Thursday, June 16, 2011
Day 9: The Day I Stimulated the Bolivian Economy
Today was a recovery day for me. After four very intense days in Potosí, I needed some time to let my mind and body recuperate from the demands of sampling. The morning started off pretty slow. I packed up all of my things from Room 1 so I was ready to go when Room 20 was finally back in my name. Room 1 was right next to the office so I didn’t sleep much. I could hear everything – from people walking around, conversations, the printer in the front office, even when people used the bathroom – so it was a long night of tossing and turning. I was ready to return to Room 20.
After saying goodbye to Cesar, I walked to the grocery store with Nick. First, we went to a store to see if they had a smaller plastic container for our samples. But, the next smallest size from the one we already have would have been too small. Then we went to the grocery store, where I stocked up on bottled water and traded in my US dollars for Bolivianos. That was an ordeal. I gave them a $100 bill, and the girl at the register spent about three minutes inspecting it before having someone else come to look at it. Apparently, the problem was the one corner had the tiniest bit torn off, so they thought it was counterfeit. I gave them a different bill and all was well with the world.
After Nick made the phone calls to make shipping arrangements for our samples, he was kind enough to give up some of his time to show me around the markets so I could do some shopping. I bought a few souvenirs for folks back home, and then we went to this amazing fair trade store (Inca Pallay) which sold some of the most beautiful hand woven pieces I have ever seen. The prices were a bit outside of what I had planned to spend on myself, so I had to think about my potential purchases over lunch before I went to buy anything.
After lunch at Los Balcones with Nick, I decided to splurge and go back to Inca Pallay. I bought a Jalq’a axsu weaving. These things are incredibly gorgeous. The one I got was from Potolo, so it is red and black and represents the world of the ukhu pacha. Ukhu pacha is a sacred world as one of the depths, a remote place, with diffuse light. There are both realistic and fantastical creatures throughout the weaving, creating a darkness and confusion that represents the world of the ukhu pacha. It’s absolutely beautiful and I can’t wait to hang it in my home. (If you want to read more about the Jalq’a axsu weavings, click here.)
I spent the afternoon catching up on some odds and ends and trying to sneak in a quick nap. The nap didn’t happen, despite how exhausted I was, but that was okay. At sunset, Nick, Susan, and I watched the full moon rise over the mountains. What an incredible sight. It’s the only thing I took pictures of all day.
After watching the moon rise, we went to Joy Ride for dinner. It was pretty good, but at night the atmosphere is more of a bar/dance club/pool hall all in one. It was a bit loud, but other than that it was a good time. Nick, Susan, and I talked about the trip and the people of Potosí and Huancavelica, comparing and contrasting the two communities that we’ve been focusing on for so long.
There is a threat of a bloqueo that would shutdown the roads pretty much everywhere for at least 48 hours, starting tomorrow. It’s a good thing we’re back in
and don’t end up stuck in Potosí and missing our flights. Apparently, it’s over unregistered contraband cars and residents getting them registered. Seems like a silly thing to shut the roads down for to me, but we’ll see what happens. Sucre
As I said before, it was a pretty laid back day for me. I hope that I will catch up on the sleep I’ve lost in the past few days and wake up refreshed and ready to go tomorrow.