I must admit that living this close to the Bolivian border had set my imagination alight with endless possibilities of taking a few side trips and exploring what that country had to offer. So when the offer came to visit the nearby town of Puerto Suarez to do a bit of shopping (I had been told this is a much cheaper option than Corumbá), I jumped at the chance. I even dressed for the occasion instead of the weather which was a big mistake upon reflection as the day turned out to be another scorcher. On my shopping list, a belt to hold up all my trousers and skirts which are now two sizes too small, some toiletries and a backpack (muchila).
Our mini-adventure began with the 10 minute journey to border control where we witnessed heavily armed police and crowded queues of people trying to get into the immigration control office to enter Brazil. Once we crossed without too much fuss, paid our toll charge on the Bolivian side, my first impressions did a head long collision with my imagined thoughts of Bolivia. It was so dry and dusty that we had to wind up our windows despite the sweltering heat.
But thank God, this did not last too long. We meandered through the town and made our way on to a single carriageway, Camino a Santiago de Chiquitos, that provided beautiful vistas of the Pantanal. The Bolivian portion is about 10% of the total area of the Pantanal and only 350 metres above sea level but it has a high concentration of flora and fauna.
I was grateful for the mini-stops we made at the eco-tourism viewing gallery, one of the town’s unique churches with its hand-carved doors illustrating the main stories in the bible, and of course the super mercado where all the prices were in Bolivianos and we had to divide by three convert the prices to $Reais. I will let the photos help with the story. Enjoy!
- La tarea (geoamericanista.wordpress.com)