52 hours (26 of which without a bathroom in the bus, argh, i won´t do the piss-in-a-bag-and-throw-it-out-the-window thing) and 14 hours waiting at a bus stop later, here we are sipping frutilla granitas in Santa Cruz, biggest city in Bolivia and main city in the tropical lowlands.
the road to get here wasn´t as bad as i expected, or maybe the driver was just a bit more careful, i didn´t hear any screeching tire falling off the cliff noises, but the gas tank started leaking last night and as a result we pulled over for an hour to check and fix it. if i understood correctly, the bad condition of the roads, all the bumping and rocks bouncing wear out the bottom and after a while the rocks start hitting the gas tank. apparently something similar happened with another bus company some time ago, and the bus exploded on a road. it´s a good thing the driver noticed the smell of gas, or else the same thing could have happened to us.
needless to say, long after the smell of gasoline had dissapated and the tank was fixed, i was still paranoid.
the bus was fairly empty so i was able to stretch out and actually sleep about 8 hours, which i really needed because i haven´t slept more than 4 maybe 5 since we left buenos aires.
it´s hot as fuck out here, and humid, but i guess that does without saying when you use the word tropical, although it doesn´t seem so tropical when you see the kilometres of lush pastures and cows, but does seem it when you see plastic looking leafy green trees and palms in above mentioned pastures.
it´s a very beautiful city, the centre is a mix of colonial architechture with small terracotta houses painted a variety of coulours, small dusty "cobblestone" streets lined with palm trees and flowers.
people here are apparently a mix of quechua and guarani, and they don´t walk around in traditional garb like pleated layered skirts, bowler hats and garishly colourd andean scarves - probably because we´ve left the andean highlands and altiplano and as such, the indigenous populations who inhabit it.
they also seem friendlier here, we´ve already bumped into a few people with massive stretches and even a guy doing piercings in the street.
we found a nice, clean, cheap hostel with perfect temperature water by following an indication in my guidebook (I LOVE YOU WHOEVER WROTE IT), 40 bolivanos for both for a room with two beds and showers, that´s about 12 pesos, or 4$, for two people combined. upon arrival an argentine juggler and a venezuelan artisan invited us to a joint and everyone was very friendly.
i like this place. i think i might stay on a few days after i come back from the DUN DUN DUN death train (which everyone knows out here!) because i can go to amboró park and check out some neat waterfalls in a jungle-esque setting, which means i´m going to push my ticket back, a week, maybe two, who knows, but i don´t want to leave bolivia just yet, as it is fast becoming my favourite south american country (argentina doesn´t count because argentina is argentina, dammit!)