Rolling Fiestas

Vertical diptych of night fiesta scenes in Sorata, La Paz province, Bolivia. Photographs taken on a Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4L IS USM lens. Exposure Details, top: 1/6 seconds @ f4 ISO 800, bottom: 1/8 seconds @ f4 ISO 800.

The cars started to roll out from San Pedro late in the evening. Crowds of musicians and dancers fell out of their costumes in every direction. One by one they climbed aboard the tooting 4WDs and old Chevron pickups that sent dust floating across the valley. A few overloaded options rolled past before I flagged down a cattle truck. The driver motioned to a ladder welded high onto the side-tray. With drunken finesse I scaled it and dropped into a crowd of grinning teenagers. They were a high-school band heading back to Sorata. From their giggles and sway I sensed it wasn’t just the windy mountain ride throwing their footing out. I watched with a sense of nostalgia as the sixteen year-old boys flirted with the sixteen year-old girls. My face stung of sunburn in the dark and the cool air rushing through the truck chilled the sweat down my back.

That night the fiesta filled the main plaza of Sorata with endless morenadas and fireworks. The crowds drank till they fell, but the vibe was safe, encompassing, kids ran free and scenes never got ugly. I passed out I don’t know when and the next morning dragged myself onto a crammed minibus headed half way to Copacabana. By the side of a rutted highway checkpoint I ate fried trout and tried to work off my hangover by hailing down a bus headed the rest of my way. For three hours they passed me by each as crammed as the last. I didn’t mind, leaning into my pack I had a view of Lake Titicaca, fried fish and beautiful sunshine after a cold night. As they normally do in Latin America, the things you seek find you when you’ve just about stopped looking. An equally crammed coach pulled up at the checkpoint, but this time I could see gears clicking over in the driver’s mind. There was just enough space for my packs in the luggage compartment and he threw a cushion down for me on a ledge in the stair-entry. Pulling onto the highway Bolivia’s undulating highplain began to work its’ charms on me. Ancient pre-Incan terraces covered the hillsides and dry yellow grasses disappeared into a blue haze of glacial peaks and cumulus nimbus. I put my feet up on the dash and smiled, I was on my way to Copacabana.

Thanks for reading guys. More from the shores of Lake Titicaca coming soon.


3 thoughts on “Rolling Fiestas

  1. Pingback: Page not found « CAM COPE Photography Blog

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