Throughout 2014 I was planning to do a trip post my college admission test, then one day during rugby practice I mentioned that to my teammate and friend Rodrigo to find out he was planning on doing the same. We discussed for two minutes and decided to go to Bolivia.
We only sort of know what we are going to do there, but the idea is to cross the Peruvian border and reach Machu Picchu in around twenty days.
I met with Rodrigo at the Belo Horizonte bus station and we headed to Guarulhos, SP on a night bus. Flying from there is just so much cheaper than from BH itself.
We got to Guarulhos pretty early in the morning and had the whole day to kill before our flight to Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. First thing we did was put our sleeping bags to use and get some rest on the bus terminal floor. We eventually got enough of it and left to explore a bit of the surroundings.
We were yet to leave the country when we had our first little setback, one strap from my backpack suddenly ripped apart besides my light packing. There was no chance I could buy a new one at that point, so I bought a sewing thread and a needle and sewed it myself adding some silver tape on top of it hoping it would last until we’re back home. Right there I knew this was going to be a long trip.
For lunch we decided we would offer help at local restaurants in exchange for two meals. The first place we went to agreed to let us do it, it was a small family restaurant, very nice people. We did dishes and waited tables. We worked through peak hour, and had to to the dishes with water that was stored in buckets from the previous day since the city was going through a big drought and had to ration water. By the end of the day not only we had eaten pretty well and met awesome people, but they actually paid us cash for the work we did. I couldn’t believe it. Rodrigo also made some change juggling at a small plaza, so we actually had a positive balance at the end of the day.
The first leg of our flight was to Asuncion. I love layovers, but not this time in particular since the airport was in the middle of nowhere and we were there from 01:00 am to 06:00 am. Well I guess that’s the price you pay for saving money on cheap flights. As we were boarding our flight we ran into rugby legend Felipe Contepomi, which I thought was pretty cool.
After our second leg we finally touched Bolivian soil, Santa Cruz de La Sierra to be more specific. We shared a cab ride into the city and had lunch with a Lithuanian guy we met.
Sta. Cruz is a big city but has a pretty small colonial town feel to it on its main plaza. That was pretty much what we did there besides going out at night to a club. A few locals told us that the night clubs there usually start at around 9:00pm, so we got there around that time which is pretty early for what we were used to back home to find the place completely empty. Thankfully we got turnt really fast and didn’t mind that at all. By the time the place was getting full of people I couldn’t even stand up straight anymore and Rodrigo had to drag me back to our room.