The last train home

Trip Start Nov 01, 2006
Trip End Oct 31, 2007

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Thursday, September 20, 2007

We´ve been kicking back in Santa Cruz in central Bolivia for the last few days while we wait for our train to the border with Brazil (about 500km further east).  We took a flight here on Monday evening, having decided that we didn´t actually need to find out what it feels like to travel for 20 odd hours over bumpy roads in a rattle trap bus (we´d just remind ourselves what it felt like to do a 10 hour trip and multiply by a factor of 2.32).

It´s been an interesting experience being in Santa Cruz these last days.  It´s about as far removed from the harsh climate and altitude of the Andean part of the country (what some think of as the real Bolivia) as you could imagine.  In the 50 minute flight we lost about 4000m in altitude (not in one go; that would have been scary in a plane) and gained about 20 degrees C in temperature.  Here the population is much more European looking and old women with coloured knapsacks have given way to businessmen in shirtsleeves sitting in pavement cafe bars at the end of the day

The diet is different, too.  Yucca (Cassava) is widely eaten here as is banana, especially fried.  Our heavy boots have gone to the bottom of the rucksacks to be replaced with the only slightly more fashionable ¨travelling sandals¨.  Having left my shorts in BA by mistake, I had to buy some more today: it´s reportedly 92 F...  We´ve not done a great deal (I´d already promised R ¨no more ruins¨, which meant those at Samaipata 100k west were out) since the sightseeing is minimal here, other than the impressive cathedral on the main square. 

We have however conducted a thorough survey of AC coffee shops and decided that we prefer the Fridolin chain to Alexander as it has more of the grand European tea-salon charm.  We also had lunch in the central market yesterday (pretty tasty, whatever it was) where we caught sight of Santa Cruz´s own immigrant population; the Mennonites of North America

(Says Wikipedia: ¨The Mennonites are a group of Christian Anabaptist denominations named after and influenced by the teachings and tradition of Menno Simons (1496-1561). As one of the historic peace churches, Mennonites are committed to nonviolence, nonviolent resistance/reconciliation, and pacifism.¨)

And there endeth the lesson. Amen. See you in Brazil... (T)
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