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Published: September 1st 2010
We have been fairly lucky with parades and festivals in South America seeing one in Agua Caliente and now being in Bolivia during their Independence day. We booked into a hotel we found in our Bolivia book it was OK, hot water, double bed, and fairly cheap (110 B´s for a double). Then we went to a restaurant also recommend in our Bolivia book I don't remember the name but it doesn't matter me and Hollie renamed it ´Por Favor´anyway. The waiter who was too smartly dressed for the restaurant said Por Favor before and after everything he reminded me of a Bolivian version of Manuel from Faulty Towers. The food was good me opting for a steak after using our phrasebook and being able to tell the waiter I wanted it with no blood with Hollie getting pasta, the waiter was also good the por favor´s just adding a little amusement, so we left a tip and headed home by foot, seen as though our taxi driver went through Peru to get to the restaurant.
We soon realised the reason the taxi driver had gone such a long way round (originally thinking he was going to rob us) it
was because in the next few days it would be the Bolivian Independence day so the town was having a warm up parade with all the different army regiment bands playing followed by the college of plumbers, then the college of technicians etc etc it was a very weird and varied parade. After watching that for a while we headed to bed knackered from the previous night.
In the morning at 11 we checked out of the hotel got some street food (empanadas and freshly squeezed orange juice) and grabbed the first bus to Cochabamba. As me and Hollie were quickly getting sick of buses the first thing we did when we got to Cochabamba was get a bus to the airport and try and get a flight to Brazil as soon as possible. The cheapest flight to Sao Paulo from Cochabamba was $220 each which was abit steep so we headed back to the bus station. We booked the 10pm bus to Santa Cruz left our bags in storage and went for a mooch.
I knew there was a Spitting Llama book shop in Cochabamba so we headed in that direction so I could buy Marching Powder
which I had been looking for since La Paz, but we came across a Greek restaurant that was fairly busy called El Grigo so decided to eat first. Me and Hollie always rant and rave about the gyros we bought on the street in Paris (Italian Quarter) but the gyros we got at El Grigo were on par if not better. We accompanied them with the usual litre of beer between us had that then headed to Spitting Llama. Unfortunately it was closed, someone didn't want me to buy this book and it was getting late so we headed to the bus station.
The bus to Santa Cruz took 11 hours but we had managed to book 2 of the best 4 seats on the bus, seats 1,2,3,4 you got a good view during the day because of the massive windows and more leg room at night for sleeping, although if the bus crashed you would die first for sure.
The bus wasn't bad the seats were basically cama (nearly flat) and we both slept a fair bit only waking to show a police woman our passports (the usual regional border crossing).
When we got to Santa Cruz
the kiosk for the Death Train already had a queue to hold half a dozen Amish (very strange to see in south America) and 2 dozen Bolivians. We waited in the queue but decided to try all options so Hollie rang 3 airlines to price up flights but they said there was none available till Monday, although this was 3 days away the train that we wanted to get was that night or Monday so it was an option. I left Hollie in the queue and rang Aerosur back, the guy on the phone (who spoke perfect English) told me the price of the flight on Monday but then said some magic words ´We have a flight leaving in an hour, if you go now you could make it´. Before I could say hurry me and Hollie were in a taxi to the airport. We arranged a price with the taxi driver and kept saying ´Pronto, pronto, pronto´ (fast, fast, fast) which he definitely understood doing a ton nearly all the way there, weaving traffic and doubling the speed limit at times. We got to the airport and at first they wouldn't let us on, then we did the usual
we have to get on this flight and before we knew it they had opened another check'in checked us in and were telling us to run. Made it to the departure gate and there was a huge queue but the cabin crew from our flight saw us in a stress and promised they would wait for us. Considering 3 nights before we were stuck in a bus in the middle of the salt flats, things were starting to look up!
Bring on Brazil, first stop Sao Paulo!
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