Bolivia

The final frontier (Drive Day 197: Jan 12, 2004)

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Crossing into Argentina is an attitude check I still need. However rough we think we have it, a border reminds you how lucky you are.

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The crossing point into Aguas Calientes, Argentina takes three hours to negotiate, and that’s if you’re an American with valid papers and cash to spread around. We’re the only ones with the luxury of choice, not forced to make this crossing just to survive. I’ve written about borders before and hope this little video is a window on human strength and courage.

 

Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa. Like travel anthologies? I’m in a brand new one called Alone Together: Tales of Sisterhood and Solitude in Latin America which you can get here.

My childhood camper’s hideout (Drive Day 196: Jan 11, 2004)

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0111d.jpgSpoiler alert – if you never want to know if we find the camper that was my childhood home, click out of this post before it ruins the book’s ending. The marketing team at Hachette is probably wincing right now, worried you won’t buy the book because you know what happens. But I’m betting that if daily posts along the Pan-American Highway didn’t rope you in you’d never buy a book anyway.

0111c.jpgSo here it is. The final resting spot of the camper my father built to take his wounded family to the end of the world. Or at least to the end of the road. This camper never made it to Tierra del Fuego, where the Pan-American crosses its finish line, but the absence of my little brother John John is what I feel the most when I open its creaky door and look inside.

0111b.jpgThe emotions are overwhelming, and freeing. And the best part is knowing that the camper still has a purpose. Seasonal workers take shelter in it during harvest season. It’s guarded over by a family that could have been mine.  All over the world, as travel teaches, we are all more alike than different.

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Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa. Like travel anthologies? I’m in a brand new one called Alone Together: Tales of Sisterhood and Solitude in Latin America which you can get here.

Butch and Sundance Country (Drive Day 195: Jan 10, 2004)

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0110.jpgYou’ve seen the movie, and so had my father. Which partially explains his fascination with this outlaw-friendly part of Bolivia. But I find Boyuibe, Bolivia desolate and depressing.

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0110b.jpgIt’s just up the road from the town claiming to be the last shootout of the two American bank robbers with none of the tourists. Which makes it just another dismal railroad stop north of Argentina and west of Paraguay. If I ever rob banks, remind me never to hide out here.

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Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa. Like travel anthologies? I’m in a brand new one called Alone Together: Tales of Sisterhood and Solitude in Latin America which you can get here.

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Welcome to Che’s last stand (Drive Day 194: Jan 9, 2003)

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My father remembers selling the camper somewhere near railroad tracks, hours south of Santa Cruz, near military barracks and a town he pronounces Amari. When we cross into the desolate outpost of Camari I realize this is the place he’s thinking of.

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0109c.jpgBack in 1974, we had no idea Camari is famous, among a certain group of Che-trail followers. It isn’t the glamorous setting of the “Motorcycle Diaries” stage of the revolutionary’s storied life – that was earlier, and much further south, in Argentina. Camari’s military club is where he was reportedly tortured before meeting his end, and a more miserable place to die is hard to imagine.

0109d.jpgI’m not convinced of the folk hero status accorded him by modern hipsters, but there is something sad, even haunting, about the death of a movement that once had so much potential.

Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa. Like travel anthologies? I’m in a brand new one called Alone Together: Tales of Sisterhood and Solitude in Latin America which you can get here.

Floating home: Bolivian balnearios (Drive Day 193: Jan 8, 2004)

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0107.jpgHip travelers from Europe, Canada and South America are catching on to Santa Cruz and you can find luxury Hilton digs with stunning views over a city coming into its own. We, however, come with our own house attached to our truck.

 

 

Thankfully Santa Cruz is also home to what Bolivians call balnearios. The closest thing in the US would be a waterpark/resort swimming pool complex, only we don’t have anything close to how awesome balnearios are.

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Especially not to the one that agrees to let us camp overnight in the shade of mango trees: Fabio Andres.

0107b.jpgBolivia is starting to feel like a magnet of meant-to-be karma. Because the owners here actually know the family my parents sold my childhood home to – thirty years ago.

 

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Forget the untamed macho Bolivia that attracted my father, the Fabio Andres swimming complex is a magical oasis that makes you believe you really can go home again.

Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa. Like travel anthologies? I’m in a brand new one called Alone Together: Tales of Sisterhood and Solitude in Latin America which you can get here.

Roads to ruin (Drive Day 192: Jan 7, 2004)

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0108c.jpgI have stopped making notes of the almost daily truck or bus accidents we drive past in Bolivia – overturned wrecks are as common as the stay dogs we’ve nicknamed “kilometer markers” warming themselves on the asphalt. But I haven’t visualized our own truck dangling over a ledge until this “detour” along a highway that apparently washed out or ran out of construction money.

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We actually follow a semi over a single-gauge train trestle to cross a river. I remember to roll video, until I have to get out and walk backward, guiding Gary between the planks.

Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa. Like travel anthologies? I’m in a brand new one called Alone Together: Tales of Sisterhood and Solitude in Latin America which you can get here.

Santa Cruz surprise (Drive Day 191: Jan 6, 2004)

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0106aThis city was an outpost when I saw it last. But modern Santa Cruz slides by my window in a stream of diesel exhaust and sagging telephone lines. I can’t keep up with the hustle but I’m clearly not the only one.

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For travelers, this is the Houston of Bolivia – oil the latest of its natural riches.

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I find the woman’s house whose backyard we camped in thirty years ago. But it feels like the past is crumbling under progress and I’m wishing there was a signature drink to go with this Wild East city.

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Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa. Like travel anthologies? I’m in a brand new one called Alone Together: Tales of Sisterhood and Solitude in Latin America which you can get here.