Gutierrez (a.m.) / Santa Cruz (p.m.), Bolivia
Date: Lodging: Distance: Total:
25/08/2001 Gran Hotel Santa Cruz 226 KM 206519 KM

More club goers in Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Young women wait to enter Club Delirium.

Early afternoon, we arrived in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the largest, most cosmopolitan city in Bolivia with a population of 900,000. Later in the evening we walked the streets finding many clubs and discos with young people dressed to impress.

Benita Sheba makes this soup dish, which sells well with the locals in Gutierrez and truck drivers.

Truck drivers stop for breakfast, which looks like chicken soup with rice and carrots.

A plaza filled with vendors offering meals makes Gutierrez a truck stop of sorts.

Charito eating breakfast III

Charito eating breakfast II

Charito eating breakfast I

Our sleeping quarters for last night were simple, but clean.

Pigs in the backyard of our room

After a night of trying to sleep on a mattress of springs protruding pointedly into my body, I woke around 4 a.m. because of the roosters calling “cock-a-doodle-do” in their universal song. Finally, around 7 a.m., I arose to wash my face and teeth and visit the stinky “bano” (outhouse) in the background.

25 August 2001 – Woke at 3:45 a.m. needing to go to the outhouse. I dreaded waking through the chilly courtyard full of animals, but I did not have another option. By the time I reached the door, Big Mama’s two giant dogs were barking like attack animals. Opening the door a bit, a yellow mutt darted toward me and I slammed the door in an instant, as Jim jumped up to join in an attempt to calm the mad dogs. The door to our room was similar to one in a horse barn, where the top will open while the bottom stays shut. We pushed the upper part open and saw that the dogs were foaming at the mouth, staggering back and forth and barking like crazy animals. Finally Big Mama shouted for the dogs to quiet down and they stopped barking, but continued moving frantically in front of us. They looked ready to attack as soon as I dared to walk into the courtyard. Perhaps they were harmless, but I sure did not want to find out otherwise. Since no one was coming to calm the dogs, Jim and I continued to call for Big Mama, “Senorita, Senorita!” (He often calls older, married women senorita as a form of flattery.) After five minutes, she arrived in the courtyard and made the dogs behave. Jim and I walked to and from the outhouse, each carrying a flashlight, with no problems.

Upon return to the room, I found sleep impossible. Roosters performed cock-a-doodle-doo over and over. Finally around 7 a.m. I rose to begin a new day. Nights like the one last night teach me more about myself than any five-star experience, yet sometimes what I learn makes me not like me too much. Or better yet, makes me realize how dependent I am on what are genuine luxuries to most people in the world.