[Day 2] Carnaval de Oruro, Bolivia
Day 2 started out with a huge queue for the one bathroom to be shared among all 20 something in our room and the other rooms in the complex. So let’s just say it took awhile to finally head out of the apartment, about 3+ hours. We headed back towards the market and I had some more llama, I was a bit obsessed over the weekend with this dish. Llama is surprising soooo good - a bit tough and chewy but so much flavor. While we were eating, these two guys stopped and kept talking to me and kissing my head and hand. They were obviously really drunk, even at 11:30am, but they wouldn’t leave me along for more than 10 minutes. It was actually pretty hilarious but I just wanted to eat!
We parted ways with the rest of the group who paid for the package. We decided to just do some nice strolls around the streets looking at different vendors selling stuff like sunglasses, shoes, jewelry, etc. We took our time wandering the streets keeping an eye out for anything we would be interested in buying, smelling all the good food, drinking our mix drinks, and just taking in everything Carnaval had to offer. Of course it wouldn’t have been complete without more espuma wars against the local Bolivian kids. We all had our ponchos back on and multiple cans ready for battle.
We sprayed a ton of kids along the streets, somehow ended up in the area where all of the parade performers hung out at so it was cool seeing everyone relaxing and having a good time. But it also meant we took advantage to snap some pictures. We walked up towards the church where there was a huge open courtyard area with more food and goodies booth but also where we had our biggest espuma fight of the day. We were being surrounded by little kids. 5 against like 15 was not an easy task but I think we did pretty well for ourselves, sneaking up behind them, teaming up to get each other’s backs, etc. This area was also where all the different groups of dancers and bands came to perform after exiting the parade. So we got some pretty good seats to view the dancing and performances of the different groups. We then also made our way upwards to a higher viewpoint to see more of the city.
We continued on wandering the streets, trying random street food, taking pictures of more dancers, taking in the beautiful weather (didn’t rain as much as it was supposed to), until we finally ended back up at our seats, which was about 4+ hours after we left the house. Ugh, now comes more argument and me trying to negotiate with a guy in my subpar Spanish. So the seats we had yesterday were occupied even though I thought we promised us the same ones. Anyway, we went back and forth about why we didn’t get our original seats, he tried giving up higher up ones but you couldn’t see anything up there so we agreed on seats in the same row but more to the side. I guess that was the best we could do and I was still pretty satisfied with what we got based on how much we paid compared to everyone else we knew.
As the alcohol kept flowing, different food and snacks passing by us, Carnaval was becoming more fun and entertainment. We were laughing, clapping, chanting, and wooo-ing every group that came out. At one point the “alternative” group came one, aka the guys who didn’t take Carnaval very seriously and had just crazy hilarious inappropriate costumes. So what did the “Gringros” do? We got onto the parade line and danced with them of course! Groups after groups of them came out and once we were done dancing and running to the end with one group, we went back and joined the next. We were out there for probably 30 minutes or so, I can’t even tell but by the end I was pretty exhausted from all the dancing and running and just pure laughter.
At one point I had to really go pee the the closest Porta Potty was “private” and only for the people in that section. There was no way I was going to make it if I had to find another one. I turned to the guys working the section and they asked for a picture but I told them that if I could go to the bathroom I’d take a picture with them. I guess it works in your favor being a foreigner lol. They were very fond of the fact that I was Asian… and got unlimited bathroom use the rest of they day.
Until about 8:30pm, Alex, Lucy, and I had to head to the bus station for our bus back to Sucre at 9:30pm. We were having such a blast though! Making our way to the bus station was somehow such a trek. And yes, I had to get another llama meal to go for dinner… hehehe
It was such a fun experience at Carnaval and I’m so glad I got the chance to experience and also for much cheaper. Staying one night in Oruro is a much to really experience Carnaval since the later it got, the more fun it got. I’m really happy with not falling for the trap of buying the package and forking up waaaay more money than needed to experience Carnaval. Although I was find with the sleeping arrangement, I wish I would have done a bit of shopping around the city when I got there because these guys who stayed one night at our place, found a hotel for 100bs a night that included a bed, wifi, and private bathroom. That’s such a better deal than what we got. Paying 100bs for the seats we got was spot on exactly what I wanted. There was no way I was going to pay 500 - 800bs for seats since I would feel so obligated to stay there the entire day and make use of it and not really experience the town and everything surround the parade. The parade is the main attraction but not the only attraction. Additionally, the seats we got were at the main plaza so we got to see a ton of fireworks and the best dances. I wouldn’t have wanted to spend more than 2 days and 1 night at Carnaval though because it really does take a toll on you, especially if I had to sleep on the floor again.
So proud of me and my group for not losing anything or getting anything stolen! I was a bit paranoid to be honest so I guess I was extra careful with my things. But carnaval is known to be pickpocketter central.
I want to experience what Carnaval in Brazil is like! That’s on the bucket list for another time.