Published: November 8th 2009November 8th 2009
One of the reasons I stuck around in Samaipata and Santa Cruz was that I kept hearing how awesome the Santa Cruz Oktoberfest was going to be (and inevitably delaying going to more expensive countries like Argentina and Chile). Santa Cruz is the largest city in Bolivia at around 1.5 million people, although it´s so spread out you wouldn´t know it. Also, it has more of a Brazilian feel (and climate, at 500m ASL) than the rest of Bolivia -- not sure how accurate this is, but I´ve been told that Santa Cruz tried to seceede from the rest of Bolivia, and I wouldn´t be surprised given the political stability in this country.
On Friday I did a really awesome canyon hike for FREE (sans transportation) that followed a river several kilometers, at some points too deep to walk. I was also amazed at how high the water levels must get, as the canyon (no wider than an arms length at many points) contained the oddest pieces of scrap metal, car parts, railroad tracks, that invariably could have only arrived there during the rainy season.
Met a couple of cool Kiwis in Samaipata to share a taxi to Santa Cruz with. Arrived at a relatively expensive backpacker hostel per a recommendation. Ive learned to pay the extra bucks (still only $10 per night) because the social life is definitely worth it. Yesterday we arrived at the Santa Cruz Oktoberfest around 2pm, three hours after the festival was supposed to start. Of course, no one was there, and they were still setting up the stage and tents. By the time people started arriving around 6pm, it started raining. And raining. And then the tents started leaking. And then the electricity went out. So we were 5 gringo travelers, huddled under a dripping tent in the dark with hundreds of locals drinking pacena. Not your standard oktoberfest, but i didn´t expect anything less.
It´s still pouring right now (glad to get out of Santa Cruz). I think we´re going to a ghetto water park today, then I leave by bus for Asuncion, Paraguay, this evening.