Taking On The Cholitas

The ticket says it all…

There are many ways to while away a Sunday afternoon in La Paz, Bolivia. You could visit one of its many museums, hang out in the markets or, alternatively, you could go to watch Cholitas [women who wear the traditional Bolivian dress] wrestle.

The Bolivian version of WWF has to be seen to be believed. A 50/50 mixture of Bolivianos and tourists fill a sports hall where “Eye Of The Tiger” blares out over a sound system and posters advertise the Cholita wrestlers who go by the names of Alicia Flores and Jennifer 2 Caras.

After a few warms up rounds where the men take their place in the ring, wearing badly-fitting costumes ranging from a skeleton outfit to a crow mask, it is the turn of the Cholitas. They bound into the ring in their big skirts and shawls, pausing only to take off their distinctive round hats. And then the fight begins. While the wrestling is clearly staged, there is definitely the potential for competitors to get hurt as they throw one another to the  ground.
In each round the ´story line´ is usually the same. The referee gives the Cholita a tough time, before shaking hands and being pally with her opponent (normally a man). I love that the plot never varies. Often the Cholita ends up taking on them both – with surprising agility – much to the delight of the crowd, which cheers and boos, throwing popcorn and peanuts into the ring.
I`ve always thought it wouldn´t be wise to mess with a Cholita and this definitely confirms my views.
You wouldn`t want to mess with these ladies.
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