A Travellerspoint blog

July 2008

A welcomed break

Loving Bolivia, where lunacy still roams


View MAP OF THE JOURNEY on AnnaMickus's travel map.

Santa Cruz used to be an isolated little town just beneath the Andean foothill, but recently it has grown to be the second biggest city in Bolivia much thanks to its oil and gas industry. The cocaine industry has also played a part in the city’s wealth, and the 4WD cars nicknamed narco-cruisers driving along the streets is a good indication for that. The southern part of the Santa Cruz region is very rich in natural gas, which means that Santa Cruz stands for a big part of the country’s economic output. A lot of this money is sent straight to La Paz, which has resulted in some ill feeling among the Santa Cruz people, especially the rich ones. On top of that Evo Morales has started to campaign for redistributing land from the richer to the poorer, which is also contributing to the friction between the east and the west. In fact, at the moment, SantaCruz is rallying for autonomy, which can be seen everywhere. There are posters and painted signs everywhere telling people to vote for autonomy when day for voting comes. Every once in a while you can see big trucks filled with people waving ”Si, autonomia” flags or long lines of scooters driving by honking their horns and waving the same flags. Some people are distributing readily filled in ballots where the right box is checked: sí for autonomia. It is funny, up in the mountains people were very pro Evo and thought he was doing a good job supporting the poor ones, and the further east we got, the more signs we saw about autonomy and about how bad Evo is handling things. The poor ones have been telling us that the rich people pay people to drive around waving the flags. I wonder if this will once again end up in dynamite being thrown in front of busses...

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At first Santa Cruz seemed like any other big town, but after a couple of days here we are beginning to like it more and more. The city is like a blend of everything between heaven and earth. I don’t think there is much you cannot find in this city if you look hard enough. There are small hole in the wall restaurants with local food, and there are nice restaurants with fine and expensive food, there are cafeterias with real coffee and nice pastries and there are delicatessen shops with fine imported wines, foods and cigars... There is a nice park with normal people eating ice cream in the sun and there are filthy rich people driving around in expensive cars. There’s a long street lined with night clubs and there is a long street lined with restaurants just like in the states. There are expensive hotels and cheap shacks, there are bars and strip clubs and tattoo parlours and ice cream bars, and there are ladies selling freshly pressed juices and fruits in the street. And you know what else we found? – The first juggling convention ever in Bolivia!

Just outside town there was a three day juggling convention that we of course had to see. We spent a whole day looking at people juggling all kinds of juggles, balls and the alike. Some of them were cycling on a one wheeled cycle and juggled on top of it tossing juggles to some other dude on another one wheeled bicycle. Some people attended workshops where they were doing some crazy stuff like running around and screaming... A funny thing was that we happened to run into Jan, his girlfriend and some other people from Samaipata, so we ended up spending the day with them. In the evening there was a show in the circus tent. We saw a lot of different circus performances during a couple of hours. Although most of them were pretty shitty it was a lot of fun!

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Posted by AnnaMickus 15:16 Archived in Bolivia Comments (0)