We read this Santa Cruz is nothing special and I think I must agree. Nice enough place but just a city. This is our first time to Bolivia so it is a really good intro and the city seems friendly enough but there are not a whack of tourist sites to attact tourists so there are not too many tourists either.
A few quick observations. The central park is a popular spot. We arrived on Sunday and it was packed. By the evening you had to hunt to find a seat and there are hundreds of them. Families gather there. The kids are occupied the entire time. Last night a lady selling bubbles makers cleaned up. Mom and dad spent the evening blowing bubbles the younger kids spent the entire time chasing after them, clapping them into the ether.
Today it is pigeons. Someone is selling small bags of seed, mom and dad feed the pigeons and the kids chase them away. The pigeons are very accommodating and return again and again so the kids can again chase them away again and again.
There is a sign at a pizza shop, “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy pizza and it is the same thing.”
This city can get hot in the summer. Two things make that obvious. All of the street sides of the buildings have porticos (overhangs) the width of the sidewalk, which provide shade from the intense overhead sun. And, a much more recent addition, ice cream shops. Fancy ice cream shops, I think there is a least one on every block. Today we are lucky, it was supposed to be 33 C but there is a cool wind blowing making the temp quite pleasant, which results in us not buying ice cream.
We walk through a higher end neighbourhood. Fancier high rise condo buildings and gated single family homes. It is good to walk cities and discover where the ordinary folks live. They are mostly just like us in where they live, work, eat, shop and play.
We wander across a small local restaurant as we are due for lunch. We take a chance and enter. Fortunately one of the young chefs speaks English and explains the menu to us which is written on a white board outside the eatery. I have my usual, chicken and rice and Murray has chicken lasagna with rice. The young man is very accommodating with me to prepare something not on the menu. Murray orders a Coke and it comes in a rather large bottle, 600 ml, enough to share. The price for the tasty lunch is about $6 US.
Tomorrow we meet up with our tour group and life will change for us. No more wandering Santa Cruz or stopping at off the beaten path restaurants, but we will get onto the salt flats and altiplano. Till tomorrow.