Written on: Wednesday January 2nd, 2008
A journal entry from: Kevin and Julie's RTW
Location: Cochabamaba, Bolivia
Hola y Feliz Nuevo Ano!!
We slept in this morning after our late night out in The Prado area. We had originally planned on leaving today but the hostel owner had informed us that the bus terminal was closed today, but buses would start running again tomorrow morning. So, with nothing to do with ourselves we decided to walk around the Prado area again. It had been so nice yesterday evening all light up that we wanted to see if it was just as nice during the day. It certainly lived up to our expectations. We never expected to see so much modernity in this town when we decided to come here. I actually expected it to be more like La Paz with a worn, antiquated feel to it, which would be normal given how old the city actually was. The city is located in the same-named valley and has been populated for over a thousand due to its fertile productive soils and climate. Archealogical evidence suggests that the initial valley inhabitants were of various ethnic indigenous groups. The first Spanish inhabitant purchased the majority of the land from through a title registered in 1552 at the Imperial City of Potosí. The price paid was 130 pesos. With the silver mining industry in Potosi at its height, Cochabamba thrived during its first centuries of existence. Since the late 19th century it has again been generally successful as an agricultural centre for Bolivia.
We had made plans the night before to meet up with Nina and Matt for lunch. They had agreed to work the morning and late afternoon shifts so they could only meet us for a few hours for lunch. We met them at the park in the Prado which was really pretty with lots of people sitting on benches or having picnics on the grassy areas. The trees were strung up with Christmas lights that were still lit and each strand was playing a Christmas chime with all of them together creating a strange festive cacophony of sounds. We sat down at a busy restaurant that was a combination of a high end restaurant with modern white plastic furniture and a children?s playhouse. Very strange! We sat in front of the dessert display case, which was being constantly filled every few minutes with delicious looking cakes and pies. I had taken a resolution of not eating any more sweets but I only lasted an hour and half before my will broke down to the pressure of an Oreo Ice Cream sundae with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Yes, I?m weak but it was oh so worth it! Unfortunately, time passed by quickly and they had to head back to their kiddies, so we gave them each a big hug and agreed to meet up again in a couple of years from now when we would go visit them in Portland.
We returned to our room for a few hours to watch a bit of TV and relax before our expected bus ride tomorrow morning. In the early evening, we were starting to get a little bored and were wondering what to do with ourselves when an idea came to our minds. We had noticed a couple of movie theatres earlier in the day but they were both closed. We asked the owner if they were open in the evening and he suggested we go to the movie megaplex located passed the Prado area. So, we again walked passed the plaza, the gringo street, and then passed the Prado into the Ricoleta area of the city. At the edge of the river that cuts the city in two we found CineCenter with its 16 movie theatres, arcade and 11 food courts. We were in film heaven but now the most important question of all: Did they have English language or subtitled films available. We had a choice of three films: A scary film, a Sandra Bullock film and Shooter with Mark Wahlberg. After careful consideration, well okay a 30 second discussion that went: ?I don?t want to see the scary movie and the one with Sandra Bullock looks like it sucks?, we decided on the action film. We bought our tickets, a bucket of popcorn and headed up the escalator to our room. I had to do a bathroom stop so Kevin went ahead to get us some seats. When I entered the cinema, he stood up and yelled loudly ?I?m over here!?. We were the only ones in the there so we did laughing. He even gave me the choice of changing seats, what a gentleman. The lights dimmed and as the opening credit began it was like a flood gate opened and a couple dozen people rushed in and grabbed seats around us. For a moment I thought we would be having a private viewing. The movie was decent for the kind it was and we enjoyed the change in our daily travel life of restaurants and plazas. Anyone tired of reading about them yet?
The next morning we woke up early to purchase our ticket to Sucre. We arrived at the bus terminal at 8 AM to find a 2 hour wait at all the bus companies that go to Sucre. The bus terminal was a chaotic scene with probably a thousand people waiting in line, sitting on the floor with their belongings or walking around. We walked from one to another to try to find the one that moved the fastest. We finally settled on a bus company that was in the recommended list (this is important as there are some really bad bus companies in Bolivia). We didn?t have to wait too long in line and were able to purchase our tickets for later that night. We returned to our room to find out if we could get a late check-out since our bus ticket was only at 9 PM. The owner agreed if we paid the price of a half-day, so we were able to keep our room. We spent most of the day lazing around, writing the blog and watching TV. Night buses are never a comfortable affair and I never get a good night sleep, so I really wanted to get as much sleep as I could in a bed before we had to leave. In the afternoon, we headed out to find a bite of food when we ran into Nina and Matt. We hadn?t expected to see them again but by coincidence had found them while they ran errands for the orphanage. We couldn?t miss the chance to have one more ice cream together so we sat down for an hour and I broke my resolution one more time for their sake. At 8:30 PM, we checked out and took a taxi to the quieter bus terminal.