If it hadn’t been for the suicide drivers and the bamboo scaffolding I would have been mistaken for thinking I was back in England. From the moment we arrived at 3am on Sunday morning to our departure 5 days later we never got a glimpse of blue sky, nor did we get to use the great outdoor pool at Jodanga hostel where we were staying.
Santa Cruz is the biggest city in Bolivia, which we in turn hoped would provide us with the best Internet connectivity. We had read and heard all sorts of rumors regarding both WiFi and cellular Internet connectivity and how bad it was supposed to be in Bolivia. This could have been a show-stopper for us, making our departure as fast as our arrival – we hoped not as we now had the chance to live on the cheap over what we had been paying in Brazil and other South American countries. Our first stop, Jodanga hostel, turned out to have one of the fastest Internet connections we had experienced so far, with multiple people on Skype calls and plenty of open laptops! As a backup we usually purchase a local cellular SIM card for our iPhone which in Bolivia was a little more difficult than elsewhere but no big deal. We chose Entel over the greatly advertised Tigo and up to now we’ve been able to use 3G as fast as WiFi connectivity. So far, so good!
Other than daily walks around the center of the city we had a very quiet time, mostly dictated by the ever persistent rain showers. Our highlight was being able to spend an evening at an Irish bar overlooking the central Plaza, known as 24 de Septiembre in honor of the anniversary of the uprising that led to Santa Cruz’s independence from Spain. From the balcony of the bar, looking slightly out of place was a huge pink stretch limo and a Mini lookalike driving by below us. I guess I have the wrong impression of Bolivia – being the poorest country in South America doesn’t mean everyone drives around in scrap cars throwing trash from the windows.
It would have been great to see Santa Cruz in sunshine, even for half a day as the city looked very inviting with plenty of places to eat, drink and wander around. Jodanga hostel would also have been far nicer with good weather, especially being able to lounge around their pool with an ice cold beer.
Our departure was upon us super fast even with all the lazing around. We had booked cheapo $46 flights with BoA to Tarija, another step closer to the start of our salt flats tour from Tupiza to Uyuni. Bolivia is certainly looking like the cost saving country its renowned for, even with the price of the taxi to the international airport being a quarter of our flight cost.
Andrea and I are both very excited to see much more of this beautiful country, and hope it continues to impress us.
Next stop Tarija, and wine country…
June 22nd – June 27th 2013