Tarabuco Market, Bolivia

A couple of hours drive from Sucre in Bolivia - along a a bumpy, mountainous road - brings you to the town of Tarabuco. It is known as the home of the Yampara culture and on Sundays there is a wonderful open-air market to which many indigenous people come out to buy and sell and shoo away the hordes of tourists who unwelcomingly take their photos from around corners with zoom-lenses, like leeching paparazzi.

Most people arrive by a minibus organised by their hostal. I believe there is public bus which also services the area but as I was still feeling tremendously weak and sensitive on this day I opted for the 'tour.'

Upon arrival I walked through the town square to be greeted by the above statue - an indigenous person standing over a Spanish soldier after having ripped out his heart. Hmm... do you think there are some ill-feelings towards the Spanish colonialists? Note the blood dripping from the victor's hands and mouth!

It seems like most Bolivians have indigenous roots. And one thing is definite, they don't like having their picture taken. Only once was I permitted to take someone's photo and that was only after buying some fruit from them. Every other time I had to pay one or two pesos for the privilege - around 20 cents.

I saw some tourists disrespectfully point their camera at an unwilling local who, upon seeing them, would then pick-up a rock and bring their arm back, ready to throw it at them should they persist.

The first woman of whom I took photos (the orange seller at the top of the post) was the one who informed me about the exchange of money for photos - she only spoke the native language of Quechua but she kindly educated me by way of an extended hand... the universal language.

I wasn't expecting the price-tag and hence wasn't prepared with adequate change. I gave her the only 0.50 peso coin that I had and apologised. Though she quickly approached me and started reaching into my pockets and hanging on to them as I tried to walk away. I did finally manage to get away but had a lot of orange-residue on my clothes as a consequence of prying hands.

[Below left] It was great to see all the indigenous people keeping their culture with their dress and customs. The traditional Yampara costumes not only preserve their identity but also indicate their location of origin from within the area. However I found it a little out-of-place to see many of the elderly people communicating via cell phone - yelling of course, to make sure their voices traveled the great distance to the recipient.

[Above right] Heavy loads - like groceries, merchandise and babies - were generally tried around their back within a blanket.

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