Today is election day in Sucre and everything is shut down. No cars on the street and no alcohol for sale on this day. Muy tranquilo. We´ve been staying in this homey city in southern Bolivia for almost two weeks at Santa Cecilia; a comfortable B&B that has wireless (occasionally) and hot water in our baño privado. Our accomplishments include: a full 7 days of Spanish classes at the friendly Sucre Spanish School, mild food poisoning (or was it the altitude?), and a day trip to a nearby market pueblo Tarabuco where tourists and locals alike purchase handmade indiginous textiles alongside mass-produced made-all-over-the-world items. Things we are enjoying include the fresh fruit drinks (jugos naturales and zumo), impressive vistas, and the abundant chocolate that Sucre is known for as well as the charm of the locals and many fellow travelers we´ve encountered.
Tomorrow at 7am we head to Uyuni, a mining town to the west that is the jumping off point for what is known as the "southwest circuit" . We´ll be traveling with our new friend Malthilde, a quirky but endearing tour guide from France. From Uyuni we will sign up with a guide company to take us for a three-day tour through the salt flats of southwestern Bolivia. We expect high altitudes, cold weather and a striking pure-white landscape along with gysers, a red lake, flamingos, and multi-colored lagunas.