Getting to the Bolivian – Brazilian border is one thing. Crossing it is a completely different thing. Although I took a night bus and arrived quite early at 7 in the morning, there was already a tremendous line on the Bolivian site to get the official stamp of leaving the country. The problem was, that almost all buses from different companies arrived at the same time or earlier. After 3 hours of waiting in the line under a higher and higher rising sun (and without any kind of roof or shade) it was finally my turn and three seconds later I had a stamp in my passport and could continue – to the Brazilian side with the Brazilian immigration procedure. And also here, the queue was not advancing at all. The reason could be discovered two hours later, when it was finally my turn. A totally relaxed officer was alone in charge of doing the immigration procedure, and the Bolivian passports were controlled in a very rigorous way. Me in turn, I got my stamp kind of immediately.
The first nights I spend in the Hostel Road Riders at Corumba, close to the boarder. It was the perfect place to get prepared to Brazil, getting more and more into Portuguese and the Brazilian vibes, also thank to the great atmosphere, that the owner Diego created along the guests. After some days of “acclimatisation”, my next destination was the Pantanal region, the world largest tropical wetland area. During the rainy season it is almost completely flooded, while in the dry season there are huge rivers, pools and swamps, with a huge diversity of different animal species to admire. I booked a three-day tour and together with our guide and a group from Belgium we discovered the region: boat trips, piranha-fishing, bird-watching, swimming in the river (Piranhas don’t like clear waters, so that was our place to swim), swamp-hikes (with water up to the belly) and night-walks and a trip on a horse.
After the Pantanal region, I continued my journey to a small city called Bonito, which is known in whole Brazil for its wonderful natural attractions. Due to them, the whole city Back to South America part 3: Brazil weiterlesen
Arriving in La Paz, I was stunned! I felt like back home. As if not 3.5 years would have passed, but only a few weeks. I navigated through the terminal, ignoring the taxi drivers. I went to the same spot on the street I always went to catch a Micro (these kind of vans used for public transport) to get to my home for the next ten days: la casa de la familia de Ximena, a good friend of mine.
Together we went through La Paz and I got to see all the things that have changed: Some new buildings here and there, some new and fancy cafés, a new mall and, most important: some new cable car lines. So we also discovered La Paz from very high up =). In all the time, La Paz hasn’t lost any of its charm, it’s still a very adventurous, partly chaotic, super special and amazing city. I got to visit all my old friends from university, we went out to party in old
and new places and it felt as if I would have never left.
I also visited the colleagues of the time of my internship there, and could even attain a workshop on solar powered irrigation systems, with Reinhold as a trainer. The workshop was organized by GIZ and hold at my old university, I even found myself standing at the speakers desk, giving a short presentation about one of the topics =D.
I could have spent more days or even months in La Paz, but I still had a very big open point for my journey: Brazil. So I took a bus to Santa Cruz, in the eastern low lands of Bolivia, a god 17 hours bus ride. There I spend some days with friends of friends and was getting used to some higher temperatures, my winter boots were packed deep deep down in my backpack. Santa Cruz is very contradictory to La Paz: its way warmer, the streets are wide and traffic is well organized and there are many big parcs (with some of them being full of huge mango trees). Santa Cruz also has a huge botanical garden. For sure the biggest one I have ever seen. It took a good two hours to get from one side to the other!!
From Santa Cruz it took another 10-hour bus ride to get to the boarder of Brazil. I finally did it, I made it into Brazil 🙂
In the end of August, I started to the next adventure: a six week trip to South America. I didn’t really plan out the whole journey ahead, in fact, I just booked a flight to Santiago de Chile and the return from Brasilia in advance. Everything in between was then kind of spontaneous.
Arriving in Santiago de Chile, I spend some days in the house of a befriended family, which I got to know 4 years ago during a trip in Peru. Coming from the German summer, I first needed to get used to the temperatures in Santiago. It was the only time during my journey, that I was happy to have brought my winter boots. I wouldn’t use them for the next 5 weeks of my trip.
A part of the time in Santiago I was still working on a consultancy I accepted some weeks ago: the translation of a toolkit about solar irrigation from English into Spanish. Exactly 2 weeks later, I saw my translated work on a training seminar in La Paz, but I will come to this.
Beside the translation work, I wandered around in Santiago, but I still don’t have this right connection to the city. So, I wasn’t too sad to leave after a few days direction north: to Arica!
I didn’t want to take flights within South America, to see a bit more of the country and really get a feeling for the distances. By the way, I think there is nothing more comfortable than Bus Trips (of course the bus should be somehow in a good condition): there is always something to see outside, the seats are very cushy and for the time being in the bus, letting your thoughts fly. Of course you should bring enough food with you 🙂 Back to South America part 1: Chile weiterlesen