Che captured

Che captured

I left La Higuera thinking it would be an amazing place to spend more time. When you have taken the trouble to come this far driven by the Che factor, you find a sublimely beautiful place, with nearby hot springs, cave paintings, fantastic walks or rides, everything you need to have a great rest (even the espresso).

Retracing my steps to Vallegrande, then to Santa Cruz, I took a five hour bus trip south to Camiri, back to the area where the guerrilla war had started.

(Another  interesting aside.) I had forgotten my phone book in Santa Cruz in the office of Cecilia Kenning, a friend of a friend, who is the director of APA, a cultural NGO promoting music and theatre. Among other things, they run workshops teaching kids, many of them poor Guaranis, to play classical instruments in the Latin American baroque style started hundreds of years ago by the Spanish Jesuit missions to the Chiquitos Indians. The genre has a long tradition and these workshops, along the lines of El Sistema of the Venezuelan Youth Orchestra, is an attempt to keep it alive.

The bus for Camiri had a couple of mishaps on the way and didn’t arrive until 1.30 am. It is an indication of how safe Bolivia is compared to other Latin American countries that I got in a taxi with four unknown blokes and went through a few unlit seedy areas dropping them off until I got to the main square. I had picked the Hostal Londres out of the phone book (name association?) but it turned out to be full, so I went to the Oriente around the corner. The next day, passing the Londres, I saw a plaque outside saying Tania had stayed there. I went in and found a painting of Che over Room No 7. He too had stayed on his way to Ñancahuazú in 1966. (And to think I might have inadvertently slept in it!)

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