Happy Easter

Sun, 23 Mar 2008 23:42:31 +0000

Santa Cruz de la Sierra Index La Paz

I suppose I should have realised earlier that it was Good Friday. The fact that the post office was closed on a Friday was one clue. Also the people selling crosses woven from palm leaves - I thought the Bolivians just liked palm crosses. But when I wandered out to buy some dinner and was mown down by a parade of thousands of people bearing effigies of Chris and Mary, it finally clicked.

I watched all the parade go by, and it was quite fun. The last "float" appeared to be the entire embalmed body of some local saint. Hmm, I'm hungry, let's go get a hamburger:

Really a roast meat in a bun kind of affair. There was a selection of sauces, and the green lumpy one I went for was definitely the right choice: nice and spicy. On the way back I also got to watch an excellent drunken fight between two teenagers. They actually put up their dukes queensbury rules style. Remarkable.

The next morning I took things fairly slowly, getting breakfast at an overpriced Starbucks clone called "Alexanders" which I won't be trying again. I had a go on the Internet, removing the last problematic Euro sign (I hope). The computers were poorly isolated and shocked me when I tried to plug in the Nokia, so I decided that was a bad idea.

Then the one piece of touristing for the day: a visit to the zoo. The one in Santa Cruz is small and neglected, and I hate seeing big cats pacing up and down, since I know how serious a symptom that is. But there was a nine-banded and a three-banded armadillo, a tapir, and some vultures showing off their wingspans. There were also a couple of sloths. I love the way sloths move - the laws of physics are completely different at that speed.

Afterwards I got lunch outside under the palm trees: a rich soup with whole grains, potato slices, and stewed meat. Just two bolivianos. There are restaurants all around where you can pay fifteen times as much to be crammed in with other noisy diners. Why you would do that rather than have lunch in the open air I have no idea.

And then I wandered back, buying more street food along the way. Including banana chips, which turned out to be salted like potato chips. That would be one of those assumptions I was talking about challenging earlier.

But now I'm on the bus to La Paz. No air-conditioning for once, which is actually a blessed relief. We're working m our way through a Jet Li anthology, which is weird to listen to in Spanish. And I'm regretting not getting something to have for dinner, but then I really should stop eating so much anyway.

Santa Cruz de la Sierra Index La Paz