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Excerpt from the Journal of Olds – Day 340 – Bolivia – Santa Cruz

Barely sleeping meant I stopped trying around sunrise and just set about reading and munching the light breakfast. We reached Santa Cruz after 10 am and met Babiche from Holland who’d been on the train behind us and was also travelling in the same direction – the more the merrier! We set about getting ourselves on one of the many daily departures to Sucre we’d been advised were available by the wonderful Thiago from Hostel Pantanal. Of course this meant that there was only one bus at 4pm. We’d heard 15 hours was the journey time, meaning whether we liked it or not we were going to lose out on the night’s accommodation we’d booked in Sucre that evening. We knew that flights ran daily and took about 45 minutes so after Johanna – our alpha Spanish speaker- had tried heroically to acquire information we eventually decided to set out for the nearby domestic airport after a phone call had suggested 10 places remained for the early morning flight the next day.

We made it there and with only 6 places left paid the 390 BOB (best three letter currency code ever) each – roughly £34 quid each – for 5 of those. Happy that we’d secured a much nicer and ridiculously cheap route to Sucre we set off into Santa Cruz to find accommodation for the night and grab a most wanted shower.

We were dropped and after a little wandering a few of us stayed with luggage under the wild sun while Babiche and Johanna checked out every hotel and hostel in the vicinity. Comically / typically we ended up in the first place we’d looked and took ourselves up to our rooms to freshen up and take an hour or so to rest. Anne was seriously under the weather but still joined the rest of us for a wander out to see the sights of Santa Cruz and find something for lunch. After little success and seeing the main square we rolled into an Irish Pub that looked out over it and tried our first Bolivian Beers. Bock, at 7%, was lovely.

Those that were hungry grabbed a bite while a children’s parade marched past outside, demonstrating and celebrating a variety of things including a healthy dose of anti-US sentiment that seems the vogue protest of choice for anywhere these days. Hey world, it’s not the US, it’s likely politicians or tycoons who happen to be American (possibly though not assuredly) that you’re more likely to have a beef with. Don’t label a nation; it’s lazy and irresponsible. I think deep down most people know this anyway and you can’t really blame nippers for following the stereotypical rhetoric employed by politicians to create an enemy to unite against. Most nations seem to do it.

Political digression? Ridiculous – I’m far too under-educated on such subject matter to waffle about it – let’s move on.

After lunch Anne went back for some rest while the rest of us took several wrong turns in search of an underwhelming park. We then did pretty much the same thing looking for an evening beer but eventually rolled into Lorca, a lovely courtyard bar and tried a selection of very tasty beers as the sun disappeared and the night rolled in. We went for food then hit they hay to get plenty of rest before our early start to make our flight the next day.