We enrolled all three kids in the Boca Juniors camp taking place on the grounds of the Hotel Buganvilla, here in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Boca is the most popular professional soccer club in Argentina with 23 titles.Like their counterparts in Europe, they have developed a regional network of summer camps to develop a fan base. The camp is very low key, with only a few players this week participating. The Bolivian schools are still in session this week and they don’t expect bigger numbers until next week. It will give the boys something to do in the afternoons.
The weather has been as low as 8 degrees celcius (46 F) as June and July are the coldest months for the city. Santa Cruz is 17 degrees south of the equator and firmly in the tropics and much closer to the equator than Miami, but they do get these weather systems coming from Patagonia called “surazos” that bring a damp, cold to the city.
I lived in Santa Cruz, Bolivia from 1997-1999 when I worked as a biology teacher at the Santa Cruz Cooperative School. Coming back to the city always brings back great memories because this is the place where I fell in love with Nadia. We see the places where we first met, the gardens of the Hotel Tajibos where I proposed to her, etc. We have come back every few years since then, the last being in 2007 for the birth of Ocean. The big impression is the incredible growth of the city. The metro area is now up to around 2 million people, that is almost double from when I first arrived in ’97. Most of the growth is internal, as many people are coming from La Paz and Cochabomba. Santa Cruz is the economic capital of the country with lots of jobs in agriculture, petroleum, etc.
We have also noticed a construction boom fueled in part by the increased cocaine trade. The president, Evo Morales, is a former “cocalero” or coca leaf grower, who kicked out the US Drug Enforcement Agency and promoted the planting of coca. He says that coca has many uses including tea, bread, chewing the leaf, etc. Statistics show however, that three times as much land is devoted to coca than the market needs. All that excess coca might be going to illicit drug production and sales. In my opinion, the temporary boost to the economy is good, but with all illegal trade, the violence and crime will soon follow.
I am finally beginning to relax and enjoy time with my family. I’ll try to blog as much as I can about Bolivia and our holidays. Below is the photo of the kids at breakfast the other day.We are trying to improve their Spanish and enjoy the culture and food of Bolivia.