This post follows on from here.
Even though it’s been a month since I left Sucre, I still think about it a lot. Originally, I was only going to spend a few days there but I ended up staying for two weeks.
Mike was only there for four days; he was heading to Argentina and went south to Potosi. I was really down about it and on his last night, drank half a bottle of cocktail mixer at the hostel. I hadn´t eaten anything that day so I was really drunk; the drunkest I have been in years. We went to a bar and I vomitted in the women´s toilets, then the men´s toilets before I was taken back to the hostel. I had a lot of trouble breathing – the next day I realised it must have been the combination of the alcohol and the thin air.
The next morning I contemplated returning to La Paz. My contacts were still held up in customs and I thought maybe I should go sort it out. But then Yvonne, a Swiss girl who I´d met in Argentina, arrived at the hostel so I decided to stay for a bit longer.
A few days later I signed up for Spanish lessons. Sucre is a popular place to learn Spanish and there are a lot of schools but an Australian guy, Alex, and an American girl, Ally, were taking lessons at one school closeby so I went with that one.
Every morning we woke up, had breakfast and walked to school together. Then we would walk back and go to the market for lunch. It was really nice; sort of like being back at school but without the unpleasant parts. Because the lesson were only four hours, we had the rest of the day free. Sucre is a beautiful city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our hostel was lovely as well; it was more like a nice house with a terrace.
The night following my second day of classes, we went out with a group of people from our hostel. The night got off to a memorable start when early in the evening, a Swedish guy and a guy from Sydney got high at the hostel on cough syrup and valium. It was amusing to watch the usually quiet and brooding Swede completely lose it – the highlight was when he emerged from one of the dorms wearing a Santa hat and poncho, lamenting the contact lens solution he had just drank.
Unsuccessfully trying to leave him behind, we walked to the bar. Once there, I got out my wallet to pay for something and dropped a condom on the ground by accident. Embarrassed, I bent down to pick it up and looked up to see if anyone was watching. For a second, I caught Alex’s gaze and I was pretty sure he had been watching.
Later on in the night, we were ordering drinks and one of the bartenders recognised me from the night I vomitted and asked me if I was alright. I explained to Alex how I’d gotten very drunk because I had been depressed about Mike leaving. Then I tried to get the high Swedish guy back to the hostel because he was in a really bad state and no one else seemed to be concerned.
Outside the bar, I managed to hold him up as we stood in the middle of the road. Inexplicably, he decided to do a cartwheel and kicked me in the head. Then he passed out on the sidewalk. I was tired so I sat on the front steps of the bar where I could watch him.
After a while Alex came out and found me sitting there. He told me that he had to get it off his chest that he liked me. When I didn´t respond, he asked if it wasn´t obvious that he liked me from the way he was always trying to hang out with me. It had been kind of obvious but I asked him if he was only saying this because he´d seen a condom fall out of my wallet.
He said no, and went on to explain that he felt that he should confess his feelings for me after hearing how I had never told Mike about my feelings for him. I was acutely uncomfortable and had a sinking feeling that things would now be weird between us. I said something vague about how I liked him but wasn´t sure in what way, which was the truth, and we got the Swedish guy into a taxi.
Things pretty much returned to normal the next day. It wasn´t like he pretended he didn´t like me because sometimes he would come out and say rather odd things, but it wasn’t too awkward between us. We had a similar sense of humour and had grown close after spending so much time together, but I still wasn´t sure how I felt about him.
I guess I liked him a lot more than I was willing to admit. One evening I bought some cocaine from a bar down the street and shared it with Alex and Ally. We hung up blankets around Ally´s bottom bunk and sat on her bed, talking and listening to music. At one point, she left and it was just Alex and I alone. He held my hand and I waited for him to do more but that was it.
I finished the week of Spanish lessons and paid the school. Alex asked me when I was planning on leaving and I said most likely the next day. He was visibly down about this and told me quite seriously that I should move to Brisbane when I went back to Australia. He also told me he was considering coming to La Paz with me, even though his original plan had been to take Spanish lessons in Sucre for a month. It was very strange and awkward. Whenever I really started to like him, it always seemed that he would say these sorts of things and put me off.
That night, Alex and I bought some more coke and we sat on his bed and did a few lines. I guess it´s strange that I did so much of it in Sucre – up to now, I’d mostly avoided it, even in places that were more party oriented.
Ally went to bed early that night so it was just the two of us. After a while, a girl came into the dorm so we moved into mine. There was a guy in there who was always on his lap top but the bunk below mine was free so we hung up some blankets and lay in there.
We talked for a few hours and were lying side by side. I waited for him to make a move but once again he didn’t. He was silent for a moment and even though I knew he was awake, I held his hand and asked if he was asleep. We started kissing which turned into sex. By now the other guy had turned off the lights and his lap top. We were quiet but hopefully he was asleep or wearing earplugs.
The next morning I woke up, checked out and bought my ticket to La Paz for that night. I returned to the hostel where Alex was looking for me. He told me he had assumed that I had already left without saying goodbye and was depressed I was leaving. He started talking about coming to La Paz with me again but I told him that it didn’t make sense when I was travelling a lot faster than him and that I had got the last seat on the bus anyway.
After lunch, we decided to look for a private room for the afternoon and walked to a nearby guesthouse. It was only $10 for a room but it was very nice and homely – not the right sort of place for our purposes. The room opened up to a courtyard and when we came out, there was a guy sitting there who must have heard everything. But the sex was good and at least we had some privacy.
It was hard to leave Sucre but it was the right time. I had fallen into a daily routine and grown too comfortable. Although I made an effort to speak to everyone in the hostel, I mostly kept to Ally and Alex and lately I’d felt self conscious that other people knew what we were getting up to.
I arrived in La Paz the next morning and went to customs at the airport to enquire about my contacts. I had to pay a $6 bribe to the customs officer but they finally released the package to me. I was relieved that I could finally continue north and that I was no longer tied down in Bolivia. But I also felt sad to be leaving Sucre behind. I’m still yet to find a place that is as special.