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Reverse sticker shock and the disappointment of Cal Orck’o

September 25, 2009

Coming from a touristy city in Chile to the constitutional capital of Bolivia is quite a shock to the wallet — in a good way! Yesterday I spent less than $20 and that was with a tooon of splurging!

Apparently they've decided t-rexes were red...time to repaint!

Apparently theyve decided t-rexes were red...time to repaint!

My hostel here in Sucre cost 35 Bolivianos for a bed in an six-bed dorm. That’s US$5. I got a hot chocolate at a nice cafe for breakfast for about $1. Then I treated myself to a nice, huge lunch at a cafe with wifi. I got a huge sandwich and salad, a Coke, and a gigantic (literally almost the size of my head!) dessert called a Chocolate Bomb, all for 45Bs (that’s with a generous tip) which is about $6. Dinner was the same, I got an appetizer and an entree and a beer for 40Bs, less than $6. No need to do the Traveler’s Diet here! Even going on the internet in two internet cafes as well, it amounted to less than a dollar for a couple hours.

Today I went to the much-anticipated Parque Cretarico, Cal Orck’o. Well…it wasn’t quite what I’d hoped. First you take this special Dino Truck there…interesting drive out of the city, where people are less modern and more like what you expect Bolivia to be. I even saw this weird sight of guys sitting out on the street with typewriters (yes, typewriters!) where it seems you can go have them type something for you…different. Anyways, you arrive to the park and they usher you in to watch this video which looks very 1988-like of a movie with dinosaurs. Then you walk around areas with a bunch of big statues of dinosaurs (many of which they were repainting while we were walking around) and explain the different kinds of dinosaurs to you (all in Spanish of course). Then you go to a museum where they have one recreation of a skeleton and some molds of footprints.

This is where the footprints are...and this is as close as you get.

This is where the footprints are...and this is as close as you get.

Then you’re free to go look at the footprints. Well…I thought you would actually get to get close to them. Instead, you are in this viewing area across the wa this y from giant wall which is supposedly covered with the most dinosaur footprints of anywhere in the world. For a couple Bolivianos you can look through the binocular things they have set up. But that’s it. So you can kind of see some footprints, but it’s really not that impressive. Not worth the almost $8 it ended up being ($2 for the bus there and back, $5 entrance for foreigners, and then another $1 just to bring in your camera). I wish now that I had found a way to get to the dinosaur park in Argentina with real fossils and skeletons…everything the guide talked about, she said how the dinosaurs’ bones are found in Argentina and Patagonia. Oh well, next trip (I’m already planning it! Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Patagonia!)

Tonight I will be taking a night bus to La Paz. When I arrived to buy my ticket they had only semicama and “suite” cama, regular cama was sold out, so I splurged for the suite cama since it was only about $5 more than regular cama. Apparently we actually get blankets, and there’s TVs, bathrooms, etc. Surely it won’t be up to par with the Argentinian suite cama, but this one only cost less than $20 (vs. almost $90 in Argentina) so I can’t complain!


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