There's Nothing Special About Santa Cruz!!!
(Santa Cruz de la Sierra)
The other day someone said to me "there's nothing special about Santa Cruz." Gasp!
Considering I've spent the past fifteen years delving further and further into what can be beautiful and positive about life in Santa Cruz, the comment was painful!
True, Santa Cruz (like any city) has some pretty big problems, some areas that aren't nice looking, urban chaos, growing crime rates, reckless drivers, thoughtless people who don't make the slightest attempt to keep the city clean, etc. True, tourist attractions in Santa Cruz haven't been promoted for 60 years like they have in La Paz, Sucre, Oruro, Potosí and other places. True, you have to have a lot of patience and the tolerance to accept some things you cannot change if you choose to live here. True, Santa Cruz doesn't fit your typical stereotype of the "Andean" Bolivia tourists are so attracted to (mostly because they are unaware that there are other parts of Bolivia to be attracted to).
What is untrue, is that there is nothing special about Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz is a young city and not yet well known. Its tourist attractions (which are many and very beautiful) are also young and not well known (and rarely well promoted). The city and its people are full of little surprises and these surprises are what cause so many of us to fall in love with the region. Santa Cruz doesn't pour its heart out to you all at once.
Santa Cruz is the kind of place you want to have a good and lasting relationship with. It's not a rush-in-rush-out tourist area where you only get to know what's on the surface. (Unless the surface is all you're interested in getting to know).
Don't get me wrong. I happen to be a very visual person. I take everything in with my eyes, so I get it! I really do! But I always keep in mind that behind the bursts of color, scents and sounds, there is life worth knowing more about.
If like me, you're the type of person who is into really learning about and truly experiencing places and people...then expect Santa Cruz to seduce you slowly. It's when you choose to open yourself to the possibility that you'll find there is so much more than meets the eye.