Time doesn`t exist in Bolivia
Day 90: Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Something happens when you cross the border into Bolivia. Time no longer matters. Every wristwatch, wallclock or public clock is on a different time. And not just but 2-3 minutes but more like 20-30 minutes. No one ever knows quite what time it is and that really makes it tough to set a time to meet up with people. Last night at dinner, we discovered that the Peruvian guys and the Danish girls we met yesterday are also heading to Sucre. Since we are all heading there we decided to just buy our bus tickets and travel together. We planned to meet in the square at 11AM and we waited for half an hour. Just as we had gotten up to leave, we saw them crossing the square. They were surprised to find out that we thought they we late by half an hour and said they had even left 5 minutes early from their hostel.
Utterly confused as to what time it was, we asked our taxi driver who gave us yet another time, off by 15 minutes from either of the clocks we were all using. At the bus station, we found yet another time on the wall and the guy selling our tickets had still a different time! It`s like when Bolivia first went around setting their clocks they set them all differently.
So, here`s a good Traveler`s Tip: Be very very early for any buses or other appointments you make in Bolivia because you never know what time it might be for the bus driver/train/date with that hot chick you just met/etc.
It was supposed to be a 17 hour ride to Sucre and as we settled into our notably awful bus seats, who boards the very same bus and has the very same seats by mistake as we do but the two Irish guys from the Pantanal. They`re kinda rude but it`s weird that we keep seeing them randomly. They disboarded and ended up on another bus but a very weird coincidence anyway. Our bus was the most basic of all, just one step (well…maybe just a half step) up from Central America`s beloved chicken buses. No bathroom on board and only 1 scheduled stop around 8pm. Unfortunately our bus was running late and we didn`t arrive til about 9:30pm. The bathrooms were…interesting. The 2 women`s stalls consisted on the worst toilets on the planet (no details here to spare you) without toilet paper in the stall, the stall door was so short the when you stand up all the way, your head peeks over the door and is greeted with odd stares from the various loitering people outside the bathroom (which isn`t really a room but more like an area). There was no sink in sight and the men`s bathroom was a kind of partitioned area (everyone “outside“ the bathroom could see inside) with a long trough to pee in. And that`s not to mention the powerful stench, or the fact that the restaurant kitchen shared the wall with the women`s toilet stalls.
In Bolivia (or any where for that matter), always always always bring your own toilet paper. It`s also helpful to keep a little bar of soap in a ziploc baggie to take to the bathroom as well. Of course that`s only if you`re lucky enough to have a sink that actually works. In that case, don`t dismiss the merits of a bottle of hand sanitizer to get you by til a real hand-washing opportunity comes along!