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Roving Wild Little adventures through this bea-U-tiful planet of ours :)

Las Pampas

BOLIVIA | Thursday, 12 July 2007 | Views [1982] | Comments [2]

Oh wow. So much to say. Okay, so it started Sunday. I awoke at 5am (on 5 hours of sleep, of course) and hopped into the taxi my travel agent had sent. Waited in the airport until almost 8 when me and some other tourists (including 2 Quebec girls and a Toronto guy! CANADIANS! FINALLY!) boarded an 18-seat plane. The flight was only 45 minutes, and at one point we looked out the window to see a mountain peak less than 100 meters from the wing!

We landed in a small field surrounded by misty rainforest, and the humidity hits you the second you land. We all piled into a small bus and were taken into Rurrenabaque, waited until eleven for the tour people to organize us into groups, and then climbed into some cramped combis/minibuses, 5-8 people per bus. Now we expected this to be a 10-minute drive. We drove onto the worst road I have EVER been on (we were literally driving in the ditch half the time just because it was less bumpy), in 30 or 35 degree heat and humidity so thick you were searching for oxygen. Then we learned it's a 3 hour drive to get to the river!!

Dust clouds blew up every few minutes, and of course it was so hot we needed the windows open so massive amounts of dust would suck into the car, cover your clothes and seats, then suck back out. Let me just say I had done laundry the day before, wore my jeans only for the one ride, and they had to be washed again when I got back to La Paz today. Soo dirty.

But we made it, and in the afternoon we got to a river where all of us loaded our backpacks and the coolers our guides brought into long motorized boats, then sat back and relaxed for our hour-long ride downstream. After a while, we stopped at a bend in the river, and were surprised to see oh yes, the pink dolphins! They come up and go down fast, but there were at least 5 or 6 of them in the bend! So we flipped off our dusty clothes (having come prepared with swimsuits) and dove in!

Swam for an hour or so, cooling off and admiring the fact that these dolphins were swimming within 5 feet of us, back in the boat, more driving. We passed countless crocodiles basking on shore in the heat, capybaras drinking from the river, birds of paradise (I really dislike those things...they're so loud and clumsy and aggressive with each other and they're just like chickens who live in trees), and just before we arrived at camp

monkeys.

MONKEYS!!!!!

I totally was not expecting that! The guide pulled up to shore underneathe on of the trees and about 5 of these tiny, baby-faced yellow monkeys clambered down the tree branches in curiosity. One actually got in our boat and ate a banana out of the girl next to me's hand, just inches from me! They were the sweetest little creatures I've ever seen in my life! That right there was one of the prime experiences of this entire South America trip.

At night we left and, using flashlights, got to watch alligators feeding as we sat safely in our boat. Fireflies lit up like little gold stars, filling the treetops, and you have no idea how many stars there really are until you're out in complete darkness. It was the most peace I can remember ever feeling. We spent the night at camp in blanketless beds (it's so hot) under mosquito nets, then woke up at 5 to float silently down river (it was like everyone had a sudden respect for the moment, no one moved, no one spoke) to a field where we watched the sunrise. It was perfect.

Good breakfast of fried bread, fruit salad, jam, regular bread, donuts, and juice, then we were off to wander the wetlands for a couple of hours. Found an anaconda and everyone stood taking pictures and taking turns holding it, but this was one of the worst parts in my opinion. It felt so exploitive...I almost cried. It wa just ridiculous, over a dozen people hovering around this poor beautiful snake with their cameras flashing, holding it for pictures...not cool. I hated it. But it was relatively short and he was released back into the grass, and we walked back for a siesta, then piraña fishing! Again, didn't fish myself, but it was catch-and-release so I didn't have a problem with it :D

On the way back to Rurrenabaque yesterday afternoon, after leaving our boat we found out there's a road blockade. The people living in Santa Rosa, a village 2 hours before Rurrenabaque, are holding a protest; they're roads get flooded, they have no phone line, no communication, and they're sick of it. So since Rurre's mayor (who also looks over Santa Rosa by my understanding) is not giving them that and pours all of the money into Rurre, they're blocking Rurre's source of income- tourism.

So by the time we arrived back in Rurre, after walking and hitchhiking and eventually finding our jeep, I had missed my flight. Spent the night there, caught my flight this morning (from a military airport, since the normal flights couldn't take off due to clouds), and now I am back in La Paz!

Oh I wish I could describe all of this better for you! It was incredible! And during those peaceful moments (the night boatride, the sunrise, laying in bed listening to thousands of crickets and pampas birds), it sort of reawakened that part of me I'd been forgetting, that part that was so connected with an interested in nature, and cared so much about animals. So it's redesigned my trip:

Tomorrow book my tour for the salt flats in Uyuni. The next day do the tour (2 nights, 3 days). Then I'm going over to Cochabamba and volunteering at Inti Warayassi wild animal refuge for 2-3 weeks. I'm so excited! Then I'll just continue on, go party in Argentina for a week or two, head back up to Ecuador, and do a rainforest tour for 5 days or so.

 

Tags: Adventures

Comments

1

Wow, what a trip. Thanks for writing so much detail. You freak me out sometimes. Love ya loads.

  Mommy Jul 13, 2007 2:15 AM

2

i felt like i was there with you the way you wrote it. im glad to hear that your doing so well hunny. it all sounds so exciting. Again be safe, i love you and God bless.

  Laurie Joyce Jul 16, 2007 11:14 AM

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