Back to the Markets

Today I was on my own so I decided to get up earlier and make it to breakfast.  Not much of a breakfast but at least there were eggs.  I had fruit and a hard boiled egg, and a hard bun.  All the buns they serve seem to be as hard as rocks or taste stale.  They look good but don’t taste that way. I brought my own tea but no lemon was to be had.

I went to the lobby to order a taxi as first I thought to go to the botanical gardens but unfortunately, they were closed.  I decided to go to the the fruit and vegetable market near the San Francisco Cathedral and then back to the Witches Market.

The taxi dropped me off near the end so I had to walk back to the beginning of the street. I found standing against a well is probably the easiest way to take photos.  While I was standing on one street an elderly gentleman came up and started talking about cameras and taking photos.  He was very nice.  We chatted a few moments in Spanish and then he walked down the street.

Flower vender
Selling fruit and vegetables.
Vender selling grains, garlic, dried peppers.
Vendor and her child
Selling orange juice.
Selling orange juice. Not sure why they save the pe
Taking a tiny siesta.

Thank goodness for the zoom lens! Just a few things I have gleaned from my guides about the indigenous women.  Those clothes that they wear identify which part of Bolivia they come from.  Those with the bowler hats come from La Paz.  If their skirts are shorter, they come from other areas such as Uyuni in the desert.  The women as you may have noticed are mostly over weight.  That is a cultural thing.  If the women are skinny – it is said that the family doesn’t have enough money to feed them. They also wear those heavy wool and many-layered clothes no matter the weather which of course, makes them look heavier.

I saw a neat little restaurant and decided to stop for a bit of lunch.  I was seated next to the window – the perfect place to take more photos.  The waitress brought my lunch of quinoa balls – little fried balls with a Chinese sweet sauce. To digress –  Quinoa is a major crop here as well as potatoes.  I saw many fields of both growing in and around Uyuni.  The diet of most of the people consists of several varieties of potatoes, white rice ( in fact, my guide couldn’t believe there was such a thing as brown rice)  and quinoa. They eat mostly meat, llama, beef, pork, and chicken when they can get it. The quinoa is now mostly exported and is more expensive for the local people to buy.  Back to my story – It was fun just sitting there in the restaurant watching the people go by.


I finished up my lunch and stepped outside and a man was selling fossils. Shawn, my son is always interested in them. So I was thinking to buy one but I thought his prices were too high so I said, “no, gracias”.  He was very and followed me for a while.  I wanted to get over to the Witches Market where there are a lot of handicrafts.  I asked several people which way to go but no one seemed to know what the Witches Market was or where it was. The last person seemed to understand what I wanted and gave me good directions and I ended up on the right street.  As I was walking along there was that same man trying to sell me those fossils.  I decided I had had enough and signaled for a taxi, jumped in and  was glad to be  back at the hotel in no time.

After a bit of a rest, I went out to find the Thai restaurant that my guide told me about. She had given me the name of the street. I found the street – that was the easy part, but couldn’t find the restaurant.  I asked several people but they either didn’t know the name or they pointed me in the wrong direction.  The street was all uphill and I was getting tired.  The altitude was having its affect and I had been having sciatica pain for the last six weeks and my leg was killing me. I went back to my hotel room and found the correct street and address on my computer.  Then I went to take a taxi and the driver laughed because he said the restaurant was around the corner within walking distance. He pointed me in the correct direction and I was there in 10 minutes, knocked on the door and they said they didn’t open until 6:45pm.  I went back to the hotel and spent time on my blog and at 7pm started out again.  I arrived and was the only one there.  Lots of interesting food.  I had some kind of vegetable/rice/ sauce dish and a coconut blizzard cocktail(which was the best part of the meal).  The vegetable dish was more like a soup with vegetables hardly cooked. The rice was separate and difficult to add to the dish since the food was up to the top.  I managed to eat some of it and then waited about a half an hour for my check until I had to ask another waiter to bring it.  I love the tipping as it is only 10% at restaurants. I had two photos – one the waiter took of me and one of my drink but for some reason can not find them.  So I will publish this saga and on to day 3 and my trip to Copacabana and Lake Titicaca.


3 thoughts

  1. Before I saw your comment about the women, I was noticing how heavy they all seem to be. That their culture looks at that as a way of determining wealth is sad. What is the life span of the women and what is medical care like there? How far do the people go in their education? Interesting country. Looking forward to the next installment!


  2. I, like Lisa, was wondering about the women’s stature and the multi-colored clothes. Where did the habit of wearing the bowler hats come from? and do they ever wear slacks? Very interesting.
    How is the leg doing? Baby went home to Jenie’s New Year’s Eve. He is doing ok. Do they celebrate New Years there? Be careful. Send our love. Judy


  3. Hi, Judy and Lisa – Here are the answers to your questions from my guide Paula: The women are heavy and short of stature due to their lack of physical exercise and poor diet. Life expectancy – Women live to be 70 years and men live to be 67 years.
    If you are poor, the medical care is non-existent. if you have money, you can get care. That is one of the reasons the poor indigenous people are into shamans and healers and alternative medicines.
    Education – People usually go as far as secondary school even though they can get a free Bachelor’s degree. Because the quality of education is so poor and the lack of jobs when you graduate are unavailable, most young people opt to get any kind of work after secondary school.
    Bowler hats – bowler hats became popular during the colonial times when a lot of of English lived in Bolivia. The Indigenous people copied the bowler hat rom the English women. It was practical for them. They wear a type of knitted legging under their skirts – that is as close to pants that they get. Thanks for your questions. I am just relating what my guide told me so didn’t really research any of it.


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