Title: The 4x4 Culture Location: Santa Cruz De La Sierra, Bolivia
One thing which has certainly struck us about this place is the wealth gap...there certainly is a lot of money here...much of it in the hands of quite young guys...brand new 4x4´s are generally out of reach of people of their age in the UK, never mind in Bolivia where the average income is 2 or 300 US/mth...where does it all come from, I wonder....could be drugs, but there really isn´t much evidence of a drug culture here. This is a working city, certainly a moneyed one, but something doesn´t add up.
What also strikes you here is the different cultural makeup...Santa Cruz is not at altitude like much of the rest of Bolivia, in particular La Paz and Potosi, etc...and the locals certainly do not look like the same people. You do see indigenous people on the streets, but not so many, and they are not the people driving the 4x4s. We were told on a number of occasions that there is little love lost between the two parts of the country, and that the Santa Cruz area was looking to vote on independence of a sort in the near future.
Anyway...this isn´t for us to dwell upon...we´ve really enjoyed the city as a place to come and relax in , as well as a place to go out in the evenings, and also take some Spanish immersion classes and practice speaking with the locals. The balmy weather and bountiful array of bars and restaurants has kept us busy...we even attended a local music bar / restaurant...lovely food (who says Bolivian food is bad...we´ve not seen it yet) and some local songs on acoustic guitar.