We took a night bus to Santa Cruz from Sucre. Being used to the luxurious buses of Chile and Argentina we were shocked by the conditions: no bathroom, broken seats and lots of crying children.
It was like being on a roller coaster that never ended. We would bump along mountain roads (here a road is anything that remotely resembles a path for a vehicle, usually consisting of just dirt and rock), and then we would fly downhill directly at another bus coming around the corner only to swerve and miss it at the last second. We would slowly climb uphill winding our way to the next descent where the drivers would race and play chicken with each other. We stopped once to use the bathroom in 12 hours. Joshua paid 15 cents to pee on a wall. I guess it makes it okay if you pay the owners of the wall. I was a little smarter and stopped drinking water in preparation for the trip.
When we made it to Santa Cruz, we were expecting the biggest city in Bolivia to have some charm. Not quite. The town is large, spread out and doesn’t have any of the qualities that made Sucre so special. It did, however, have the indigenous/city struggles common in other Bolivian cities.
We did get lucky by checking in to a more expensive hostel than usual when we arrived at 7am. We got a room, a shower and breakfast when we usually would be made to sit and wait until “check-in.” They had a pet toucan that Joshua played with as if it was a dog. It would just hop around, jump on chairs and tables, and people watch. Personally, I have never been a fan of pet birds, and I especially didn’t like it one bit after it started stealing food off my plate and taking craps on the backs of chairs.
We set out to explore the city, but, it started raining and didn’t let up for two days…our first real rain in months. We used the rainy days to get caught up on the blog and phone calls to our family. Our location across the street from the market was perfect for us–we could dash over for meals and Joshua could chat with the cooks and visit with locals.
We even made a rainy date night out of fried chicken and The Avengers (with Spanish subtitles). To combat the rain, cold and fact that it was laundry day, I put together quite the date night outfit. Joshua couldn’t have cared less, since he knew his fate was a personal twin bed for the night. I keep reminding him travel isn’t about fashion, though I dream of the day I get to put on a pair of jeans again.