Squeezing the most out of life | An Aussie and a Colombian living life with a wandering spirit. Eight years together & over 60 countries up our sleeves, we're sharing the love |

Carnaval craziness in Sorata

Sorata is the kind of place you escape to for a while. A local bus takes you out of the crazy sink hole of La Paz, winding above the slums of the Capital city, passing the expansive blue of Lake Titicaca to a world of vibrant green. The last leg of the four hour journey delivers you along a nauseatingly windy road to a patchwork of hilly farmland, tropical vegetaion and rural peace.

The main square is simply that. A labrynth of stepped colonial streets perched around a chirpy plaza of restaurants, general shops and run down grand hotels. Arriving during Carnaval, Sorata is bursting at the seams. People donning traditional costumes of shiny gold and white, children armed with water pistols, spray foam and vibrant animal costumes. A riot of colour and action.

I found an old room with a balcony above the square as the wet season fell heavily on the fiesta. No amount of rain could have dampened the festive spirit. Processions of very loud steel drums, trumpets and Andean pipes adding to the melee. The throwing of firecrackers accelerating in direct proportion to the consumption of beer. Teenagers taunting each other with water bombs alongside wobbly old people dancing in circles. Crying out encouragement to ´just keep dancing´!

Unlike La Paz, and safe on my voyeuristic balcony, I managed to avoid the spray of Carnaval gaiety. Unsure at every stage just what they where celebrating. Apparently there is a religious origin to Carnaval, but from my foreign perspective I saw no signs of that. Carnaval seems to be the perfect excuse to let loose on the streets, dressup like a clown if you want to, get annihilated on beer and dance until sun rise.

The streets are quieter today, party mess colouring the soggy streets. A heavy mist reaching the tops of blinking street lights and the feeling that Sorata has danced with the devil for one more year.

After seeing a week of Carnaval festivities in four different Bolivian cities, starting a week ago in Sucre, it´s good to be somewhere smaller now, more natural and less overwhelming. My only dissappointment being unable to record it visually. In La Paz, some animal masked children sprayed my face with foam and relieved me of my camera. Distracting me with a professional stealth, that in hindsight, is impressive.
Crafty little bastards!

So these images have been kindly donated from unknowing contributors and most closely resemble the Carnaval impressions I experienced. I can now suggest some equipment to get your own back if you want to mingle in the madness. You´ll need a full body raincoat, a helmet or colourful wig, a foam protecting facemask or goggles, a large water pistol and some serious spray foam. Maybe even pack some ear plugs because the super loud steel drums get annoying really fast. Whatever you do leave your valuables at home.

Getting in to Carnaval solo is a little challenging, it would be better with buddies or befriending some locals. But be prepared for a huge drinking fest. One thing that can be said about Carnavale is, that you will witness true Latino craziness in it´s rawest form!

Kris

Sorata is the kind of place you escape to for a while. A local bus takes you out of the crazy sink hole of La Paz, winding above the slums of the Capital city, passing the expansive blue of Lake Titicaca to a world of vibrant green. The last hour of the four hour journey delivers you along a nauseatingly windy road to a patchwork of hilly farmland, tropical vegetaion and rural peace.

The main square is simply that. A labrynth of stepped colomnial streets perched around a chirpy plaza or restaurants, general shops and run down grand hotels. Arriving during Carnaval, Sorata is bursting at the seams. People donning traditional costumes of shiny gold and white, children armed with water pistols, spray foam and vibrant animal costumes. A riot of colour and action.

I found an old room with a balcony above the square as the wet season fell heavily on the fiesta. No amount of rain

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