I decided to take the Amazsonas plane from La Paz to Rurrenabaque instead of the 20 hour bus through winding treacherous roads!It was only a 40 minute flight and a very nice one at that - with great views of the mountains around La Paz along the way.At the airport I met Alicia, an American, & Phil, her British boyfriend and stayed at the Hostal Oriental with them & booked a pampas tour w/ them through Fluvial tours.It was hard to get used to the heat after being cold for so long!I had a nice walk around the little town of Rurrenabaque though and got ready for the next day's adventure!
Alicia, Phil & I were joined by a French girl, an Israeli girl, & 2 Korean guys who didn't speak English on a 3 hour hot, bumpy jeep ride to get to lunch at a restaurant w/ a pet monkey.The monkey & pig were both picking on the little dog- pulling his ears, etc.It was the weirdest thing I have ever seen!After lunch we went to the dock, met our guide, Domingo and got in the boat to look for animals.Luckily w/ the breeze it wasn't too hot.We saw a lot of alligators, some river dolphins, monkeys, king fishers, white egrets, blue herons, javerus (related to the stork), hoatzins (from my rainforest video!), and a bunch of smaller birds that were too quick to photograph.We dropped our stuff off at the cabin and then went to the sunset bar to watch the sunset.That night the bugs were out of control!It was so disconcerting!Thank God for the mosquito net but I still got a good 20 bites before bedtime, sigh…I woke up several times in the night because of the paper thin mattress but didn't see or feel any bugs so it wasn't too bad.
The next day we headed out around 9am to find an anaconda and saw a capuchin monkey from the boat in the trees along the way.We sloshed through the swamp in our rubber boots and it was quite difficult, getting caught on the vines everywhere.It was hot and difficult walking and just as we joined up w/ another group our guide, Domingo, found an anaconda.It was a female, only about 2 meters, but weighed 10 kilos or so.He picked it up and started wrapping it around people's arms.It was pretty cool and the guide asked me if I wanted to give it a kiss.I declined of course!I also remembered that horrible smell that was now on my arm!Afterwards he told us a lot about the anaconda - that it was the only snake that ingested its eggs after laying them in order to keep them safe.After lunch we had 2 hours for a nice siesta in the hammocks then went to swim with the river dolphins.Finally, where there was a strong current we saw quite a few so Phil got in first.I finally got in the water and it was pretty chilly but not too bad.I did see some dolphins while I was in the water but didn't get any pics w/them - too hard!On the way back to camp in the boat we saw a black eagle, a royal eagle and lots of hoatzins along the way.We went to a different sunset bar to charge up batteries & my computer then went back on the boat for the night tour which was basically just spotting red alligator eyes.They were a little hard to see but I did see quite a few of them in addition to the amazing starry sky & the fire flies and a few bats.Luckily that night since it was cooler there weren't as many bugs - thank God!!I was still itchy from my other bites though!
I slept OK despite the rain.At least I wasn't hot!There was obviously no reason to get up for the sunrise but we did have a great breakfast of a papaya, banana, apple fruit salad & scrambled eggs that were dry enough to eat!On our way to piranha fishing we saw capybara!!When we went piranha fishing I was the only one who didn't catch anything - of course!Oh well - everyone else caught some and we had the 3 different kinds fried up for lunch - yellow, red & white - hardly any meat since they are so small, but tasty.The boat ride back to Santa Cruz was cold, wet, & quiet.I saw a TON of hoatzins but couldn't photo them since we were moving too fast & it was misting.When we got to the landing site everything was full of mud!Our driver was excellent and although it was a little scary at times he did a great job getting us back to Rurrenabaque.It was a quiet night, getting ready for tomorrow's jungle tour.