Sunny Santa Cruz

Trip Start Dec 18, 2009
Trip End Sep 01, 2010

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Where I stayed
Hostel Ambar

Flag of Bolivia  , Santa Cruz,
Wednesday, January 27, 2010

We landed in Santa Cruz after an hours flight with AeroSur. We were very impressed with them! They even left on time!

Santa Cruz was so hot, we could feel it from the minute we landed despite the rain. We caught a shuttle bus into the centre of Santa Cruz where we found a cheap hotel along with a group of young Belgiuns. Our room was cheap and we were happy to get a shower and some clean clothes after about 35 hours in the same threads.

Out and about in Santa Cruz we instantly preferred it to La Paz. There is much more space so it doesn´t feel so dirty and overcrowded. You can tell that Santa Cruz is much more affluent than any other places we have visited or passed through. There are a lot of new buildings and big expensive cars and houses. There are hundreds of little clothes stores around, selling decent clothes... unlike those we came across in La Paz and Rurrenabaque (not Basildon market-esque)

After one night in our room we grew to hate our neighbours who stayed up all night partying. After the second night we moved to a much nicer, quieter room with fan and private bathroom. The hostel was fine, apart from the fact you had to pay to use the kitchen, towels, hot water, and to boil the kettle.

We managed to spend almost 600Bs in a supermarket on food, beer and toiletries. 600Bs is about GBP60. The best bit was our funky new cooler bag which we proceeded to leave in the back of the cab which was pretty devastating, as it cost us about GBP15. So we went on a mission to find another one to keep our beers cool and ended up with a massive polestyrene cooler box... we are still a little bitter about that as it seemed to be the only cooler bag in the whole of Santa Cruz.

On Friday we tried to book the Death Train out of Santa Cruz to Quijarro and over to Corumba in Brazil. The tickets were all sold out until Monday which set us back a further 3 days. We later discovered that we had been lucky when we went out for a stroll on Friday night and found the`Pacena Carnaval´ in full swing. Pacena is Bolivia´s most popular beer, and seems to sponsor everything. There were loads of dancing schools performing in the streets with bright, colourful costumes and the floats were playing load music. The ´Pacena Girls´ were also there, much to Rory´s delight. Pacena girls are Bolivia´s Playmates - outrageously beautiful woman who wear Pacena clothes and look beautiful and get paid for it. Back in our rooms we watched the Carnaval on TV again, it was obviously a big thing in Santa Cruz.

We did lots of shopping in Santa Cruz, much to Rory´s disappointment.

On our last full day in the city we decided to go the waterpark and catch some rays. When we arrived there we realised there was MORE Pacena Carnaval action, with Pacena girls, music and free T-shirts. We spent a little too long on the lazy river and realised we were burnt a little too late. We spent that evening with sunstroke, feeling sorry for ourselves... at least now Rory is red instead of white :)

When we tried to leave the hostel on Monday morning we were asked to pay for a second time. A huge arguement ensued and the landlord chucked us out which meant we would have to lug our 2 backpacks, 2 daypacks and our cool cooler box around all day. But at least we didn´t have to pay twice!
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