My first time visiting South America led me into Bolivia. I actually had no idea what to expect as my original intention was to simply visit Chile. Bolivia was quite an eye opener as I travelled from Chile, a country with a standard of living that was very comparable to Canada, into an economic-struggling country.
That said, it was definitely one of the most beautiful places I have had the opportunity to visit. Also where one of the most outrageous experiences I’ve had took place as well. I happened to be visiting sometime between late February and early March, which happened to be Carnaval season. Despite seeing kids running through the streets of Potosi spraying one another with water guns and in some instances, almost getting drenched by a boy who tried to dump an entire bucket of water on us — we had no idea what we were getting into when we walked into Sucre.
After getting off the bus, we walked towards the street that our hotel was on. There was a lot of racket and music — which we figured was simply festivities — but no sooner when we turned the corner, we were greeted by sidewalks filled with parade spectators.
Let’s just put it this way. I could literally see everyone’s eyes immediately light up.
What better thing to do than pummel a bunch of gringos with water balloons? Perfect. Opportunity.
I saw a wave of water balloons launch into the air towards us, and I just ran down the street for sanctuary.
These festivals (and excuses for city-wide water fights) would take place practically all day. It was the most hilarious and yet also stressful event to experience. Try going down the street to buy some food — you end up getting chased down by kids and teenagers — eager to showcase their marksmanship skills … and trust me, they got skillz.
Eventually a group of fellow travellers banded together to form Team Gringos to see if we could fight back a little. There were a few successes … but everyone ended up walking back drenched and cold. It was still an awesome time.