I was supposed to give Hernan’s friend Jose a call, the guy who is working for a motorbike shop in Santa Cruz and highly knowledgable. In fact I had the choice between several people who were offering me their support but I trusted Hernan and so I had Jose on the phone, the first thing I did in the morning.
A nice young fella told me to be able to help me and sent me a way description to his store where he would be already waiting for me. I typed in the address in my navigation system and started to fight my way through the rush hour in Santa Cruz. If people warned me already for the traffic in Brazil, the Bolivian people easily topped everything I saw so far. There are no rules to obey and everyone follows the first comes, first serves principles. Sometimes people would be honking their horns, just to tell people they will be driving first – what they apparently also do then. I am wondering what happens if two guys are following the same strategy… hmmm… 😀 Anyways, besides honking it is also popular to give hand signs or the high beam. At the beginning I thought people are very kind and want me to drive first. Apparently, in Bolivia it is exactly the opposite. Everything people are doing is to tell others: “Hey, here I come. You better get off my way!”
Finally arriving at the motorbike store, a young 25 year old guy was kindly welcoming me. Jose studied for a while in the US and could sympathise with my situation in a country where one does not speak the language. Jose was in a similar situation and just because he knew only a couple of words in English at first, he ordered for one month nothing else but Pizza and Chicken, lol. I could see myself when I started my trip in Brazil, where I did not know the local specialities either. I had plenty of Pizza as well, lol. By the way, the Pizza in Brazil can easily compete with the one from Italy… Incredible!!!
We went straight together to the BMW dealer where he knew everyone and we went straight to the mechanics without losing time at the reception. They had the spare parts I needed besides the headlight protector and the windshield and I left my motorbike with them in order to fix the side panels and one of the broken plastic parts at the front. Meanwhile, we went to another accessories shop where they had the windshield I needed. PERFECT! After that we went back again to the BMW dealer, dropped off the accessory and continued our way to a mobile phone provider to fix my local SIM card which did not work until so far. After waiting 10 minutes, I had to pay 100 Bolivianos and TADAAAA… I had 4G connection again.
Everything went just so smooth and I asked Jose to drop me off at my hotel in order to get some rest, before we would continue our evening with a nice dinner in town. Hernan intended to bring his family along and together with Jose we should have an amazing evening. Unfortunately, this was just the plan and Hernan had to cancel our dinner due to important meetings he had with his boss. Instead of telling me via a text message or by phone, he suddenly came to the hotel just to say personally good bye again. I was deeply impressed by the hospitality, friendship and support of the Bolivians and especially those guys! I was deeply grateful for their help and made my life very easy this day.
Later on I picked up my motorbike at the dealer which was standing there in perfect shape. They fixed all the damages and even gave it a nice clean wash which it really needed after the last days of dirt road riding. People at BMW could also speak very well English and we exchanged contact details in case I needed any help from them. Great guys!
Thereafter, we went to the city centre and to the Plaza of 24th of September, which is a beautiful and very laid back square where the whole town is coming together to either drink coffee, play chess, hang out on one of the many benches, to go to church or to do many other activities. Apparently, they offer the best coffee in town and we asked one of the local coffee vendors dressed in a chic white suite to pour us two cups. Even though the coffee was very sweet, I highly enjoyed the hot drink and burned my mouth of course because I simply could not wait for 5 minutes. Lovely!
Furthermore, we checked out the “Irish Pub” which my friend Fabii recommended and where I was first quite sceptical. Usually, those are the places to binge drink and to get drunk before 10 pm in the evening. Not here… it was a classical bar/restaurant with many people sipping fresh fruit juices and having local speciality dishes. We just had fruit frappes since we decided to have something to eat at one of the rooftop restaurants with a breathtaking view on the cathedral which was shining in beautiful orange colours. We ordered a dish called Pique Macho, basically a combination of very tasty meat, churasco and fries. A bomb!!!! This was definitely not the last time I ordered this dish…. what a delight.
It was the perfect end for a highly efficient day… I felt like on vacation from my vacation, took off my motorbike boots and socks and enjoyed a beer at a warm summer night in Santa Cruz. Perfecto!!!!!