gotiges7's Qype reviews
gotiges7 wrote on 11 July 2008
Forget naked dancing girls and samba dancing - Bolivia is the place where Carnival really kicks off!
I experienced it mostly in the town of Tarija, close to the Argentine border, although it was still kicking along when we arrived in Potosi.
On the morning of the festival's commencement trucks arrived with a cargo of crazily dressed villiagers, one after the other, all singing and laughing and chewing coca leaves.
Military and police started fencing off the streets and there was a sense of aprehension and excitment in the air, of impending action - like a Sam Peckinpah film - but happy.
We wandered out of our hotel with our camera and sensible shoes, looking forward to some cultural stuff - and then - whack! I was all wet. And then whack again - and I was both wet and covered in flour.
It seems to me that there are five elements to Bolivian Carnival. One is the parade. Two is to drink a lot. Three is to throw waterbombs at everyone you can find with Gringo's gaining extra points. Four is to throw flour, with the same rule applying to the Gringo's and five is to set off fireworks.
We fought back against the water bomb throwers. Groups of tourists teamed up and fought running battles against Bolivian kids and the elderly (They were leading by example). Supply problems were our biggest issue and so we enlisted Bolivian children, happy to turn traiter for a small fee, to source and fill our water bombs.
The parade was great and incredilby surreal. (check out the youtube clip - these mice are the local soldiers) And overall this first day was awsome. By end of the next week however as I'd endured drunken miners throwing up on endless bus trips and then, when dieing of altitude sickness in the world highest city, some old woman lent out of a taxi and covered me with flour - the amusement had worn off a little.
Got to say though - I love Bolivia. And I really love it when people with bugger all money really know how to have a good time.
Posted to: simonmcewen.wordpress.com/