Santa Cruz was the cheapest option from São Paulo, so I figured this was a good choice to start out. There’s not really much to see apart from your hair getting all dusty, flying plastic bags and weird weather. But I have to admit- this place has made me laugh a lot so far and unfortunately not only me…
AIRPORTS LEAVE ROOM FOR PURE EMBARRASSMENT
Not quite sure if I should post this here, but a good laugh might be better than to be embarrassed forever.
After being seated between a group of young Indian men, who damn sure love their curry and garlic, I tried to sleep with the little space I had. They were very nice though and I helped them fill out their entry papers. Apart from a polite nod there was not much talking between them and me. I tried to sleep a bit, but was really tired when we landed in Santa Cruz (VVI).
The airport is tiny. And by tiny I mean that there is one bathroom right in front of the queue, where everyone (!) waits and this bathroom has around 4 square meters.
I realized the following whilst using it:
1. Bathroom doors in Bolivia don’t seem to close well.
2. Wind comes from unknown directions.
3. Screaming „nooooo“ draws attention.
4. Being half naked in front of the entire luggage queue is just as embarrassing as it sounds.
5. Yes. People do laugh.
Alright. There was not really room to hide, so I tried to stand in line as normally as possible and entered the country in pure embarrassment. At least some people were entertained.
THE CURRENCY IS CALLED “BOB”
Bolivian Boliviano. Funny or weird. Up to you. But it still makes me laugh.
BOLIVIANS ARE OBSESSED WITH PANINIS
And when I say they are obsessed, I mean it! Paninis everywhere! This was actually the first thing I saw in the cab from the airport to the city. (It’s 60 BOB 😆 from the airport- 20 BOB from the street outside)
Paninis, Paninis and Paninis. Stores everywhere! Every flavor, toasted, cheesy and probably delicious.
BOLIVIANS LOVE ICE-CREAM
If there is no panini around you can see everyone eating ice cream. If you were to catch a Bolivian- set an ice cream trap!
(I do realize my article is getting weird)
Ice cream in Bolivia does not look as nice as on the picture shown above, but the sprinkles made me happy. Exchange those sprinkles with dust from the road and you get a more realistic image.
PARKS ARE FOR DELOUSING
This article – as you might have noticed – is one of my first impression- embrace the weirdness and don’t judge, haha!
Anyways. The image of women in beautiful dresses who sit in the grass and remove lice from each other’s hair is still stuck in my head. I did not want to further remember it and decided not to take a picture.
Now to myself: Don’t bring a blanket and sit down in the grass.
BOLIVIANS ARE FASTER THAN BRAZILIANS
Hell yeah! Thank you!! Me being one of the most impatient people on earth, the moment I realized I am not going to be stuck behind massively slow walkers all the time made me grin.
No need to overtake anyone here and you’re not getting stuck in slow motion sleepwalkers. Awesome!
THE AÇAÍ IS THE BEST IN BOLIVIA
Sorry Brazil! Hit me when I’m back in a month, but Bolivian Açaí just seems to be the best of the best.
CARS FLASHING THEIR LIGHTS DOES NOT MEAN YOU CAN CROSS THE ROAD
Nope. You can’t! Don’t even try! The lights are not flashing- they are just flickering for no apparent reason. Probably because everything is broken here. And you thankfully nodding while a trying to cross the road might end in a disaster.
ALL DOGS HAVE FLEES
And some even wear clothes. Don’t cuddle them or you might end up in the park with the nice dress ladies.
BOLIVIAN PEOPLE ARE INCREDIBLY FRIENDLY
They are just the friendliest, most helpful people that always have a smile on their face, even if they do not understand a word you are saying. Unless they spit on you (but more on that topic later).
It is quite safe during daylight, I can say so far. Just be cautious when you walk around. Pickpocketing is a massive issue in crowded areas, but at least most likely no one will point a gun at your face. And if they did, I bet they would do it in a friendly way. *kidding
I actually feel safe around here. Though I’ve heard about a scam that is quite common here:
SOMETIMES THEY SPIT MUSTARD ON YOU
A common scam here is to spit mustard on you. Yeah you heard right. They spit right on you (which you won’t realize until it’s too late), followed by two incredibly old and friendly ladies who offer to help you clean it up. Whilst you are still angry about that “bird” which pooped on you, you might just accept their friendly offer to then get robbed by them.
Just don’t accept any help in that case and accept the fact that your clothes will probably smell of spitty mustard for a while.
10 MINUTES ARE 40!
“It’s not far” equals “damn you’ll never get there”. I wanted to take a “quick” trip to go and see some sloths and ended up wasting half a day.
“There’s a tree with sloths on” equals “there’s a tree”.
Double check advice you get here 😉
Apart from that the public busses drive with open doors, but be happy if they still drive. Cars are about to fall apart. Avoid taking busses at all, if possible as I’ve heard that they tend to get stuck on the road regularly.
But: they are incredibly cheap! My 10/40 Minutes Bus drive was only 3 BOB, which is around 40cents.
So far so good. Hope you enjoyed my stereotypical first impression article.
I’ll be flying up to La Paz on Monday, which is at around 4000m height. There’s apparently a mushroom that helps with altitude sickness – let’s see how this one turns out …