Well here I am again. I arrived in Santa Cruz at a little after 8am on
the ´death train´ (so called perhaps because it shakes the life out of
you). I never did get to see the sun rise as the morning was dominated
by a deep mist which cleared slowly as the morning progressed. Oh
well, by that point in the journey there was no more amazonesque
landscape, just small farms and cattle.

I was also wrong about getting no sleep on the train, the rocking
became quite hypnotic. Since I´ve hardly had a proper nights sleep
since leaving London,I found I nodded off quite easily between the
occasions when an especially violent lunge temporarily ended my

On the train I happened to met a guy whole invests in British Coal.
The somewhat privillaged individual, who has been travelling on his
fathers buck for many years since leaving education, spoke of the
protests against open cast mines owned by British Coal (which I guess
means Mainshill). He questioned the point in targetting the company
when it contributes such a minor amount of the coal used in the UK,
which he said was mainly russian. The main thrust of his arguements
seemed to be that any success against British coal would simply help
Russian energy companies gain a greater market share here, perhaps
even buy British Coal. He said it could have no impact on global
warming unless the actual market for coal was effected. He seemed to
believe that nuclear power and electric trains could save us, but I
think he may have started to reassess that position when I spoke of
the limited availability of uranium. Anyway, I wont bore you with the
details but a strange coincidence I thought.

I was more interested in the Rio Grande which we crossed by bridge not
long before reaching Santa Cruz. I don´t know if it´s normal for the
time of year but this is a massively wide river and yet there was
barely any water at all. The majority of the river bed was sand, high
and dry with grasses growing in dunes at various points between the
banks. A quick search on google hasn´t helped so ´ll make further
enquiries when I reach Cochabamba and let you know.

I´ve spent the day wandering around Santa Cruz. Early on I ended up in
conversation with medical proffesional around sixty years of age. We
got to talking about the political environment in Bolivia and he told
a story of a country split by race. He was staunchly anti-communist,
pro globalisation, pro capitalism and pro american. He told me that
there would be a public meeting today in Santa Cruz of dissidents
against Evo Morales, specifically relating to what to do about arrests
made of elected officials in the region who stand accussed of some
unspecified crime relating to alleged terrorist from Croatia. He
refered to the current government as a dictatorship, using dishonest
and criminal methods to retain and expand their power. However he also
volunteered that previous governments had been no better. We never got
to discussing climate change, instead debating whether workers who own
their own factory a more or less efficient and inspired than those
working under capitalism. I don´t think we came to consensus.

My inability to hold a conversation in spanish, combined with the fact
that I am currently travelling alone, means that the people who I get
to talk to at length are all english speaking to some degree and
therefore probably from more privilaged classes. This seems reflected
in opinions expressed to me, for example, the manager of the phone
shop who sorted me out with 3G internet access yesterday – he refered
to Evo as ´crazy´. He offered no further explaination beyond saying
Evo was not good for business and the same as Chavez and Castro.
Conversly, I was told of a great level of support for Evo during a
very clumsy conversation I had with an indigenous lad on the bus
(using a translator appliction on my phone). However he was appaently
equally keen about David Beckham.

Moving on, the only feedback I had about my first post indicated that
I should continue to include the odd irrelevent observation. It´s not
the giant Humvee parked on the pavement and sporting a nice new
scratch – no today´s oddity must surely be the nomerous white guys
around town all wearing identical blue dungarees. For some reason they
reminded me of the Amish. A google search says they are Mennonites.
Some kind of religious community, they migrated from Germany via
Canada and now have colonies in dozens of countries including
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay.

Anyhow, that´s all from me for now. I´ll be on the overnight bus in a
few hours and finally arrive in Cochabamba at around 6am and meet up
with the others. That should mean that this will be the last of my
rambling travel tales as we actually start to generate some more
relevent content and contacts.

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