August 1, 2010 – August 2, 2010
Tue 3rd August We went to a restaurant where i smoked peach flavoured hubbly bubbly pipe. I was nearly sick! sshhh! Don't tell my teacher!
Everything was changing now. Green flat country, another time zone closer to home, palm trees and not a volcano in sight. But we were looking forward to putting on our shorts and putting the thermals deep down in the bottom of our rucsacs. It was cloudy, windy and cold. Apparently it was the coldest day in winter and would soon change. The hotel ........ entrance had been camouflaged with dirt, graffiti and lashings of dark brown paint to keep tourists out. No sign at all to help the confused taxi driver. The dark rooms smelt of damp, the heavy wood bed with dirt coloured sheets and overhead fan suggested financially driven liaisons. We were here for one night. It was really odd walking into the centre of Santa Cruz as evan though it was the largest city in Bolivia, it had the feel of a large village. Single level, non descript concrete buildings which seemed either dentists or opticians. We used the Loney Panet to guide us to some haven away from the cold, cloudy blandness of Santa Cruz. The Lorca night club was empty . It was too cold for the musicians to play. Lisa wanted to leave,Harry was unimpressed in his fast growing boyish teenage boredom and flicked on his I-Pod under the table. The waiter could feel negative waves from his only customers so turned on a small gas fire at which we moved both our table and chairs. A beer and a Caipirinha( crushed ice ,lime and sugar cane alcohol) later and things were looking a bit better. Harry took great delight in ordering an Alligator steak then his eyes caught on a selection of large colourful Shisha ( Humble Bubble pipe) pipes on the bar. Thoughts of cool photos on Facebook flashed by . He flipped off his I-POD and started making abnormally interesting conversation to his father. The waiter presented us with the different options and the kids chose peach flavoured tobacco. Five minutes later we were blowing heavy rings of sweet scented smoke while the large glass jar in the centre of the table made loud bubbly noises. So why overnight it at Santa Cruz? We had to overnight it and overland it to the Bolivian/Brasilian border and these tickets could not be booked but only bought in person from the ticket office. The Coppock family crowded around the window but were despondent that Bolivian Railways had run out of tickets for that evening and hence the night in Santa Cruz. Surprisingly we slept well, being awoken by deafening noises of contacting metal as the train literary flew between the gaps or drops between rails. It was so extreme it was funny as the whole carriage woke in surprise at the violent shaking and it seemed more approiate to laugh than cry at the thought of "surely we must derail". Going to the toilet was great fun. Opening the door at the end of the carriage you were met by the rush of wind,deafing crash of metal and the opposite car jumping up and down and going all over the place in front of you. A quick hop and through the door and you were safe . In the morning we hopped over the border to Brazil. Stamps in our passports here and there. We walked over to a waiting Taxi and negotiated a fee but realised that we had no Brazilian currency(Reis) and that there seemed no money changes around. The taxi man pointed over across the border and said "Bolivia". Lisa and I popped back through the Brazilian border and the Bolivian border unnoticed ,met up with an old women with a calculator, then back through the borders again with Police looking on and thinking " All these foreigners look the same."