Loogeys in Potosi


This blog entry about the events of Wednesday, January 21, 2004 was originally posted on January 22, 2004.

DAY 95:  In the late summer of 2003, Bolivians just about had it with their president.  In protest of their leader, they went on strikes, set up road blocks in the countryside and protested, sometimes violently in the city streets — only to be dealt with the National Police. 

Since the changing of presidents in October 2003, peace came back to the country (allowing tourists like me to get in) and without the protests, the National Police put down their “brass” of arms and picked up another type of “brass” — tubas, trumpets and trombones — for the National Police Musical Band.

The musical cops set up a free concert as I walked through the Plaza 10 de Noviembre on an overcast day.  The band of about twenty-five officers in green uniform played forceful marching band pieces together.  I thought it was funny when after their big finale, I heard the corny two-toned honks of a bicycle horn coming from an ice cream cart vendor.

IT WAS ABOUT NOON when I went out to explore the city — which wasn’t good since most of the museums and churches were closed for their mid-day siesta period.  Instead, I wandered beyond the crowded city streets and onto the quieter ones.  I decided to investigate the big modern observation tower atop one of the big hills nearby that I figured was too new since it wasn’t in my book.  I walked down the hilly streets, through the poorer sections of town, along the train tracks and up the big hill to the tower

I discovered that the structure wasn’t yet completed; the final touches of moulding and door handles weren’t in place yet.  Later I learned that the tower was built in hopes that a company would install a restaurant on top.  At the time of this writing there were no takers, so the tower just sort of sat there. 

I arrived at the base and met some guy working on the elevator. 

“[Is this open?]” I asked.

“[You want to climb up?]” said the construction worker.


“[You pay me?]”

“[How much?]”

“[One boliviano.]”

I paid him and climbed up the stairs.  I knew that I had been scammed because I heard the guy laughing with some nearby woman about me actually paying him money.  No matter, the view at the top deck was impressive as I could see the whole city, the countryside behind on one side, the Cerro Rico on the other.

Being at one of the highest points in the highest city in the world, I thought to myself, “Gee, I could really hock a loogey from way up here.”  I expectorated like I was about to say something in German and spat over the side of the deck.  I watched my wad of saliva disintegrate in the wind as gravity took it down — it was definitely worth the one boliviano.

LONELY PLANET CALLED THE CASA REAL DE LA MONEDA, the Royal Mint, “Potosi’s star attraction and perhaps Bolivia’s best museum.”  After siesta period, I went to see this star attraction the only way possible:  on a two-hour guided tour.  The tour was conducted entirely in Spanish for about 30 or so people, many of which were native in Spanish anyway.  Regardless of the language barrier, I felt the tour was a bit boring as the woman led us to Bolivian’s first locomotive, the religious art gallery, the minting room and the room of balances.

Things started picking up when we toured the modern art gallery of the works of Cecilio Guzman de Rojas and the old rolling mills, powered by two mules going around in circles to move the main cog, which were later replaced by electric machines imported from Bridgeton, New Jersey, U.S.A.  We also toured the archaeological wing, with its ancient artifacts, ceramics and dead baby mummies found inside a crypt under San Bernardo church. 

THE MAIN CATHEDRAL finally had its doors open for a look, and I paid for the tour which gave me photographic privileges.  An English-speaking guide explained that the cathedral was actually the second cathedral, built over the first adobe one — some of the relief sculptures from the original were integrated in the new structure. 

My guide showed me inside the church, the big impressive pipe organ and ultimately led me up to the bell tower for another spectacular view of the city (picture above).  Unfortunately, the way the roofs below were designed didn’t give me a good straight-down shot for another loogey.

THE SUN WENT DOWN and the temperature dropped, so I went out for a crema de pollo (cream of chicken soup) — the Bolivians are keen on cream soups.  As I walked around the streets at night, a drizzle came down from the sky. 

I hoped it wasn’t anyone from the top of the observation tower with the same idea that I had.

Next entry: Down to Warmth

Previous entry: Erik Trinidad and The Bolivian Temple of Doom

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Comments for “Loogeys in Potosi”

  • first

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/22  at  08:54 PM

  • second?! didn’t read anything yet wink

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/22  at  08:59 PM

  • ok i finally read it now grin  so you think the music cops can play the theme song to cops? 

    “bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do?, whatcha gonna do when they come for you?”  on a nice trumpet…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/22  at  09:04 PM

  • Read it and I’m not a relative… does that make me really first?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/22  at  10:00 PM

  • Wow! This travel log brings back so many memories. I lived in Potosi in 1984 for 4 months and seeing all these wonderful pictures really bring back the good times I spent there.


    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/22  at  10:19 PM

  • Come to think of it, if you’re still in Potosi, take a picture of the black market area just down from this restaurant that was called the “Scaramush.” I had the chicken fried steak, although I don’t think it was chicken, could’a been rat for all I knew.

    Take some shots of the cathedral in the center square too.

    Very cool. Hope you don’t get any bichos.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/22  at  10:23 PM

  • DUAINE: first is first buddy…although erik makes me qa the pictures when i’m online when he posts….

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/22  at  10:34 PM

  • MARK TENNEY:  Hey there and welcome to The Fellowship of The Blog.  The food in the restaurants was okay, but as for the meat in the street stands…  I don’t know WHAT that was…  (still had it though.)  I’m in Sucre now, no more cold nights of Potosi for me!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/23  at  12:30 AM

  • I’ve really been off lately!

    Seeing those baby mummies in little outfits is really morbid. They look like props from the set of Chucky or something.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/23  at  01:38 AM

  • ERIK: Got the postcard. It’s awesome. I still laugh whenever I see “titty” and “caca”. Enjoying the blog, see you in Rio.
    MARKYT: I will beat 599.3, btw not to many Q&A haha.
    ALL: have a great weekend

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/23  at  01:57 AM

  • Those baby mummies are so sad :(  The one on the right looks like a doll or something.  These mummies are much less scary than that face from the other day smile

    Posted by Liz  on  01/23  at  03:14 AM

  • Erik,  Yeah as a matter of fact I was with Navid in Mendoza.  Flew into Buenos Aires where he met me, then we traveled up through Puerto Iguazu,  over to Cordoba, Mendoza, Concon Chile, then finally Santiago, where I left him.  Loved Argentina,  the mountains (Aconcaqua) awesome!!!  Went paragliding in Mendoza and it was unbelievable!!  Wasn’t real crazy about Chile but did’nt have alot of time there.  Unlike you, some of us have to get back to the real world and WORK, (just a little jealous, that’s all.  LOL)  Navid was in Bariloche headed to El Calafate when I talked to him last.  So between you and Navid, why should I leave the comfort of my house when I can travel vicarously across South America through you two.  Thanks a bunch. 


    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/23  at  03:36 AM

  • More mines!
    More action!
    More adventure!
    More “Indiana Erik!”

    The plot of this one is like a “Leave it to Beaver” episode where the Beave tries to hide his loogie making from dad and everyone learns a lesson in the end.  Come to think of it, wasn’t every LitB about the Beave hiding something from the family and then learning something at the end?

    To summarize, Erik, you are a white kid from the ‘50s who was taught a valuable lesson on the importance of not trying to hide anything from Wally. I don’t, however, recall any episode with mummy babies… maybe in the last season, right after the one about saving to buy the BB gun… I missed that one, so it’s possible it was about mummy babies.

    Now it’s 2:00 and I’m off to bed…

    [end]drunken rant[/end]

    Posted by Tony  on  01/23  at  06:04 AM

  • I think LitB jumped the shark with that bb thing. The mummy episode was later, but who was watching it once Ted McGinley joined the cast as the orphan cousin.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/23  at  09:02 PM

  • Another JTShark fan.. cool..

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/23  at  09:29 PM

  • ALL:  Hey, I’m in a NCHUZ (no camera hook up zone)...  will return with pictures when I can!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/23  at  10:22 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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Next entry:
Down to Warmth

Previous entry:
Erik Trinidad and The Bolivian Temple of Doom


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