Kids in the Park

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This blog entry about the events of Friday, January 23, 2004 was originally posted on January 25, 2004.

DAY 97: ”?Puedo tenir un Desayuno de Ch’aqui?” I ordered to the waitress in the Joyride cafe at a table with Sam and Zoe.  The “Hangover breakfast” — an open-faced egg and ham sandwich — came after a few minutes and it really hit the spot at nine in the morning.  It was a very “grown-up” start to what would otherwise be a very juvenile day.

ALTHOUGH NOT MENTIONED IN THE LONELY PLANET SHOESTRING GUIDE, there were posters in every cafe, tour agency and hostel for the Dino Truck, which took willing tourists on a tour of the Cal Orck’o, the site of the world’s largest set of dinosaur tracks.  The three of us signed up for a mid-day tour and waited for the kitschy-looking truck in and around the main Plaza 25 de Mayo, killing time watching the inauguration ceremony for the new police motorcycle brigade and a Tae Kwon Do demonstration that was so choreographed it looked like a Backstreet Boys video.  We also played with finger puppets in a nearby souvenir store, finding characters to represent each of us, as well as the characters we met on the Bolivian salt flat/desert tourThe storekeeper, a grumpy little girl who couldn’t have been older than eleven, was way more mature than we were.


IN 1994, JUST A YEAR AFTER THE ORIGINAL JURASSIC PARK hit theaters and put dinosaurs back into mainstream culture, a discovery was made by a group of construction workers just outside of Sucre, Bolivia.  What they discovered, according to the paleontologists that later came to do research, was the longest set of dinosaur tracks in the world.  Like the character John Hammond in the Michael Crichton novel-turned-Steven Spielburg blockbuster, the evidence of dinosaurs was capitalized on by the tourism industry.  In fact, there are plans in the near future to actually build a dinosaur theme park near the site in hopes to generate more revenue.

Intentionally wearing my dark frame glasses to pose as the character Ian Malcolm (played by Jeff Goldblum), I waited near the cathedral with Sam and Zoe — posing as the kids, Tim and Lex — along with about twenty other tourists that could have posed for any of the other characters in the film.  The brightly painted truck with childish drawings of dinosaurs on the side picked us up and took us about thirty minutes out of the city and to the park in the surrounding mountains, made noticable with the concrete dinosaur on the side of the road (picture above, notice me hanging off the tail).  The three of us were wondering where the cheesy construction hats were that we saw the tourists wear in the posters, until we got them at the main office at the site and posed for another stupid picture.  The other tourists got their helmets as well, and we went off in two groups — one Spanish, one English — into the construction site like workers in the quarry on The Flintstones, after a brief demonstration using plastic toy dinosaurs.

Because of the geological forces of the earth over millions of years, the tracks were no longer flat on the ground like conventional footprints.  Pressure forced the plates of stone to eject upwards from the ground, making the footprints look as if they went up a wall — a little boy in our group thought they were Spider-Man tracks.  Our guide led us on the short, one-hour tour to the different sets of tracks on the rock wall from the late Cretaceous period, including those from allosauruses, bronotsauruses and velociraptors.  The only stupid pose the three of us could think to do with them was pretend we were playing Dino-Twister.


AFTER OUR JOURNEY INTO WHAT WILL SOON BE known as “Cretaceous Park,” we arrived back in the city and immediately went looking for the Museo de los Niños, the children’s museum, which Lonely Planet implied might be good for a little kiddie fun.  We walked across town, passed the Convento de Santa Teresa, to the Plaza Anzures, where we discovered the Cafe Gourmet Mirador, an outdoor eatery with a beautiful view of Sucre’s white-walled, red-roofed buildings.  We sat at a table for snacks to enjoy the view, listening to Andrea Bocelli, Sade and Louis Armstrong until a live band came to perform traditional Bolivian songs with churangos, drums and flutes.  The group looked as it was a family of performers, with three kids seemingly embarassed by their father that would sing and go off laughing like Disney’s Tigger at certain parts of the song.  The three children looked disgruntled in their traditional clothes, never smiling — particularly the little girl when she performed a dance solo — and we figured they were forced into the act by their father.  We dubbed them “The Moody Jacksons.”


“[YOU KNOW THIS IS A MUSEUM FOR CHILDREN?]” the young lady at the ticket counter said when we asked for three tickets into the Museo de los Niños.

“Si,” we told her.  She let us in, three for the price of two.

There wasn’t much to the children’s museum; it was just two big rooms, one filled with displays and interactive exhibitions about energy and transportation.  The other room was a lot more fun, with a puppet theater that Sam snuck into and a children’s library where, with much determination, I found a copy of Gulliver’s Travels to continue our inside jokes of the short Peruvian we encountered on our salt flat/desert tour

Our admission fee into the children’s museum included a guided tour of the nearby gardens, sectioned off into four areas to represent the four environmental regions of Bolivia:  the antiplano, the oriente, the chaco and the valleys.  The young lady took us around the gardens in hopes that perhaps we’d learn something about her country, but we were too concerned with poses for stupid photos, including one of me getting romantic with a wooden llama.

We had a cocktail back at the outdoor Cafe Gourmet Mirador until it started raining — the waitress led us away from the nearby arches to the nearby treehouse in the playground for shelter.  It was there that we met Rich from the U.K. who ultimately joined up with us for dinner that night at a restaurant with live Bolivian music.  The band was a lot more cheery than “The Moody Jacksons” we saw perform earlier that day — almost too cheery when I secret told them the lie that it was Sam’s birthday. 

“No wonder why they kept pointing at me and smiling,” Sam said.  The band played a traditional diddy that integrated Sam’s name in honor of her birthday — two months before the actual day.


WE WENT BACK TO OUR REGULAR HANGOUT, the Joyride Cafe, for coffee and cocktails yet again, this time sitting with a market research guy who interviewed us on the service of the Dutch cafe.  With our limited Spanish, we gave them a lot of comments using the words “muy bien” and “tranquilo.”

We camped out in the backyard patio with the outdoor heaters until we were too exhausted to carry on and went to our respective hostels.  After a dayful of dinosaurs, playgrounds and puppet theaters, even big kids get tired.






Next entry: Another Day in The Trinidad Show

Previous entry: Down to Warmth




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Comments for “Kids in the Park”

  • first!

    Posted by Alyson  on  01/25  at  05:16 PM


  • main pic = pee wee’s big adventure

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/25  at  05:19 PM


  • MARKYT: tell em large marge sent ya!

    TEQUILA! (do the lovely pee-wee dance on my tippy toes).

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/25  at  05:29 PM


  • My first thought at the sight of the dinosaur was of the late ‘80s product-placement classic “The Wizard” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098663/).

    I have to say, of all of the movie-length commercials for Nintendo, this one had the most “je ne sais quoi.”

    Anyway, in the movie, the autistic video game “wizard” has some sort of abnormal fascination with these big dinosaurs… I’m pretty sure they are the same ones from Pee-Wee.  That must have been quite a little renaissance for that tourist trap to have two movies film there in the span of four years.  Anyway, I remember the scene being kind of sad for some reason.  It was probably because the Power Glove wasn’t in that part of the movie.

    If you do remember the movie fondly, here is a hilarious review of it, complete with video clips!  Heck, even if you have never seen it I bet this can elicit a laugh.  For anyone fond of ?80s pop-culture, the site linked to below can keep you occupied for hours!

    http://www.x-entertainment.com/articles/0795/

    Enjoy!

    Posted by Tony  on  01/25  at  06:29 PM


  • Me Grimlock ... you hu-mans funn-y ...arghh!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/25  at  06:38 PM


  • aww. i like those little finger puppets. they look so cute. you would think the girl who worked there would be playing with them also. those dinosaur trakcs are cool. nothing like seeing something that you heard about ever since you were a kid.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/25  at  07:10 PM


  • lol @ sim.

    that’s bullcrap about the earth tetonic plates moving and such. the paleonthologists just didn’t wanna scare everyone that there’s a new breed of dinosaurs called “spiderocus wallus fellus”...or more known as The One that Fell.
    Next thing they’re gonna tell you is that the earth is round. Hah..big fat liars!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/25  at  07:22 PM


  • the dinosaur tracks are amazing
    why are most of them on sloping surfaces??

    Posted by Neven  on  01/25  at  08:18 PM


  • pic: one of me getting romantic with a wooden llama.

    that ain’t romantic!....don’t you remember the site: http://www.ihumpthings.com/

    u could be the international contributor…hahahah…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/25  at  09:37 PM


  • gettin freaky w/ llamas, a bolivian version of c.h.i.p.s, and dinosaurs…im diggin bolivia.  holla for some llama digits!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/26  at  12:09 AM


  • hey erik, with all those travelling chicas around, I though you might put the moves on one of them…  NOT the wooden llamas (no matter how cute it is, or how hard-to-get it plays)!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/26  at  12:29 AM


  • hold up rik…only get the bakla llama digits for wheat….

    hahaha

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/26  at  02:43 AM


  • How you gonna play me? Hook a brotha’ up with some llama digits dawg!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/26  at  04:09 AM


  • I’ve just catching up on your BLOG.  Thanks for the postcard from Titicaca!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/26  at  01:01 PM


  • Come on, Simone.  Let’s talk about your big butt.  wink

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/26  at  02:43 PM


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This blog post is one of over 500 travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First)," originally hosted by BootsnAll.com. It chronicled a trip around the world from October 2003 to March 2005, which encompassed travel through thirty-seven countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was this blog that "started it all," where Erik evolved and honed his style of travel blogging — it starts to come into focus around the time he arrives in Africa.

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Another Day in The Trinidad Show

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