Bought one of these beautiful little packages of cup-and-five-dice, just on the edge of the Salar de Uyuni, as part of my three-day tour of the area. Made entirely out of salt, which is then fired in an oven, and glazed and painted. The dice were used for many a game of Yahtzee over the course of the salt flats tour.
Since there's absolutely nothing to do in Sucre, we decided to get out of here today, after only one day here. On the bus to Potosí today, there was a guy selling little stapled-together books to his fellow passengers. Chris and I weren't interested in any of his offerings; but I was in a position, smack-bang in the middle of the bus, where I ended up passing all the sold books down the bus, and passing all the money and change up and down, between salesman and buyers. As a reward for my services, the guy gave me a free little comic book of crude, raunchy Bolivian jokes. Bit more Spanish bedtime reading.
While in Taquile this morning, I went shopping in the handicraft centre there, and picked myself up some beautiful local hats. Taquile is very famous for its woollen hats, which are hand-knitted exclusively by the men of the island, and which are of excellent design and quality. I liked them so much, I decided to buy three! The other two will have to become presents for some people. Quite stylish, and quite protective when it comes to that harsh altiplano sunlight.
Cusco was cold when I got here (almost 8 weeks ago!), and it's been getting progressively colder ever since; but everyone warns me that my next destinations, Puno and La Paz, are even colder. In preparation for this, I visited El Molino this afternoon, and bought myself a new jacket. Warm, waterproof, and reasonably stylish: and all for just s/40!
I learned a lot of Spanish during my time at Amigos, but I still have a huge thirst to learn more. And what better way to continue my learning, than to start reading some Spanish books? So, today I bought my five primeros libros en Español (lit: "first books in Spanish"). At s/10 for the five of them, total bargain. And they should certainly keep me busy for at least the next few weeks, whenever I have spare time to kill on my trip.
I saw a stall full of ludo sets at the Pisac markets this morning; and being the avid ludo fan that I am, I couldn't resist purchasing one. It's a beautifully designed little wooden set, with a decorated board and animal-sculpted pieces. Unfortunately, one of the llama heads has already snapped off — but a bit of superglue should be able to fix that. The board has already been christened with two games — of myself against Jesus — and so far the score is 1-all.
Just a few nice, cheap, traditional bits of clothing, to keep me warm on my upcoming Salkantay hike. As with all the local clothes here, they're hand-made, stitched with Cusqueña patterned designs, and (ostensibly) made from Alpaca. I could have got a local beanie as well, but I figured that would be just too touristy.
While I was in Kaplan's — the place where I got my Army raincoat — I also got myself a pair of serious boots. These fellas are Carhartt, a brand that specialises in workwear and military-use gear. I think they were pretty much the best pair of boots in the shop: thick-soled, hard-skinned, and waterproof; and yet reasonably flexible and comfortable as well. Orthotics fit in them just fine.
Went down to Market St in SF today, and at the cheaper end, I found an awesome army-surplus-slash-cheap-outdoor-gear store called Kaplan's. Got myself a really big, quite ugly, and definitely waterproof poncho, which can cover me and my massive backpack with its vomit-coloured Army-camo protection. For $10, I'm very happy with my purchase, which should keep me dry even in the wettest and most remote corners of South America.
San Cristóbal is one of the cheaper places to stay in Mexico, and I was long overdue for some shmontse and shmutter shopping in a Mexican market. So this morning, I headed on down to one of the city's bigger mercados, and found some nice stuff for my sisters back home. I got a pair of dolls; a pair of wooden flutes; a small herd of stuffed animals; and two beautiful little Mayan blouses. Cute stuff, don't you think?