Between Puerto Suarez, Bolivia and Corumba, Brazil.
Between Puerto Suarez, Bolivia and Corumba, Brazil.
Between Puerto Suarez, Bolivia and Corumba, Brazil.
Between Puerto Suarez, Bolivia and Corumba, Brazil.
First of all, I apologize for the delay in writing this post. I had some technical difficulties with the internet cutting out as I was saving this draft and thus losing all of my draft posts.
Now here is my post about this past weekend:
       My first weekend in Bolivia (Aug 3rd & 4th) was spent on the border between Bolivia and Brazil. Specifically, we travelled to Puerto Suarez, Bolivia and Corumbá, Brazil. That region is nicknamed El Pantanal, which is derived from the Portuguese word for wetland or swamp. The region that encompasses the borders Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay is all natural wetland and covers an area that is estimated to be between 140 000 and 195 000 square kilometres!
       Most of the day on Saturday was spent travelling to Puerto Suarez from Santa Cruz de la Sierra by bus. It was approximately a 7.5 hour journey, but because it was during the day time, we were able to see some of the country side. (I’ll post some of those pictures later on.)
       After arriving in Puerto Suarez, we rented a car and drove over to Corumbá, Brazil. You would think that given we’re going to a different country there would be security, border control or patrols. I’m imagining something along the lines of the Canadian-American border. But quite honestly, there was essentially nothing. We had to drive through a zig-zag pattern created from pylons and drove between a few of buildings that were labeled “Military Police” but most of them were boarded up. The couple of people we did see standing outside the buildings were busy watching soccer on the TV.
       After reaching the hotel and checking in, we had a wonderful dinner at Restaurante Laço de Ouro before turning in for the night.
       Most of Sunday morning and early afternoon was spent sightseeing the Plantanal region, both the Bolivian and Brazilian sides. (See pictures that are attached to this post). Got to see some beautiful scenery and enjoy the wonderful weather. Later in the afternoon was the event that the director of FTE was invited to participate in (aka: the main reason of the trip).
       Among other things, FTE is involved with supporting would be entrepreneurs. The event we attended was a “Start-Up Festival”. Over the course of the weekend, approximately 50 potential start-ups have a chance to be mentored and guided by various professionals (marketing, branding, investors, established entrepreneurs etc). By Sunday afternoon, the top 10 start-ups get to present their final pitch to a trio of judges and advisors (one of them was the FTE director). The top three win the opportunity to work with the local university’s entrepreneurship department and will get additional support and mentoring from the professionals. It was very interesting to see, although I didn’t understand much. I’m starting to slowly understand Spanish but this whole weekend was in Portuguese. Difficult to comprehend but fun to watch (and then get a recap in English afterwards).
       Once the event wrapped up, we had a wrap up dinner, once again at Restaurante Laço de Ouro before heading back to the bus station in Puerto Suarez. This time, we took an overnight bus back to Santa Cruz de la Sierra, arriving back early Monday morning.