Eventually we arrived in Sucre and dropped Mark off at his hostel but we kept Cory for one more night as his hostel was full. We then found our highly recommended accommodation in a secret inner city overlanders campground and who should be there but the Swiss couple Adi and Jana! Also there was an English couple Neil and Julie Bird (known as the overland birds www.overlandbirds.com) who had driven all the way from their home in Southern Yorkshire down through Africa and now South America in a decked out Land Rover Defender 110.
That night with Corey we went out for a mediocre dinner of rice, fries and crumbed chicken. But in the morning we headed into the huge food market just down the road with Corey and the Brits. It was lucky we had Corey with us to explain how all the stalls worked and to translate as he had been in Bolivia for a few months already. Most importantly we learnt that after you buy a glass of freshly made real fruit juice you can just give your glass back and get a top up free of charge! Why are the fresh juice bars in NZ so expensive compared to Bolivia and they are soooo good. While at the market we agreed with the Brits that we should have a big BBQ together back at the campground especially after hearing that our friends Thomas and Kathrin from Germany were also in Sucre. So we brought a chunk of meat and some tasty sausages for the grill. Later that day while discovering the town we even managed to bump into the Germans for the fourth completely random time on the trip so we headed up to a tourist lookout and spent the afternoon overlooking the city drinking beer and catching up. It was a lovely afternoon but soon enough it was back to the campground for the BBQ. The BBQ was a raging success once the boys got the carbon to light that is. The Germans mingled with the Swiss the English mingled with Mark who came despite his girlfriend being sick and we mingled with everyone while eating and drinking all you could ever want.
During our time in Sucre we also received via Facebook a lovely offer from my Aunty Karen and her husband Lorne for us to stay in their empty Santa Cruz apartment. At first we weren't wanting to drive all that way off our chosen route but the more we looked at the options for our broken radiator the more it made sense. So after some recommendations and looking at the map we decided to take up the offer and head to Santa Cruz via the Ruta del Che. This route is where the Argentinean born revolutionary Che Guevara lived for two years until his capture and subsequent execution in 1967. We had arranged to meet Alejandro, Lorne's colleague for the keys the next evening. However it turns out that the 579km trip to Santa Cruz actually takes around 16 hours to drive… particularly so after it pours down. After driving until 10pm and making it less than halfway we spent a thunderous night in the car on the side of the remote road. The nights deluge had transformed the road into a muddy and slippery mess, but the scenery and swollen rivers were spectacular. On one nasty corner we rescued a large truck from a ditch and just managed to pull it up the slick hill. Twenty four hours late we finally arrived in Santa Cruz, what a treat it was to meet the lovely English speaking Alejandro. He showed us to our beautiful apartment and left us to it for the night, promising to return in the morning to help us tackle our growing list of vehicle problems. After a big scrub up we slept like angles in a super king sized bed ready to face the perils of Bolivian car repairs in the morning.
Rochelle & Will