Once we finished up with the Salt Flats, it was time to get a move on. The rest of Bolivia is a bit of a blur as all we really did was move, move, move. We’d won a trip to a lodge in the Pantanal of Brazil and we now had a very finite amount of time to get there. Our guidebook warns that transportation in Bolivia can be unpredictable at times and to make matters worse, we had no idea how long it would take us to travel east through Bolivia to Brazil. Some accounts put the final leg as 17 hours while others put it at 3 days.
Generally when we travel we do so without a time frame or any need to be in any one place at any specific date. When we started the trip we had nothing booked, not a single airline ticket. When we do stray from this method it is often very stressful for us as we have to cut things out and generally end up spending more money on lodging and transportation.
Leaving the Salt Flats we learned that the overnight bus we had planned to take to Sucre did not exist and we’d have to take a 9 hour bus the following day…oh fun. I’m not sure which was worse, this bus or the one we took to the Amazon a week prior. Although this road wasn’t so twisty and turny, it was still dirt and early in the journey a rock of some kind took out most of the windshield…oh fun. Add to that the several [very smelly] indigenous people who throughout the day decided that my body could be used as a seat, (this was done to no one else on the bus so I can only assume this was their way of harassing the gringo) and we were just happy to arrive in Sucre alive and without any new friends trailing us to a hotel.
In Sucre we visited the dino prints which we believed was the main attraction of Sucre. The prints are left over from the Cretacious period and were found in the nearby cement quarry. To be honest, we could have lived without the trip but we did fall in love with the city on our brief stay there. Sucre is the “white” city of bolivia (all the buildings are white) and used to the country’s capital. While there we felt as though we’d crossed some border into another city as the streets were clean and filled with people just enjoying town. It is also a great (and cheap) place to study Spanish and if we ever find ourselves in need of a Spanish school again we will likely give Sucre as shot because the city itself was so livable.
But we were on a time schedule to get to Brazil so we had to press on. Luckily we had some company for the ride to Santa Cruz, a group of 6 South Africans we’d met on our Salt Flats tour who took the opportunity to give us loads of advice for our upcoming journey to their country. We parted ways with them, I got myself a haircut, and we then boarded another bus to the border with Brazil. Looking to get our passports stamped in town we went from one immigration office to another before asking a police officer for help. The first officer told us there had to be people there, we said their weren’t, so he actually tried to send us to another office that was closed. Thanks @sshole. Another officer called a few numbers and confirmed but guaranteed us that when we got to the border the office there would be open.
So we went to the border, got there much easier than we expected (one overnight bus, rather than 3 days worth of buses) but found immigration to be closed. Luckily a couple of Brazilians we’d met took us under our wing and the taxi we’d hired to take us to Brazil knew to took us to the immigration officer’s home to get us our stamps…only in Bolivia…