Monday, 12 November 2007

Santa Cruz (Bolivia)



The flight arrived on time and the only hitch was that the temperature shifted from about 15 Celcius to 35 Celcius so we were baking hot. We got on a bus (or an oven with 4 wheels) to the centre and found a reasonable hotel with air conditioning. It was 2:30pm and we decided to go to a ecological park supposedly 15 minutes away. All we had to do was get sandwiches next door and jump in a taxi. 40 minutes later we were still waiting for the friggin’ sandwiches and very close to going ‘postal’. We had to cancel the order just to get moving as the park shut at 6pm. After about 30 minutes in the taxi we saw a sign indicating another 18kms and the taxi driver wasn’t even sure where we were going, so we had to get him to return to the hotel as at this stage we would only have had an hour in the park. We retreated to the hotel and cranked the air-con on full blast and decided to call it a day.

Second time around didn’t start off too smoothly either. We asked the taxi driver to stop at the bus terminal on the way to the park so we could reserve our tickets for the next destination, Asunscion, Paraguay, where we would visit Claudia’s brother. Unlike anywhere else we’ve been travelling, where the price on the board is the price you pay, here, you are bombarded with people from different companies aggressively trying to get you to onto their bus and the price often drops as the sales pitch progresses. We needed something comfortable as this was going to be a 24 hour marathon trip and after 45 minutes of filtering thru the hard sell merchants, we booked our tickets for 8pm that evening.

We had the rest of the day to spend in the park which was actually really good. It has the largest butterfly enclosure in the world. There are numerous activities like hiking, biking, kayaking and horse riding, but rather than risk burning precious calories, I voted for veggin’ by the pool drinking beer and when the votes were counted, thankfully I won. After five hours of hard core veggin’ we got the taxi back to bus terminal and boarded the bus to Paraguay.

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