Another world...

Trip Start Sep 20, 2007
Trip End Dec 20, 2007

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Friday, October 26, 2007

Yesterday when I was having a pedicure (and boy did i need it!) I commented to the seņorita that Santa cruz was very different to the rest of Bolivia. She looked at me with an incredulous look and said, "oh my god, its another world"! In the other cities, she went on to say, people live like they are in villages. And I gotta say she summed it up pretty well! Santa Cruz is rich, clean and modern, the people are chic, smartly dressed, and "do" lunch, the roads are paved and the countryside is fertile. It is like comparing thailand with cambodia, they just feel completely different. Its also hot here, over 30 degrees, and at night it is still warm which makes a really nice change!

This disparity is also causing lots of problems at the monet, as essentially the government wants Santa cruz to share its wealth with the rest of the country, and Santa Cruz unsuprisingly doesnt want to. So last week the army clashed with protesters at the airport, a couple of nights ago students fought the police at the university, and the night before I arrived there was a big protest in the main square, including burning trees! Good bit of civil unrest :o) dont worry I stayed well away!

Anyway, back to the point. the bus here was great, brand new and shiny, lot of legroom and comfy seats :o) I was sitting next to a nice guy who actually spoke english! we chatted and then when they put a film on i went to sleep :o) we arrived around 7am and the bolivian guy (who was called Vladimir adn spoke with an accent like arnold schwarzneger) was really sweet and not only stayed on the bus for longer than normal to help me, but paid for my taxi, came with me to the hotel and made sure i was ok before leaving. Bless. He also gave me his business card but i think iv lost it, oops.

the hotel was awesome! theres a big courtyard with chairs adn hammocks, and when i was sitting there planning my day i got bitten on the foot by a toucan! have to say i jumped a mile, it being rather unexpected, but it was cool! they have 2 toucans that live there, unfortunately with clipped wings so they cant fly (and escape) but they are really cute and pretty friendly, and they're obviously well looked after. Close up they are amazing birds, and they have the brightest blue eyes i have ever seen :o) the rooms were nice too, and i was sharing with two other girls from sweden who were sweet.

Spent the day sorting my life out! Phoned home (hi mummy!), posted some more postcards, bought new batteries, shampoo and shower gel, exciting stuff! Also had the pedicure, my feet have never been so neat or soft :o)  she was really good, and buffed and polished until they were, if not pristine, at least improved. And it only cost 25b's, less than 2 pounds! I spent some time lazing in a hammock too, and chatting to the other people in the hostel. they were all really cool - a dutch guy Mick who has ben at Ambue Ari for a couple of months, and a canadian patrick who worked in La Paz for 6 months.

Actually, I now have a dilemna, maybe we could have a vote... answers by email. I have 7 weeks left here and Im spending at least the next 2 at Parque Ambue Ari volunteering, they rescue caged animals and rehabilitate them. If I stay 4 weeks I can work directly with the cats (jaguars, pumas, ocelots), swimming with them, taking them for walks in the jungle, having full responsibility. If I only stay 2 weeks then i can only work with the "house animals", monkeys and birds etc that live pretty much with the volunteers. So im really tempted to stay 4 weeks cos it would be an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience. But... If I stay 4 weeks I only have 3 weeks to explore the whole of Argentina, which is never going to happen. So i would have to skip north and central argentina (wine region, chocolate, estancias...) and just do Patagonia. I dont know what to do!!! So much to do, so little time :oS

Anyway i have to go as im at the bus station and its nearly time to leave. As i am going to the park which has no electricity, never mind internet, I wont be in touch for a while! So don't worry about me when i dont write :o)

Hope you are all well, send me your news and take care :o)

Miss you all lots and lots. Much love xxxxx
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