Sweating In Santa Cruz

Trip Start Aug 12, 2010
Trip End Sep 23, 2011

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hi all,

Santa Cruz was the first place in Bolivia that we have actually liked and is very different from the rest of Bolivia. Its green, tropical and hot, unlike the dusty, dirty, dry and disgusting rest of Bolivia. Probably because it prides itself in being more Brazilian than Bolivian (good times ahead then!). Thanks to the warm and tropical climate this is the first time we have felt heat in two months.....no more 5 layers of clothing!! Santa Cruz is the largest city in Bolivia and means the 'Holy Cross of the Hills'. Again, like Sucre, this was just a stopover before we got the Oriental Express Train to the Brazilian border.

The Oriental Express Train is commonly known as The Death Train. There are numerous theories why this train derived its name. The most obvious is that it sums up the trip itself. The 20 hour journey is bone jarring and break breaking as the train goes through soy plantations and steamy Pantanal jungle. The journey is so bumpy because the train runs along the ground as the rails don't have sleepers. Despite the magnificent scenery after 20 hours many feel they want to through ourselves onto the rails. Another reason for the name could be because many passengers caught yellow fever whilst on the train before the vaccine was introduced. Today, you cannot enter Brazil without a yellow fever certificate (though we were never asked for it!). The final interpretation of the name relates to former accidents. Locals stored large quantities of luggage inside the carriages while they themselves sat on the roof of the train. Occasionally, a few unfortunates would fall off the edge to their death, especially when the train derailed (which happened regularly apparently). This obviously was great news to hear before you got on the train but the journey was surprise ok. Very bumpy yes, but overall not as bad as many say.

Here we come Brazil (finally)!!!
Love Hollie and Thomas x x x
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