner and T.V. We watched an old “Fury” episode, and then a show from Britain called “Man in a Suitcase”.

After T.V. we sat around in the room reading and writing when about 10:30 who should call but Leslie. She and Amy were in town and wanted to meet us at the Pub at 10:45. We put on our shoes & off we went. We downed a beer before they got there. They were leaving tomorrow to go to Macha(?) and wanted to leave some stuff behind with a fellow at the bar. We met many folks at the bar who knew JE and were quite surprised that N was an Ybarnegary. One fellow even invited us out to his house this weekend to eat SP and enjoy the country side.

Leslie occupied herself trying to get the words to “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” and Amy flirted with most of the men at the bar. Man, has she got a nice body. At one point she was standing at the bar, back (ass) to some fellows. One guy said “You better not point that this way, it’s very dangerous”. We met an AFS student from North Carolina, another from Chicago, and one from Norway. We also met a guy who said he had some smoke and would turn us on after the pub closed. We stood around talking to L, A, and the guys, downing several beers and listening to Paul Simon on the tape player.

About 1 the pub closed and we waited around in the street for the guy with the do to come out. L & A walked their friend from Arg. home (the lady we met in Oruro with the dent on her nose) and then came back to meet us in front of the pub. We jumped into Nano Gutierrez’s Willys (the guy who’s invited us out this weekend) along with about 3 other guys, L & A, and drove about 2 blocks down the street, stopped, and drove backwards back to the pub. I know not why.

We all got back out and went into another bar across the street. I asked the guy if we weren’t going to smoke some. He seemed pretty spaced out but took us out into the street where he proceeded to load up a little paper pipe. We were joined by Nano and the 4 of us stood there looking guilty as sin as 2 cops walked by. They didn’t hastle us, didn’t even look at us closely. After they passed we toked but he had only enough for about 2 hits each. Then somehow we found out he had some toot. He turned us on to some of that. It was very good.

We walked back into the bar and consumed more beer. I talked to Nano about his old cars he’s restoring (he’s a mechanic). Then we worked some puzzles with matches (take 6 matches & make 4 equilateral triangles) and coins ( [1] move 2 and make the triangle point the other way). I wound up talking with Leslie about “Dragons of Eden” and “Hamlet’s Mill.”

She and Amy wanted to take N & I back to their hotel (to talk, presumably) but N was too OD’d. So we just walked them back. They had to pound on the door for 15 min. before somebody finally let them in. We said goodnite, assured that they’d meet us here in Sucre when they got back into town, and walked back home. It was 3 by the time we finally hauled in, and we both collapsed into bed.

TUES MAR 13

Woke up late and lazy.

After breakfast, still feeling the need, I went back to sleep. A basic day of “life in the horizontal”.

After lunch N worked on a letter to Jane while I wrote in these notes. [2] A little later in the afternoon we took a walk downtown to check on movies. Along the way I noticed Amy riding on a motorcycle. Evidently they didn’t leave town today as planned. The movies were nothing spectacular - Freebee & the Bean, Street- Fighter w/Charles Bronson, The Colossus of Rhodes, Girls are for Loving, etc. Nothing worth going out to. We walked back by way of L & A’s hotel to see if they were still, indeed, in town. They hadn’t checked out of the hotel, but were gone for the moment.

On the way back to the house we passed a store selling “Post Toasties”. We debated the necessity of buying a box, it having been a long time since either of us has had corn flakes. It would sure beat the stale bread and soggy cookies for breakfast. While debating we noticed a fellow selling bags of milk. We bought a liter and decided to go back for the flakes. They wanted $2.00 a box! Don’t need corn flakes that bad. So we drank the milk and decided to save the flakes for the states.

After dinner JE came in and brought in a recorder and a flute. We toodled around on those things and then got started talking about cameras. He had a couple old (last summer) Modern Phot & Pop Phot mags which he brought in. We began reading those which kept us busy the rest of the night. Reading those mags makes me more than ever want to get back to a darkroom. So many things to do. I feel removed from the photographic life. Like Ed G. without his paints. There are still a lot of good phots to be taken, especially in Peru. But it’s hard not being able to see them. We retired with dreams of Canon A-1’s in our heads.

Just before dinner we were listening to the short wave. We turned to Voice of America. We heard a very strange show. It was the “Morning Show” for Wed. the 14th. We couldn’t figure out if it was a mistake in playing the wrong tape, or if they were broadcasting to the other side of the world where it was Morning Mar 14th. Never did find out.

WED MAR 14,

Got up and had the usual breakfast of hard bread, soggy cookies, coffee & a piece of sponge cake.

As we eat breakfast in the morn, the little maid goes in and makes our beds and cleans out N’s film-can-top ashtray. No matter how fast we eat, we can’t catch her making the bed. She’s fast.

We grabbed camera gear and headed out to the Ricolletta, a church and convent outside town up on the hill. We took a leisurely walk along the old colonial streets of Sucre, photoing along the way. 2nd story balconies looked down on us , the buildings were all white, close to the street, with side walks that grew and faded. Little kids played in the streets, cars honked at inter-sections, and shopkeepers minded their stores, with goods piled right up to the door. We didn’t go inside at the Ricoletta, but settled for some phots of the buildings and town from the vantage point.

We walked farther on up the hill behind, taking more pictures of little kids in doorways and some close ups of the yellow striped, green cactus leaves . On the road going up to the top of the hill were monuments to the 12 stations of the cross. We got up to the 4th and decided to head back down for lunch. We took a few shots along the way . It felt good to get out and be taking pix.

Lunch is served by the 3 mestizo maids. The little one that makes the beds, the tall one that N lusts after (come here and make me) and a 3rd, the least attractive of the bunch. Lunch is preceded by the usual scotch or pisco sour. {Took a couple pix of the patio, N & the dog and Tio J next to the fountain. I wanted to take a picture of the whole family when JE got home. Mom was busy running around so when everybody sat down at the table, I raised the idea. She nixed it promptly, not wanting her picture taken in “house clothes”.} [3]

After lunch we again grabbed cameras and took a stroll out looking for photo mags. Nobody sells them in this town. We wound up going to the University Museum. The 1st part of the museo was the colonial museum, complete with many religious paintings of bleeding Jesuses, monks contemplating skulls, and a marvelous, Buddhist like painting of the world, from heaven all the way down, with everybody important in between. There were also some really well done chests and little pull - drawer cabinets inlaid with wood.

All through the museo (we were the only ones there, they had to unlock the door for us) we were followed by a green uniformed military type. Like Casa Libertad, this fellow never took his eyes off us. The next part was the archaeological museo. An uninspired collection of pots and potsherds. There was one display case filled with skulls, but all in all, this part was worth skipping. Next door was a display of indigenous art and costumes. There were dolls dressed up like the various natives of Bol., some nice weavings on the walls, and a full sized mannequin dressed like a Tarabuceño. The most noteworthy part of this display was the nice looking red-head who was also observing the weavings and display cases.

We went back downstairs and went thru the modern art part. There was a good collection of more or less recent paintings and drawings. This was probably the best part of the museo. From the museo we took a walk down the street and took more photos (no photos allowed in the museo) of a truck sticking out of a doorway , men painting the side of a church with primeval ladders , and a gaggle of school girls all dressed in white.

On our way back by the plaza, I stopped in a paper store that had a Bolivia Reclama su Mar flag in the window. I asked if they had any to sell. No, they didn’t, but would sell me the one in the window for 5 pesos. The lady ripped a corner taking it down, but I took it anyway.

We decided to walk up to Nano Gutierrez’s repair shop. We found the right street, looked for 4 identical garage doors, found the right one and went in. He and his crew of 3 (not including the little kid who answered the door and the dog who doubled as a door bell) were busy repairing about 12 motorcycles, all in varying stages of disassembly. He also had a couple classic old cars that he was working on. We talked cars and motos for a while and then headed back to the house. We re read the photo mags until dinner.

After dinner we found out JE had some more mags. We grabbed the 2 others and read those for the rest of the night. 90% advertizing, 9% articles and 1% photos.

Thurs MAR 15,

Awoke to a drizzly morning.

After breakfast we retired to read the photo mags. An inspection of the book closet in our room revealed a small collection of English books. I grabbed Ian Fleming’s In Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and N took Huxley’s Brave New World. We read all morning. We ate lunch and read the 1st part of the afternoon. Then we decided to go out and take a sauna. We loaded up our suits, soap, and towel and off we went. Once we reached the sauna, we found out it was closed, only open on Fri, Sat, & Sun. So N walked back to the house to take a shower and I walked over to the plaza to watch the people and get some fresh air.

I was immediately accosted by no less than 4 Tarabuc.s selling ponchos. I didn’t want any, but they sat there on the park bench with me anyway. Finally some other gringos across the way started looking at one fellow’s ponchos and this drew the other ones away. Then 2 fellows came up to me and asked me if I spoke English “Yes”. “Do you speak Spanish?” “A little.” So they sat down next to me and proceeded to unwrap something from a big newspaper bundle under one fellow’s arm. It was a battery charger. The indicator light had melted all the plastic around it. The fellows wanted to know why. All the instructions were in English so that’s why they were coming to me. I read the instructions but they said nothing about why the indicator light should melt the plastic. Then at the bottom I noticed the device was to be operated at 120 volts. “What’s the voltage here in Sucre?” “220” 2 + 2 = 1 burnt plastic battery charger. He thanked me for my astoundingly bright assessment of the problem and walked away.

Just as I was about to leave myself, I noticed Gonzalo walking thru. I motioned him over. We went across the street where he bought me a cup of coffee. He was on his way back to work but took a quick coffee break to talk with me. He made it quick and left to go back to the shop. I walked back to the house and took a shower myself.

We decided to take a turn around the plaza before dinner. Thurs & Sun are the big strolling nites. The boys go around one way and the girls the other. We sat on a bench and watched all the “young hammers” as Dinger would say. 90% were Guaranteed Jail Bait. Tight little asses and not a day over 15. Then we saw Nano walking by. Motioned him over and we sat on the bench talking and gawking. One particularly sweet little ass in white pants walked by. She was swinging it from side to side like a box car on bad tracks. We watched her go around a couple times, Nano left to meet his wife, and we took a couple turns around ourselves. It’s positively Masochistic watching all the beautiful ladies knowing you’ll never get more from them than a few reflected photons. Frustration reached its limit and we came back to the house.

We had missed dinner. They don’t keep stuff warm for you here. Dinner is served by the maids and if you’re not here to eat, too bad. We had cold soup and a cold spinach pie with some congealed white sauce on top. After dinner we decided to go out to the pub to make the mythical “Bolivian Connection” Well nobody was at the bar to connect with so we sat there drinking beers and watching the Pong game. We talked about everything from Pot to Parents. At one point Gonzalo came in and joined us for a while. He only stayed a short time but told us he’d meet us at the sauna tomorrow. He left us to listen to the Pink Floyd tape on the stereo. The only thing this town has going for it is a bar with good music.

The beer having lowered my tongue, and the subject of the “Bol. Conn.” having already raised the possibility of going to the states early, I discussed with N. my feelings of needing to return after Peru. He was receptive but won’t be going back himself. So it’s almost assured. If we don’t connect, or even if we do, at the end of Peru I think I’m going back.

We came back to the house and discussed our varying alternatives and viewpoints on Bolivia. This is N’s home away from home but to me it’s just another country. I need to get back to a darkroom and photography and N. wants to stay here, investigating the life-style of Bolivia. I feel my links with the U.S. pulling me back, and N’s links here are keeping him here. If we connect, it will be much easier for both of us.

FRI MAR 16,

After breakfast I came back to the room to read more James Bond.

N took the camera gear and went out photoing. He came back just before lunch. We did the photo thing [see: WED 14] and sat down to eat. J.E. said he was going to take us out to eat tonite and would call with details of time, place, etc. after he got back to work. We laid around after lunch waiting for him to call. About 3 I finished the book and was ready to go out photoing but N wanted to wait. So we waited all the rest of the afternoon. JE never called.

About 6 or so N went out to meet Gonz. at the sauna. I stayed behind to talk to JE should he call. About 7 he showed up and said he’d be back at 8 to take us out. N got back at 8. He said Gonz never showed at the sauna. JE came back a little after 8 and we walked down thru the park to a nice restaurant. There we ordered up some drinks and began playing dice. We played a Yahtzee-like game, then a horse-race game, then a bluffing game the only point of which seemed to be to get all the players drunk. Then we ordered up a good meal. After eating we played a road-race game and then it was time for JE to get back to the house as he had to work tomorrow. N & I thanked him for the good time and the dinner.

We went over to the pub. Almost immediately N began to talk to a fellow named “T” about the “Bol. Con.” T’s friend (quite drunk) talked to me about hash, but I wasn’t sure and didn’t want to interrupt N to translate. T wants 4 for 1/2 key of puro. We asked him about smoke and he said to come by the store tomorrow morn. Then I met a fellow who talked a little English and invited us over to his house for a drink. We got the address, finished talking with T and left.

I was feeling good due to the drinks at dinner and the couple beers at the pub. Once at the fellow’s house we were served J&B from a gallon bottle. It was somebody’s birthday and we, along with about 5 other guys, were celebrating. The party began to break up and several of the fellows left. Of the remaining, one guy said he had a little smoke. A little is right. About 1 hit each. Then he said he had some toot. We tooted a line and 1/2 or so. I sat back to sip my whiskey and began to feel very drunk. I put the glass down & leaned back against the wall, trying to retain my composure and my lunch. N was busy playing “his 3 tunes” on the guitar but I soon convinced him it was time for us (me) to go. We said goodby and moved on out into the street & fresh air. I felt better walking but felt as tho I was on automatic pilot all the way back. Once we got to the house & I laid down, I began to get the whirlies. 2 trips to the porcelain wheel to lighten my stomach and I felt better. I fell asleep immediately.

Sat. MAR 17.

Awoke rather early with a woozey stomach.

Evidently someone had heard my distress last night, for this morn there were 2 glasses of water and 2 alka-seltzs on the table. We availed ourselves of them after breakfast. It was a cloudy - brite day and we wanted to take photos of San Felipe before lunch and Nano’s arrival at 2. So we gathered up lenses and film and headed out.

At San F. we wandered about taking a few pix of the courtyard and upstairs archways. Then up to the roof. But it was locked. N. had to run back downstairs and get the key. Once on the roof we photo’d the varying spires and bell towers, the stained glass windows and colored tiles, and the rooftops of Sucre. I walked up into one of the bell towers and began silhouetting the bell against the background of the town. We had seen an attractive blond lady also walking up on the roof, alone. After a couple shots in the bell tower she climbed up the stairs and joined me. I was done photoing anyway and we began to talk on the way back down to the street. She was from Germany (spoke English very well), an exchange student now living in Santa Cruz, and on a short vacation to Sucre, Potosi, Tarija, and back to Sta. Cruz. We got her address in Sta Cruz and said we’d look her up when we got there.

We walked together thru the plaza and then parted company to go down to T’s store. He was there but had nothing for us. He said to meet him at the pub between 9 & 10. We said we couldn’t because Nano was coming to take us to Yotala. So come to the store Monday, he said. We left to go back to the house. On the way back we ran into Julio Alarcon from LaPaz. N thought he saw him yesterday while he was taking pix but wasn’t sure. It was indeed him. He invited us out to the Glorieta this after but we couldn’t go (Nano, etc.) He was going to come by Tio J’s for lunch on Sun. We apologized for not being able to see him, said goodby, and went to the house for lunch.

After lunch we laid around waiting for Nano. I started reading Brave New World. 2, 2:30, 3, still no Nano. Well, he probably got held up. 3:30, 4, 4:30, 5, Tio J came in and wanted to know what was going on. He was pissed that Nano hadn’t shown. He decided to drive us around town to look for his car. Earlier, about 4, JE had called Yotala. Some little kid answered saying N & wife wouldn’t be back ’til night. N went up to the repair shop but nobody was there. So about 5:30 Tio J, N & I took a drive but saw nothing. We came back to the house and waited some more.

The family went out to church and we decided to take a stroll around the plaza. More nice (young) tits & ass. We felt bad because the family hadn’t been expecting us to be around for dinner but we were still here, and also because Tio J was so pissed (not really his concern, I thought). Lots of looks but no luck at the plaza, we came back for dinner.

About 9:15 we decided to go and see if T was at the pub. While walking down the street Gonzalo and 2 friends drove up and told us to get into the car. We still had time to get to the pub, we thought. So into the car and up the street we went, presumably to take one of the friends home. But there was no car there, or the door was locked or something so he couldn’t get in.

Then Gonz. suggested a drive out to the airport along Chucisaca’s only paved road. Said it would only take 15 min. Gonz. has to be one of the world’s worst drivers. He speeds up, then slows down, then speeds back up, using both lanes of the road without reason. A short but unnerving ride to the airport, up on a hill outside town. The only worthwhile point was the view provided of Sucre. City lights in the distance and a 3/4 waning moon peeking from behind the clouds. The ride back down was no better. A real schizo driver.

We got to the pub just at 10. Of course T wasn’t there. Nor was any other familiar face or single girl. So we had a quick beer and then who should come in but the birthday boy from last nite. He and his friends were all going down to the “Cuerno” for drinks. They left. We walked down to the “Horney” bar but one look inside told us there was even less action there than at the pub, at twice the price. So we walked back to the house. A real strike out day. We watched a cheezy “monster” movie on T.V. Then I retired to finish BNW and crashed.

SUN MAR 18.

Awoke to a brite morn.

N went out to the park to shoot pix. I didn’t feel hungry so I didn’t eat breakfast, and stayed behind to try and get caught up on my writing. I stayed in and wrote all morn. Tio J came in before lunch time to see if I was sick. I tried to convince him that I wasn’t hungry and had stayed in only because I needed to write. Just then N came back from the plaza. Tio J suggested a drive around to look at the girls. OK, we said.

Got into the car and drove to the plaza. There we got out and stood in the sunshine, looking at all the young lovelies. Soon Julio Alarcon came along. He was going to come over for lunch. We talked for a while and then he left. J N & I drove back to the house. There we met Julio and sat around on the patio under the big colored sun umbrella, drinking whiskey. The canaries were singing, we watched the goldfish in the fountain, and looked at some photos of JA’s kids.

Lunch was served, and what a lunch. First there were some excellent salteñas, not so juicy as the ones we’ve had before. Then came the soup, complete with big chunks of potatoes and a piece of meat that could have been fish or fowl. This was eaten with bread and cheese. Then came the rice - mariscos dish. Chunks of fish, mussels, oysters, and things that looked like octopus arms or squid, mixed with sauce and all put over rice. Then came the big green grapes, coffee, and cigarettes. Then back out to the patio for anisette. I was so bloated I could hardly see.

I came back to the room and discovered a copy of Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. Read and laid around the rest of the afternoon. Sunday is big paseo night at the plaza. About 7:30 N & I walked down to the square and sat on a bench to watch. Most of the scrunti were very young. There weren’t too many people at 1st, but as time went on the crowd grew bigger & bigger. Manymany young ladies, and a few older ones (like 20). Today was the military academy’s day off so all the soldiers-to-be were strolling in their nifty grey uniforms, hats, and white gloves. Little Miss White Butt was there, studiously avoiding our lustful stares. Several other ladies met them, and a couple even said hello.

When the crowd got really thick we decided to take a few turns ourselves. We ran into the fellow whose house we went to on Fri. He wants to get together with us before we leave town. Another turn or two around the plaza, a final leer at miss Butt, and we came back to the house for dinner. After dinner we went over to the Pub to see who, if anybody, we could run into. We ran into T right away and he and N sat talking Business. I occupied myself watching the dart players and Pong players.

The Pub is a small place. 4 or 5 stools at the bar, with a big painting of Andy Capp, standing at a bar, drink in hand, watching a dart game, evidently making some comment to the thrower of the dart depicted in mid flight above the bar. This is painted on the door of the liquor cabinet. The refrig. is to one side and the stereo tape - player to the other. Next to the bar is a stairway leading up to the balcony that contains the dart court. Along the stairway are other levels, carpeted, providing chair - like spaces. The rest of the bar has 5 or 6 round tables with bench - like seats in semi - circles around them. These seats are also carpeted. Pieces hang down from the ceiling, painted with stripes, and forming a pattern: [4] in cross section.

During the course of N & T’s talk, N discovered that T now wants 4.5 per 1/2 and that he needs to do it within a week. “Not possible” he told T. “We need at least a month to check things out and get the scratch.” Then finally a month time limit was set. But the exchange would have to take place in LaPaz with one of T’s friends, closely watched by the members of the Bol. Narcos. This sounds pretty fishy. We’ll have to think that over. Then N tried to get some smoke. T said we’d have to wait ’til midnite when his friends showed up. All this time a drunk sitting at the bar (we were on the steps) was intruding into our talk. He kept butting in and talking nonsense about his time spent in Holland and how much he loved South America, he kept calling it South Africa.

Finally about 11:30, the drunk getting on our nerves and it looking like T wasn’t going to come thru with the do, we took off. The Bol. Con. is quickly turning into the Bol. Joke. Nothing but unmet promises and shady sounding deals. T’s days are numbered.

MON MAR 19,

N got up at 9:30 to go and get a picture at the photo shop for JE.

I ate breakfast and when he got back we loaded up the camera gear and started walking toward the Glorieta. We stopped at the Ford Dealership to check directions with Tio J and we were on our way. The walk was all down hill and took us thru a couple small towns, one with a military base. All around were 16 yr old kids with sub - machine guns slung under their arms, protecting the new recruits, who were busy going thru their marching exercises on a big training field, to the sound of a military marching band somewhere out of sight. We wanted to take some pix of the marchers but figured the trigger happy Sophomores would shoot first, and call relatives later, if they indeed had bullets in those things.

It was a brite - partly cloudy day. We walked along paralleling the river, enjoying the scenery, and choking and getting covered with dust every time a car or bus drove by on the gravel road. It was a little over an hour’s walk to the castle, now being used as a military base. We had to tell the guard at the gate we were Architecture students in order to get a tour. A uniformed kid took us thru. The first building used to be a stables, with busts of horse’s heads on the wall outside. Now it’s a garage for big blue busses and jeeps with flat tires.

The main building is a fantastic hodge - podge of styles. It has 3 big towers, one looks like a church tower, with a clock and cross at the top, one looks like a gothic tower or a chess rook, and the 3rd looks like a Russian onion spire. The building is done in pink stone with many arches, balconies, and stained glass windows. It used to be the private home of a rich couple given titles by no less than the Pope. It contained many beautiful pieces of furniture and was the meeting place for visiting officials. It has now fallen into great disrepair. All the rooms are empty, except for the “cine” which contains pictures on the walls of the former owners receiving honors, and discarded beer bottles on the floor.

We walked up into the tallest turret, a winding staircase with little round windows at each “floor”. On the top a balcony provided a view of the roof and surrounding grounds. At one side of the mansion was a large garden with many small gazebo - like buildings, fountains and pools (dry). At one point a troupe of pigs came scurrying across the lawn and went into one of the bandstands. We took several photos of the outside and of the grounds and finally about noon began the walk back.

We had gone about 1k when a bus came along. We flagged it down and got on. After the bus had gotten underway I asked the kid how much the ride to Sucre cost. “10 pesos each” Well N said he had only 10 pesos and I had none. I told this to the kid but he thought I was only trying to bargain. So a couple k down the road when the bus stopped to let a lady off, we got off too. That short ride cost us 2 pesos each, but trimmed about 20 min from our walk. As we started walking, N again counted his money. He’d actually had 19 pesos. We could have ridden all the way.

As we were walking past the plaza, we saw Gonzalo and he saw us. He motioned for us to get into the car, he would give us a ride to Tio J’s. We got in but he drove up about a block, stopped the car, and walked the remaining 1/2 block to his house to drop off his briefcase. Can’t drive a car with a briefcase in it. We waited for 5 min while he dallied. As we were waiting we saw Nano Gutierrez drive by. Finally G got back and drove us to the house. He said he’d come by at 6 to take us up to the mirador (lookout) outside town.

After lunch we laid around for a while and then went out to look up T. He said he’d have some for us at 3. We 1st went to a store by the plaza and bought a little plastic chess set (no board). Now we can play chess at will. Then to T’s store. He was there but said he had nothing yet, to come back at 6 or better yet meet him at the pub. OK, at the pub, but one more strike and you’re out.

We came back to the house and read [5] until JE called and said we could tour the Sureña Beer Factory at 5:30. After tea Tio J drove us over and there we met one of the brewmeisters, who took us on a private tour. 1st we saw the compressors for air and ammonia (used for cooling). Then we saw the CO2 reclamation equip. Then to the malt dryer. They use germinated barley. This is then cooked in big copper ovens with water to activate enzymes that turn starch to sugar. This mixture (Woorst) is then allowed to set, causing crud to precipitate out. Then it is filtered, cooled, and filtered again. Then it’s pumped into the primary fermentation vats, yeast added, and there it sets. The CO2 is captured by the aforementioned equip. When the beer is almost done it’s pumped into the secondary vats, a little more yeast added, and there it ages. Then it’s put into bottles, pasteurized, crated, trucked and sold. Approx 18,000 bottles per day, 4 mill per year. (Those figures don’t work out, but it’s something like that) I was surprised to see how small the operation was.

After the tour we sat in the office with our guide and JE, drinking beer and playing with our guide’s little calculator (3/32 thick). Then we saw JE’s Almacen (stock room) and got a ride back in guide’s VW Beetle. Back at the house Gonzalo showed up and took us for a ride up to the top of the hill outside of town. It was too dark to take pix but the view was nice. Then he took us for a short ride thru the new part of town near the refinery that N’s dad helped build. I had to piss and kept making jokes about going in the back of G’s car or perhaps trying to hit the steering wheel. He finally stopped and I relieved myself along the roadside. That’s one nice thing about S.A., you can piss just about anywhere. Just pull up a wall, curb, or bus tire, nobody cares.

We came back to the house and had dinner. While we were out with Gonz. Leslie had called. They were back in town. After dinner we walked over to the Pub. T wasn’t there and neither were Leslie or Amy. We sat around for a while drinking and then decided to go over to L & A’s hotel to see if they were in. Before we had a chance to leave they walked in the door. We ordered up another round and had a reunion. There were some German guys at the bar, a fellow from Canada, and a cute blond girl from Argentina. Lilliana, the Arg. lady we met 1st in Oruro was there, Nano was there, and many folks from Sucre. It was a good time.

Nano explained that his Jeep had broken down on Sat. and he had been ’til 7PM fixing it. Then he lost a key or locked himself out or something and had to go to Yotala to get it and then come back to get his Jeep. By the time he got everything put together it was too late to call us. He apologized and went back to his friends. We all sat around the bar, Leslie taking turns between my knee and N’s due to lack of stools. [6] I talked with the Canadian guy for a while. It was one of the Germs. birthday and they sang “Happy Birthday” to him a couple times. We met Peter [7] , a fellow from Jamaica and Fernando, from Sucre, who were both planning to go to Potosi on Wed. N managed to get us invited along. We talked and drank.

Near bar closing Amy and Lill. started to dance. Soon they had N & I and Leslie and another fellow out on the very small open floor space dancing to old Beatles music. Finally the bar closed and we all went out into the street. Everybody was still in a partying mood so we went across the street and pounded on the door of another closed bar (the “Office” I think) until they opened up. There was Lill., the Arg. lady, Leslie, Amy, the 2 Germ fellows, the Canadian guy (very attached to the Arg lady) several nationals, and the folks behind the bar. They put on some music and everybody started to dance. I sat and talked with the Arg. lady for a while. She was working in Ecuador in the jungle looking for oil or something of a geophysical nature. She gave me many friendly looks and I returned them.

Then I went over and sat next to a cute little girl from Sucre named Daisy. We talked for a while about her possibility of getting a job in the States once she learns English. Soon she caught the dancing mood and pulled me out on the floor. I did my best to keep up with her. The beer had removed many inhibitions which loosened up both my feet and my Spanish. We had a good time, she dancing and me fumbling. I looked long and deep into her beautiful dark eyes and felt myself falling in love. I asked her if she had a boyfriend. “No” she said, but she had come to the bar with another guy. So much for that Idea. Besides, I’m leaving town on Wed. and she’s only 20. Sour grapes.

Then I danced with Leslie (when I could get her away from N) Amy, and Lill. Lill was a little tipsy but man could she dance. She told me she was a gymnast (in bed, too, I bet) and when she got down on her knees and bent over backwards, then got up and asked if I could do the same, I just had to laugh. Many (well, 2) guys were trying for the favors of the other Arg. lady. She seemed most closely attached to the Canadian but a Germ. fellow kept pulling her out into the dance floor. At one point she came over and put her arm around me. I reciprocated and we stood there leaning against the bench seats, tapping out the rhythm of the music on each other’s sides. This went on for a while and several more probing looks were exchanged. She was hauled off again to dance with one of her suitors.

I looked around to see what had become of Daisy. She was sitting in the corner snuggled up with her “non-boyfriend” They looked very cozy until I realized that she was crying. Really letting it all out with big sobs. Her friend had arms wrapped all around her, either trying to comfort her or cop a feel. My heart went out to her but there was nothing I could do. I looked over towards the corner many more times that night. She was still crying several times, but by the end of the night she had stopped, but still looked none too happy.

Leslie and N had been dancing up a storm but it was getting late and they wanted to leave. We said goodby to them but then learned that Nobody was leaving. The door was locked with a padlock from the inside and the bartender wouldn’t open up. He wanted the party to go on and said he’d open up at 11 tomorrow. There was nothing we could do. I danced some more with the Arg lady. She said she didn’t usually dance, didn’t know how to, and only did when she’d been drinking. I told her the same was true for me. So we whirled & twirled each other around, getting tangled, untangled, laughing, and having a real good time. She told me she was a campesino from Arg. Father was Germ and mother was French, had come to Arg. at the beginning of WWII. I told her I was a campesino from the US. We got along royally.

She got tired and wound up sitting next to her Canadian. I kept up my energy some how (kept looking over to see how Daisy was doing) and continued dancing with Lill. By this time Leslie and N were in the corner having a real heart to heart talk. I kept on dancing and drinking. Finally Lill got tired and sat down against the wall. I sat down next to her and figured “What the hell” I put my arm around her. She didn’t protest. Then I started to massage her neck, back, and shoulders. I knew it felt good. I kept my mouth shut and let my fingers do the talking. She looked over at me and said “You do that very well.” I put my arm back around her and started playing with her fingers. She played back.

Finally, after some prodding from somewhere, the bartender decided to let us go. He went over and unlocked the lock. People began to leave. Lill got up to help Amy find her sweater. I went over to Daisy & friend and shook her hand goodnight. I had to lean across the table to do it. I told her I was very glad to have met her (if only it was me sitting in the corner with her and not that dumb Latin). As an afterthought I shook her “friend’s” hand goodnight (asshole). Then I went over to say goodnight to the Arg lady. She was sitting next to the Canadian (so what, I thought) I took both her hands, looked her in the eyes and got the most sincere and friendly look of the night. She wished me a good trip and good luck. I wished her the same. Then she told me she hoped I would learn how to dance. I laughed. I told her to learn how to dance, too. Another searching look and it was time to go.

N & Leslie were off down the street ahead of me. I waited to say goodnite to Lill but she came out with me and we walked together down the street. The Arg. lady and the Can. followed. We turned the corner and suddenly were walking alone. N was way ahead with Leslie and the couple behind had disappeared. We walked 2 blocks to the corner where she had to turn to go home. (She was working at the Archives here, microfilming things) I asked her if she’d be going to the Pub again tomorrow night. She said yes. “I’ll see you there, then” I said and went to give her the customary kiss on the cheek. She took it on the lips. Well, I thought, might as well try that again. I put my arms around her and this time, to my surprise, received a sweet French kiss that lasted not nearly long enough. “I’ll see you tomorrow” I said and walked off to catch up with N who had finished saying goodnite to Leslie. I looked at my watch to see how late it really was. It was 4:30 AM We walked back to the house, N hopelessly enamored with Leslie and me with Daisy (the Arg lady and Lill. both tied for a close second) Back at the house I related my various romantic adventures (when you’re hot, you’re hot) and went to sleep.

TUES MAR 20,

Awoke as late and lazy as any time in the past.

N got up before me and went down to the bus station to try and return our tickets for tomorrow. They took them back but charged us 10 pesos for the service. When he got back I was up and feeling almost awake. We were going off to have lunch with Gonzalo at 12:30, but 1st we wanted to go over to the world famous chorizo place and test the truth to the rumor that these were the best in Bolivia. We got there about 10:30 and ordered up a plate. They were good, not too greasy, and rather picante. We passed on the salad and the beer, knowing we’d have to be eating more soon.

After this breakfast we walked up to the LAB office to find out about flights from Tarija back to Cbba. They have direct ones one day a week and on several other days we’d have to change planes in Sucre. The cost is just over $30. Then we stopped next door at the Ford Dealership and met Tio J coming out the door. We told him about cashing in our tickets and he expressed some concern that these fellows would leave us behind as Nano had done. We assured him that they were respectable people, engineers, and had assured us a ride. Then we went inside and met Gonzalo. We had planned to go and sit in the park and digest before going to his house but he said no, to come right over, he was going home too. So we walked over to his house.

He lives in his parent’s house. He explained that he’d been married once, but now that he was divorced, he lived back with mom & dad. He gave us the tour. The house was filled with beautiful old colonial furniture. It was his father’s hobby, he said. Despite the furniture, the house struck me as being cold, like a display room at a museum. It didn’t look as tho people could really live there. Bare wood floors, fancy flowered vases, a few flowers, a small library; only the bedrooms looked livable. He put on some music and we sat (lightly) on the furniture listening. Then he said “Let’s go downstairs and play roulette.”

He took us down thru his garage into what seemed to be another apartment. Sort of his den. In the 1st room he had his writing desk, diplomas on the wall, and a psychiatrist’s couch. In the next room he had a bed and dresser. I teased him about the couch “You analyze them in here (pointing to the couch) and if they’re OK, you take them in there (pointing to the bed). Or if they’re not OK, you take them in there and cure them.” Then we walked across a little patio, past the bathroom, to the game room. Here he had his roulette wheel and playing mat. The wheel had to be a full 3 1/2" in diameter with a little 1/4" plastic ball. The wheel sat in a plastic dish all of 6" across. [8] All 24k plastic. The mat was printed on double thickness paper, 12" x 28". The chips came in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, and 50. We got 5 of each. He briefly explained the rules of betting, spun the wheel and we were off. He had to hold the little plastic dish in his hands and if he spun the wheel too hard, the little plastic ball shot across the room. He was very proud of his roulette set. He’d gotten it in Chile. I was the 1st to loose all my chips. He and N played one all or nothing round, G on Black and N on red. It came up black. Enough gambling for one day, lets go eat.

We sat at the big dining room table and were served by one of the 2 Indian maids. The other, he explained, was over 70, a part of the family, and like a mother to him. His parents were off in Costa Rica visiting his sister. The 1st plate was Bistek con leche. A good hunk of meat covered with some kind of whipped, poached eggs, and a few fried potatoes. No leche involved. It was good and after this I was full. The next plate was sopa de kinoa, a kind of grain with a few onions on top. It, too, was good, tasted a bit like soft rice crossed with wheat. I could eat only half of my plate. Then came desert, cherimoyas. A big green fruit with large black seeds inside surrounded by a sweet white pulp. I could eat none of this. Then coffee and eating, thank Grid, was over.

He took us into his bedroom upstairs (on the main floor), handed us some Time and Newsweek mags, and proceeded to lay down. I noticed his Exercycle in the corner and sat down on it, cycling, reading a mag. It was the kind where the handle bars moved back and forth. I complained because I wasn’t getting anywhere and got off. About 1:45 he had to leave to go back to work. We came back to the house and laid around in a state of serious bloat.

I finished reading The Sun Also Rises. A very well done book. N started with it and I began moving back into my pack. After dinner we went out to the Pub. Along the way we ran into Fernando, one of the guys going to Potosi tomorrow. He was also going to the Pub. He offered us a ride but since we were only 2 blocks away, we decided to walk. As he drove off we ran into JE. N talked to him about Leslie’s down jacket. She had one for sale and he wanted to buy one, but they left town today (presumably). We might see them again in Cbba and if so, JE said, buy the jacket for me.

We walked to the pub and joined Fernando and friends at the table in the back. T wasn’t there. Lilliana wasn’t there. So we sat drinking beers. Peter [9] , one of the fellows going to Potosi tomorrow, also came in and joined us for a while. We told them we’d cashed in our bus tickets and they told us they’d call and then come by about 10 tomorrow. They left and N, in the process of getting up from the table, knocked over and broke a beer glass. I went up to the bar to get another. We wound up sitting at the bar talking to Chino and Lusco, the bartenders, and listening to Pink Floyd on the stereo. [10]

The pub is the only place that has Sureña beer on tap because the head brewmaster at Sureña also owns the pub. They have American matches (made in Miami) to give to their customers. We also found out that they probably could have gotten us some stuff without having to go thru T, who is now on the shit list. He never showed up, neither did Lill. Neither did Leslie or Amy so they must have braved the early morning hours and left. We got some cute little greeting cards from the Pub featuring Andy Capp and a dart board. We wound up closing down the bar, telling Lusco and Chino we’d surely see them again if we got back to Sucre. We came back to the house and N spent much of the night driving the old porcelain wheel.

WED MAR 21

Happy 1st day of Fall (or Spring, depending on which side of the line you’re on).

We got up early and had breakfast. N came back in and packed his stuff up, I laid back down to catch a last few minutes rest. JE had woken us up at 8 and by 9 we were all ready to go. Tio J said good by to us at breakfast. We thanked him and he left to work. When we got up it was pouring rain outside. By ten the rain had stopped. We just laid around waiting for the guys to call. N read and I went back to sleep.

When I woke up again it was 12:30. We figured something had happened. The guys hadn’t called and we figured we’d been let down again. When Tio J came home and saw that we were still there, he got steamed. He seemed to feel no sympathy for us but was angry at the guys who let us down. We went in to lunch. N had called Gonzalo to see if he knew Ferdinand’s last name or telephone #. Ferd. knew Gonz, but Gonz knew more than one Ferd. and so was of no help. It was clear that they had not been expecting us for lunch, there were no little silverware holders at our place settings or glasses. I think Martha in particular will be glad once we’ve left.

After lunch Gonz. came by to take us to the bus station to buy tickets to Potosi. We got seats for 8:30 tomorrow. We got dropped off near the plaza and decided to go up and sit there to see if we could run into Luscho, Chino, T, or the other fellow N had bought from in LaPaz, who was also in town, to try and get some do. We sat there and lusted after the girls but no connections connected. We walked back by T’s store to see if he was there. No. So back to the house. I wrote while N read & slept.

I wrote ’til tea time. [11] Tio J said “Seguridad valé doble” (a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush) and hoped from now on we’d take busses. He had arranged for one of his employees to pick us up tomorrow morn and take us to the depot. Hopefully he will show up. After tea I went back to writing until dinner. N wrote also, sitting on the bed writing on the window ledge. He had the windows wide open. He sat there singing but whenever a lustworthy lady walked by he would stop, say “Hey little girl, wanna piece of candy” or “Nice tits!” or just “Mmmmm”. People would stop and look in at him. One little kid said to him “Kiss my nose” N replied: “Kiss my ass”. I sat there for a while too, watching the world go by. Better than T.V.

We went in to dinner. “The Invisible Man” was on the tube. We watched that while eating. After dinner “Telematch” came on. A German version of “Anything Goes” Cross country furniture races, etc. Before dinner N had gone to T’s shop again. He was there and had assured N that he’d be at the pub around 9 with some goods. So after Telematch we went off to the bar. If T had nothing for us or didn’t show, he would have screwed himself out of a deal. When we got to the bar he wasn’t there. So we ordered up a beer and played some darts. The Canadian fellow from Mon. and his German companion were there playing Pong. I asked them what had happened to the Arg. lady. They told me she’d been stopped by the Police and she didn’t have her passport. So they gave her a fine and 3 days to get out of the country. Perhaps this was because she was Argentinian. What a bummer.

Then T showed up. N sat talking to him. He had “forgotten” the stuff. He wanted to know about the other deal. “I have no confidence in you” said N. “You’ve let us down 4 times” “Only 2" said T “don’t exaggerate”. “1st last Saturday morn, then Sat night, then Mon morn, then you didn’t show Mon. or Tues night, now tonight, you lost your chance”. He gave some rap about wanting to be sure who he sold to. N listened to no more of it. I paid the bar and we walked out. No more run arounds with T. Back to square one.

On the way back to the house N was giving me a synopsis of the conversation. “If I say I’m going to be somewhere, I’m there” N said. “If I say I’m going to bring something I’ve got it, or it’s in my car where I can get it right away. None of this “I forgot” or “I’ll have it tomorrow” shit. As far as I’m concerned T can Fuck Off.” We had been walking past some girls coming back from school or just walking the streets. When they heard N talking one of them said “Norte Americanos?” We walked past them and one of them said “How deep is your love?” I turned around and held my hands about 2’ apart “About this deep” I said. She didn’t understand my answer. “Do you speak English?” one asked “No” N said. “Parlez-vous Francais?” she then asked “Oui” N said “Comment vous-appelez vous?” “Je m’appelle Norris” “Et vous?” she asked me “Je m’appelle Miguel, et vous?” I asked back. “Je m’appelle Janette” “C’est un plaisir” N said and we walked on “Au revoir” she said after us “Au revoir” we replied. How deep is your love, indeed.

Back at the house everybody was busy watching “The Incredible Hulk” with Bill Bixby. He was tracking down a big drug importer. Lou Ferrigno flexed his green pecs thru the streets of N.Y. and finally threw the crook into a pool of wet cement. We went to sleep after this drug adventure. Back to #1.


[2] I put in my 2¢ worth for Jane, too. Told her if she can’t come down least she can send some pot.

[3] { This all happened on Friday. }

[5] N went to the bus station and bought tickets to Potosi for Wednesday morning.

[6] She and Amy were going to Cocha tomorrow morn at 6:30.

[7] I started talking Spanish with him but he said to speak English. I asked him where he learned his English. “I’m from Jamaica, that’s all they speak” “That makes it easy” I said.

[8] There was also a cheesy plastic chip rake about 2’ long (not used).

[9] He was in charge of building roads up to the microwave tower sites. He said after he finished his job the others could drive “comfortably and leisurely” to the top. He used a smooth hand gesture to illustrate his point.

[10] A fellow at the bar told us that in Common Chilean, “Minnesota” means “Tenth Woman”.

[11] Just before tea I went out back and talked to the Parrots. One will bite but the other likes to ride on your shoulder. I put him up there and he didn’t want to get down.

Chapter 30::Table of Contents::Chapter 32