Hostal Ambar - Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Travel Blog

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Customs. Just like Heathrow...

We were filled with fear of being stuck in Paraguay for another day so headed to the station an hour early to be on the safe side.

Lucky we did, as the bus departure time had been arbitrarily moved half an hour earlier to 8.00 pm. The ticket purchasing process was particularly slow, so at five minutes two we split up; the girls would get the tickets, I would find the bus and make it wait.

I failed spectacularly. At about five minutes past eight I was running like an overweight Quasimodo - flip-flops and a rucksack on my front and back not helping, towards a bus that already had two Norwegians on it. I dived onto the bus like Pam St Clement Pat Butcher diving into a college-girl’s muff an earring sale, just before it set off.

Art attack
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If you ever find yourself having to scoop your love-spuds from betwixt your thighs and plop them up top in order to salvage any chances you may have of future progeny, well, that’s when you know that the bus you are on is quite cramped.

The journey took about 22 hours. Between folding my legs into new and wonderful positions (and clearing the inevitable wedgies and plum-chafes that they caused) I managed to listen to music, read some books and get about three whole hours of sleep.

In days of yore the Chaco Road could take days to traverse. Tales abound of travellers cramming in the back of goods lorries, pushing the transport through floods, helping to move fallen logs from the dirt road etc. etc.

Now its just a long, poorly constructed road, flanked by flat landscape, a smattering of trees and the odd marijuana farm.

Finally got a pic. Jose - big pimpin'
The only bone-rattling bit of the journey is an hour long patch of dirt road when you cross into Bolivia.

When we stopped at the exit border I noticed the bus conductor chasing a cardboard carton in the wind - very public minded picking up his litter. Then he tore a strip off and threw the rest - okay, probably a voucher, ‘trumpets for schools’, that kind of thing… Finally he folded it in four and squished it into the bus - turns out he was making an impromptu repair to the luggage hold. Excellent.

The first couple of days weren't that productive - mainly eating any food that wasn't empanadas, having eaten about 480 of them in Paraguay, getting laundry done (they ironed my pants) and having a little wander around the city. Hostal Ambar was cheap but charged on the Ryanair basis - 10p for toilet roll, 20p for a shower etc. Also there was no internet, which the Scandinavians needed for their  Spanish coursework. Irish recommended a proper hostel, complete with swimming pool and internet, so off we went...

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Customs. Just like Heathrow...
Customs. Just like Heathrow...
Art attack
Art attack
Finally got a pic. Jose - big pimp…
Finally got a pic. Jose - big pim…
Santa Cruz
photo by: wilfredoc2009