Sorry for the delay in getting this out but as you can see from the pic and location we left 'civilisation' some time ago and after journeys etc this is the first op for writin.
So excuses out of the way, let me start by saying a massive HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my wee big sis Orla! Hope Biddles spoiled you and you may have even got an excuse to use your present! Also hope he is lookin after you and the bump! and before I get in trouble say Happy Birthday to Milo too!
While on the subject, this may be goin out on a special day for Dad too so just want to let you know we are still thinking of everyone over this end of the world. Sure he would be chugged with all our exciting happenings lately.
Speaking of exciting-ness, I believe wee Murphy has been ill. Glad she is on the mend and hope her big bro is looking after her. And hope everyone else is doing good.
Before I move on I would just like to say a MASSIVE THANK YOU to everyone's generosity at our wedding. We wrote to you promising to do something exciting with it, and we did! We decided to splurge on a four-day trip to the Amazon! It started with flying from La Paz to a small town called Rurrenbaque. After an overnight in a hotel there was a boat trip up the Tuichi river to the Madidi National Park where we would stay two nights in the plush Challalan Lodge ran by a local indigenous community before flying back to La Paz. This blog entry will be over three instalments as there is so much to put in and I want to be as detailed as possible.
So, to the update on all-things Amazonian. Ros, did you introduce your sister to the term 'Glamazon'? I had never heard of such a thing, but was tortured for four days trying to spot one! Well, that is not the end of the wildlife stories but lete start with the airport...
We got to La Paz airport and after checking in (and given a free drink voucher for a local pub at destination) we were goin thru security when I was unusually stopped. After scanning my bag twice the guard approached me and asked 'is this your bag Sir?' (which I had deciphered from my mastery of the Spanish language since Maddy left). 'Si' was the response. I opened the bag and as the guy was waggling his index and middle fingers Kim worked out I must have scissors. I thought they were in another bag when Kim realised there was a pair in my 1st Aid Kit. I took them out and handed them over. The guard called his pal to show him. I started packing up when the guard HANDED THEM BACK! I couldn't even get away with toothpaste in Belfast but I was casually allowed these? Read on...
The airport was small and cleared quickly to leave only me and the Kimbo as the only passengers for a few hours before the rest of our flight arrived 10mins before boarding our vessel, and what a vessel! I quickly realised why I was allowed the sharp object-this thong looked like it was gonna crash by itself!
I then drifted into thinking of you Neilly-boy (and couldnt help doing the googles impression with my hands) and both me and Kim said we hope they were as good pilots as you.
The pic shows some of the story - one seat on each side of the plane, 19 in total. No air hostess, no drinks cart, not even a safety briefing! But up she went and we got over the Andes pretty handy. After a bit of turbulence on the way down I remembered the runway was Supposed to be a field and I would never slag Ryanair again, but I was too quick. Rurrenbaque had upgraded to asphalt! And to be fair the guys gave a better landing than any Ryanair fall from the skies.
I was lookin forward to air roughly resembling pea soup since our time at altitude but was sorely mistaken. As soon as we clambered out of the tin tube we were hit with heat and humidity I can't describe. I hid under the shelter of the wing while we waited for the bus to take us to the main terminal down the old field-for-a-runway (usually the plane taxis there but as there was rain that morning they couldn't risk the plane gettin stuck!).
The bus got us anyway and after a bit we were at our nice but, em, rustic, hotel. Eventhough we had to share a bathroom with some local wildlife (see pic, note: no examples of Glamazons were found in the shower at any time).
We bumped into some friends of Lynsey and Steves who we spent Kim's lifetime achievement on Death Road with for dinner and to redeem our drinks voucher. (PS - Ros, how cool is it that we were on Top Gear territory - Woohoo!)
The next day we were set for the jungle! But as I'm aware of the need to keep the economy moving I will no-longer hold you from your work. Please see next instalment for further adventure (let's just say me and Kim's commuting continues in style!)
Before i do go, I'm writing this on a bus. We have just stopped to pick up some randoms from the side of the road and just seen Joe Carberry's Bolivian cousin on the side of the road! - smartly dressed, glasses perched on the nose, standing back quietly watching. Was too slow to get pic tho, sorry.