Welcome to the Jungle
Last week I took the horrible 21 hour bus journey down to Rurrenebacque, in order to check out the legendary natural wonders that are contained in the Pampas, the wetlands in the low lying jungle area of Rurre. Here's my story.
After our bus was delayed, I got in at 9.45, past the 9.30 start time of my tour, meaning I had to get a different jeep to the rest of my group. The ride up to the river was a bumpy and hot one, with bits of gravel flying up and hitting the bottom of the car, and loads of dust blowing up every time we overtook a car. We reached a nearby town where I met up with the rest of my group and from there we headed out to the river.
After loading up our bags and food on to the boat we headed down the river, there we saw loads of wildlife, from turtles to alligators, and from birds to capybaras (giant rodents). About half way through we stopped to see a couple of alligators. The guide took us closer and closer, until we were within striking distance. The whole boat thought the guide was crazy, when all of a sudden the alligator dived under water, splashing the entire boat.
Later on we came across a group of monkeys hanging around a tree. One of them climbed on the boat and our guide gave it a banana and dangled the monkey over our heads. We then headed off down the river, seeing pink dolphins along the way before reaching our first stop. There, we relaxed in the hammocks, before we were called for dinner. There I met up with Chewy and Bex, a couple I volunteered with in Pisco, then met up with in La Paz. After dinner we played some cards, during which we heard a large buzzing sound and saw to our horror a massive beetle which must have been at least six inches long. I then headed to bed.
The next morning we woke up at around 8am, and were treated to a surprisingly good breakfast, before heading out to our first activity of the day: anaconda hunting! We got on the boat and after a short ride, we headed into the swamp. Although we all had wellies on, the swamp came up to our knees and we all got our feet wet. After reaching the other side of the pond, the guide found a tree branch to cut down to use to trap the snakes, the we headed on through the surrounding woods. There the guide searched for signs of anacondas. We saw lizards, macaws and even an anaconda egg, but alas no seven metre long snakes!!
We then headed back to base camp, where a hearty lunch was waiting for us. After a bit more relaxing in hammocks, we went out on the river, this time for piranha fishing. We found a place and after being shown the basics, we were off. I think we had found a pretty poor spot and only the guide caught a few sardines, so we headed further downstream. There the guide caught a couple of bigger fish, a couple in our group caught some piranhas and even I caught a small catfish. We then headed further downstream where I caught another tiddler, but had to put it back. We then stopped of at the sole bar in the area for a few beers and a god-awful game of barefoot football with some of the other tour groups.
We then went back to the lodge where we were served up the fish we caught earlier for dinner. After dinner came the surprising wild card of the trip, cayman hunting at night. Only half of our group went and the others really missed out. We set out in the dark and after seeing some alligators' eyes and some fireflies out in the distance, it started to thunder, which was just amazing; there as absolute darkness and then BAM!! You could see everything as clear as day!! The guide stopped off a couple of times, the second time bringing back a baby alligator clutched in his hands. We all held the baby, before he showed us its teeth and his strange webbed throat. We then headed back, not before Stan, one of our group caught a fish in his hand that had jumped out of the water and into the boat!
After that we went back, then some of us hung out by our rooms (the hammocks had been taken by the new group!) before retiring to slumber.
On our final day we woke early and after another good breakfast, we headed out to go swim with dolphins. After riding around in the boat and seeing a handful swimming around, we finally found a spot and had a swim. They didn't come very near us, but it was still nice to cool down in the sweltering heat. After swimming around for a while we got back on the boat and headed back to camp one final time. We packed our stuff and then after lunch, we headed back towards Rurrenebaqcue. After a two hour boat trip and another three hour long jeep trip, we were back in Rurre.
There almost the whole group went back to the same hostel, where we got our laundry done, then headed out to get some food and then a few drinks before falling to our beds.
The next day three Aussies from our group and I headed out to the pool resort Oscars, where went for a swim, played some pool and got some food until we were kicked out. We then headed back to the hostel.
Last Monday I got back on the horribly uncomfortable bus and went back to La Paz where I again met up with my new Aussie friends!!
So yeah that's it, I'm back in La Paz, heading back for Peru soon and then onwards and upwards!! Next stop Arequipa!!!