Santa Cruz notes

The town square is lovely, even though they removed the sloth for fear he would electrocute himself.  The population is friendly, the weather is perfect, and there are few sights.  Unlike in much of South America, danger is not a concern.  The small children who hang out in the central square seem to think that a full embrace of a pigeon is a good idea.

The food is excellent and yet you never hear about it.  Try El Aljibe for local specialties (peanut soup, or duck and corn risotto, with egg on top), and Jardin de Asia for Amazonian Andean Peruvian Japanese Bolivian fusion.  It is hard to find the Cochabamba version of Bolivian food that has made it over to the U.S.   The steak here is decent but not as good as Argentina or Brazil.

The taxi equilibrium is that you do not ask in advance what the fare is, because that indicates you do not know.  Be confident, and you will be surprised how little money they ask for.

If you had to pick one city to represent South America as a whole, Santa Cruz might be it.  You can feel elements of Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, and yes even Bolivia here, all rolled into one.  The proportions of fair-skinned, mestizo, and indigenous people mirrors the Continent as a whole more than the Altiplano.  The secession movement here seems to have failed.  Amazonian indigenous peoples and Guarani are common here.

Arriving at the airport at 3:30 a.m. involves a nightmarish wait.  There is not much air pollution.  I didn’t meet a single person in the service sector who spoke English.  People in Santa Cruz seemed fairly happy relative to their per capita income.

You can study the economic development of China by visiting Bolivia.

Comments

Good riddance, the lazy vagrant.

First they came for the sloths, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a sloth...

Sloths didn't speak up because it seemed like a lot of work.

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"You can study the economic development of China by visiting Bolivia."

As Metternich probably did not say when he heard that the Russian Ambassador to the Congress of Vienna had died, "Hmm? I wonder what he meant by that?"

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"they removed the sloth for fear he would electrocute himself": and yet no one considers this for the White House.

Gorblimey!

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Has Tyler been to or plan to go to the silver mountain? That is the most interesting thing I find about Bolivia.

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What does "there are few sights" mean?

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Lowland Bolivia is an example of what I might metaphorically call the "democratizing" trend in energy production. A generation or two ago, oil and gas production was concentrated in a handful of locations around the world: the Persian Gulf, Nigeria, Indonesia, etc. Today, just having a lot of land correlates much better with having some oil or (especially) gas production.

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Tyler

I have been fortunate to visit Santa Cruz several times, working on forest-community issues in the Bolivian Amazonia. I think that your blog is spot on. Its a dynamic city, with many good folk working in both the public and private sector. But for the best peanut soup you have to go to northern Ghana.

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Arlington's Tutto Bene restaurant has a Bolivian menu on Sundays (maybe every day, I don't know) and serves peanut soup...

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