I wouldn’t particularly recommend Santa Cruz in Bolivia. But then I wouldn’t really know. I had one day where I walked through the centre and took some photos. Then later that night the results started to trickle in from the Brexit referendum and I was so overwhelmed by depression I just sat indoors, endlessly refreshing my news feeds and leaving my room only for meals.
When I emerged again four days later, the weather had turned damp and overcast and I only had two days left.
There’s few things worse than getting sick whilst you’re travelling. At home I can sit in and lick my wounds, gather friends around and that kind of thing. Here I had no alternative than to just get on with it, however much I felt like just hiding away.
Anyway, onwards and upwards. As I come close to my one-year-of-travelling anniversary, it is time to enter my eighth country (ninth if you include Uruguay), and I am now in Brazil.
Brazil was not part of my original plan. In part this was because one of my main ambitions for the trip was to learn Spanish, and in Brazil they speak Portuguese. I have been trying to teach myself a few phrases in Portuguese, using youtube, but I’m having trouble remembering them and keep reverting automatically back into Spanish. I’d gotten used to being able to communicate with the locals; now I’m finding this sudden lack of a common language quite isolating.
However I’ve met so many people on my travels who have raved about Brazil that I thought I should put it into my itinerary and give it a try anyway.
I couldn’t find a definitive answer as to whether I needed a return/onward ticket to get into Brazil; some people say you do, but that could just be because they are Americans.
In the end I went for a little travel hack where you pay $10 to ‘borrow’ a ticket for 24 hours (a ticket is booked in your name and you then show this to the airline and the border guards or anyone who demands to see it). Then after 24 hours, because you haven’t paid for it, the airline cancels the ticket, but you should be safely in the country by then so it doesn’t matter.
Of course nobody demanded to see one, so I needn’t have bothered. In fact British passport holders don’t even need to fill in a landing card for Brazil (thanks to our wonderful European passports that we have just voted away). It took her less than thirty seconds to scan my passport and stamp me in for ninety days.
Anyway I have a pretty full itinerary planned for the next month or so, meandering my way up the coast. Let’s see how Brazil treats me.