Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Over dinner in a local dive, Jim and I met Irene Plata, the best waitress at the bar and restaurant, and she showed us Cacho, a Bolivian game, with poker-like scoring, and played with a roll of five dice.

Shoeshine boys flood the Plaza de 24 de Septiembre.

The Cathedral entrance

Santa Cruz’s Cathedral stands opposite the popular Plaza 24 de Septiembre.

Efficient police keep rush hour traffic moving on many of the small, narrow streets in central Santa Cruz.

Street vendors sell cheap sunglasses and fake designer watches on many streets in the center of Santa Cruz.

Peanuts for sale in the Plaza 24 de Septiembre

27 August 2001 – Sometimes I fret over the machismo in South America. Here in Santa Cruz, the largest city in Bolivia, a 20-something female television reporter interviewed Jim and me about our world journey. During the interview, she asked me only one question, yet asked Jim about 20. Honestly, that's pretty common and generally, I just stand and smile accepting that Jim is older, wiser and the one from whom folks are really interested in hearing, but this reporter pushed the envelope. Her question, "Wives are to support their husbands. How do you support your husband on his trip?"

My goodness, it was all I could do to answer civilly. I wanted to respond, "I've covered every damn kilometer and country he has, slept in every shed he has, ate the same things, passed through war zones, been stranded in the desert for 12 days, cajoled bureaucrats, argued with cheats, driven thousands of kilometers, read extensively to educate us on the places we are visiting, overseen the website, photographed thousands of scenes, written prolifically, planned much of our itinerary – where to sleep and eat, organized countless nights out with new friends, churned the laundry in sinks with no stoppers, fetched water from wells, slept on wooden boat decks with onion peels and bugs as my companions, and gone to bed hungry!"


  Santa Cruz (Jim)