Welcome back to the third and final part of our Amazonian adventure!
This episode takes you through our second day and night and the return trip home, so without further adoo....
A bright and early start has us had a good breakfast and ready to go by 8. Not before having undertaken the horrible Celtic task of 'Slathering Up'. I know this is not the nicest of phrases, but it is apt. After putting on our base layer of factor 30 so as not to offend the sun with our paly-waly-ness, we then put a thin, but very oily layer of 100% Deet on to keep the bites away. It makes up for a concoction of greasy layering comparable only to the inside of a Chinese Takeaway pan after sitting for an unwashed hour. Moving on...
We go for a morning hike which is full of stuff that included Red Howler monkeys that were just as inquisitive as before, an innocent-looking plant that in it's top leaves housed your every-day garden verity poisonous spider, and our little chap who starred on the cover of the previous blog.
The highlight, however, came on the return trip. With Rich leading, me in the middle and Kim bringing up the rear we were in relative peace, until I hear this frantic shaking. I turn to see Kim doing what can only be described as a hybrid between an Irish Jig, a Scottish Highland Fling and an English Morris Dance as she is stomping her feet, kicking her legs and slapping her thighs. I just about held my laugh as she was looking very distressed shouting 'there's something in my trousers and it's biting me!!!!'. I can only imagine her childhood trauma was coming back to haunt her when she was covered in ants from head to toe.
Rich walked on, turned his back and told her to take her trousers off. I shrouded her dignity and while there was poor little Kim, standing in the middle of the Amazon in her pants with her trousers at her feet doing a merry little jig I couldn't help think 'ah, I'm so proud!'
To be fair she had been bitten a few times and she trouped on, but it was a chuckle.
After getting to camp we had lunch an the whole place to ourselves as the Yanks had left. We had a few hours till our next trip at 4 (it's so hot you do nothing in the afternoon) so we retired to the hammocks. Kim ordered me to the bar and knowing my place I did as was told, returning with two cold beers and setting up the candid caption Kim now surprisingly proudly parades as her MyFace pic!
After our decadent lounge we readied ourselves for the excursions - advise the lagoon and up to a lookout point. After paddling our way to the other side in a wooden canoe we marched up a hill. Along the trail at the top we grounded to a halt - as our path crossed with another poisonous resident, this time some variety of green snake. Kim got a good look but I missed it and it wasn't until our return trip that the same guy was there an I got a look.
After the snake we reached a wooden construction among the trees the reached up into an opening. The wind was strong and causing a lot of creaking to be going on, but upwards me and Kim climbed, leaving Rich behind! We were keen for the view, and even if he wasn't, me and Kim had seen the wonders of Incan engineering and had faith in his peoples' work. And what a reward! We seen right across the lagoon, over the trees for miles and miles, right to the border of Madidi Park, marked by a ridge of mountains still covered in jungle. The stark contrast between the deep green of the jungle and light blue of the sky, with a white moon topping it all was unbelievable. We never had a camera but it would have been worthless as there was no way to do justice to it.
Rich joined for a bit but the wee beasties were out in force and the wind was really blowing so we retreated to a more secluded spot for a chat and a sit-down. We spent an hour getting to know him and his people while enjoying the view. It's amazing that these folk could make a lot of money but aren't interested. All they want is to work, have food and shelter and live in nature. Quite humbling.
After making the short trip back we decided to take the opportunity and swim in the lake. I mean, how often would we get the chance to say we swam with Piraña!?! This I think was Kim's highlight as it really was such a paradise with the clear sky, the moon, the spotless lake and the place so still apart from us and the jungle.
After dinner we embarked on out night trip on the lake to go in search of the Black Cayman. Now, I'm not quite sure what Kimbo was expecting but when the boat arrived among the trees overhanging the lake, she seemed rather startled to see this monster just lying so still and teethy right beside the boat. I say startled, I actually mean s***ting herself.
We floated around seeing a few more chaps along the way before heading back and settling in for a wee Family Guy on the iPod and then sleep.
The next day started early for a much shorter trip down the river with the flow. The scenery again was spectacular, made all the better by the cloud rolling in over the mountain. But Kim rightly pointed out - 'They look ominous for our flight!'
A spot of lunch before hitting Rerrenbaque airport, I say airport but you know what I mean. We never even had to show a passport! See pics.
At least this time the old field-for-a-runway was dry enough for us to get directly onto what was an absolute sweatbox. It made the Celtic slathering ritual look tame!! Anyway, a few short minutes and we were away, AC on!
The flight was smooth and clear until them clouds came back to bite us in the ass. Getting up through them to clear the snow-capped Andes was tough enough, I even took some pics to document where we were as our last sight, if you can make them out. But the descent was horrific. I was too distracted to document it, let's just say there were more than a few 'Jesus, Mary and Holy St Josephs' bein said!!!!
Then my thoughts again turned to Neil 'Top Gun' Walker and his explanation that these wee planes take more skill to fly than the more electronically-aided big 777 eg. We then hoped they were as good as you.
To be fair though, the guys were earning their crust for those last 20mins. And as the plane jolted up and down, then the backed slid and skewed as if skidding in mid-air, they again brought us to an above-Ryanair-standard landing at 3600m above sea level in torrential rain and wild cross winds. But then came the skidding on terra-ferma! But the same guys who were acting like jocks in the airport brought it under control and we made the gate. They even had a wee guy at the stairs handing out umbrellas - sleazyjet take note.
So, that was us in La Paz again and our amazing Amazon adventure over. We got to see and experience so much (tho I was disappointed not to have caught a glimpse of this mythical Glamazon) and we'd just like to extend a massive Thank You to everyone again and hope the blog got across what a wonderful time we really had.
We had to catch an overnight bus to Sucre where I never got a chance to upload the blog, so we are now in Uyuni ready to make another trip to the Salt Flats. It's now 23rd Jan and may not be till the 26th before you get this an the pics due to wilderness and lack of wifi - yep Ros, I'm very annoyed!
See you all in Chile!!!