Published: May 3rd 2012April 30th 2012
The group changed directions in Sucre with Paul and Alana going off into the jungle to work with animals and Ian and Frankie staying in Sucre for more Spanish lessons. Ian and Francis both did home stays, Ians Spanish teacher was more than happy with their 1 on 1 lessons!!! After a week Ian caught the bus to the party town of La Paz where later we were to find out that he had gained some sort of 'god' status. Frankie was not too far behind Ian, although she did do a stop over in the jungle to visit us. Alana and Paul...
We left sucre and caught a bus driven by a Bolivian maniac to Cochabamba with our new English friends, Lissa and Bo. We spent two days looking at the markets before catching yet another extremely frightening mini bus through the mountainous fog to Villa Tunari, four hours west of Cochabamba, where the Andes meet the Amazon. We stayed in a cool clifftop hostel that looked out over the river and the jungle. We made it to the animal refuge where we had planned to do 2 weeks volunteering with Bolivian animals...
Paul was placed in the Veterinary Clinic where he was to work with 34 Capachin monkeys (at various stages of mental rehabilitation....one monkey had been saved from a bar in South America where people were paying to punch it in the face, another was a pickpocketer ect.....) and paul also worked with the vets who could not speak english, however they got on really well. The monkeys slept in cages at night and then in the morning paul and his new found friend Pete would take most of them out, put them on leashes and then connect them to wires so they could run and play. 11 hours work a day and lots of poo cleaning kept the boys entertained but they spent hours playing with the monkeys and breaking up fights.
Alana, and our English friend Bo, worked with large birds of prey, Macaws, small Amazonas birds, Toucans, Turtles and Tortoises, 250 animals in total. Most of the birds had been saved from cages not big enough to allow them to extend their wings at all. Some were friendly enough to have sitting on your shoulder or arm the whole day but others were too rattled by
their previous experiences to come near humans at all. The refuge had an amazing dog named Cheripa who would stay by the birds all day and protect them from wild monkeys that would come down from the forest canopy and try to kill the birds. She did not get fed any food by the family she stayed with at night so we would sneak her food everyday.
It was a great experience and we met many good friends and have a wide range of funny stories to tell. We bonded with the animals and it was sad leave but the travel gods were calling so we shouldered out backpacks and started our long trip to La Paz.
After hours and hours on bolivian 'devil' buses, we finally made it to La Paz. The animal refuge was 30degrees and when we got into La Paz it was 0....soooooo cold. We met up with Frankie and Ian and thousands of other tourists. It took a while to adjust from our 'jungle' lifestyle to the hectic pace of a major city but we were soon checking out the sights and mingling with the crowds. We went to the witches market and
saw dried Llama fetises and weird potions, went to the highest Mirrador to see the view of the city, tried our luck getting into South Americas weirdest jail 'San Pedro Prison' and of course..........went shopping. After a week in La Paz it was time to leave so we headed off to Lake Titicaca.
Lake Titi was beautiful. Ian was still in La Paz but we met up with friends we had met along the way...Franchesca, Laura, Pete and Richie. We took a giant swan paddel boat for a spin on the lake, had some nice trout and headed over to the Isla del sol Island where the Inca gods were created. We saw some ancient ruins and heaps of Llamas. Our time in Bolivia was drawing to a close but we still needed to get through the border as we were 10 days over our visa..................................................
There are more photos below