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Published: January 6th 2009
Another friend we met in the night.
Unlike other individuals, three days in the Pampas fueled my desire to see more jungle. Many people consider the Pampas to not be real jungle, and indeed, it is not. However, of my fellow Pampas explorers, Ido was the only one brave (or should I say, foolish) enough to accompany me. In the beginning, as we planned our jungle adventure, we decided on seven days. Three days seemed too short, and only involved day hikes from a lodge, and twenty seemed far too long. So, as any reliable and responsible traveler does, we spent our second day back in Rurre visiting agencies to compare prices.
We soon discovered that visits to the jungle were variable. One could trek for as many days as they so chose, in many regions in what turned out to be several parks. Madidi, Pirlon Lajas, and Alto Madidi were the local choices. The more we learned, the more ten days appealed to us. We were not so hardy (or rich)as to endure three weeks trekking, but ten days began to sound nice. It was long enough to see a lot of things, yet short enough that we could continue on in our travels without much
Do you really want a cracker?
change in plans.
We had enjoyed working with Flecha Tours, however they asked for at least four people before embarking on such a distance. Our next assignment; find two more indiviudals to join our trio. Not only would it help on costs since we were charged less per day with more people, but it made the experience more interesting with the addition of other individuals. For three days we walked the town in search of tourists. We asked couples and hippies, we walked into resturants and stopped people in the streets. Ido and I began to tag-team, "Nope, you go talk to them, it´s YOUR turn!" For a few moments, I knew what it was like to be a salesman...and apperantly sales are not my fortay. People either widened their eyes in horror when we mentioned the amount of time, or they narrowed their eyes in jealousy, unable to go due to future plans. Generally, we encountered two types of people. The first type conisted of the must-stay-clean-at-all-costs who don´t like bugs, most girls fit into this type. The other was a polar extreme, generally druggy hippy-types or uber adventurers, who could not lower themselves to anything less than
He ate our free bananas!
We did, however, eventually find a patsy. Yurin, who I often called Norway (both because that was where he was from and because I felt strange using a word that meant pee in my language), had arrived the morning of we ran into him. His eyes widened when we told him our plans, but in excitment, not horror, and we quickly had a recuit.
After three days of searching, we decided over glasses of beer at the local Mosquito bar, a place we tried to frequent at happy hour between seven and nine in the evening due to their promo of half-priced drinks, that we were not going to find anymore people and that a trio we were and a trio we were going to be.
In the evening we found ourselves once again in the Flecha office. Laura, the woman in charge of our travel legistics, figured out our payment and organization. I stared blankly at the rows of papers written by bygone travelers. The letters were in many languages, the most common being Israeli since Flecha was owned by an Israeli and his named was passed around the traveling world. But there were
Ido and I were walking home in Rurrenabaque when we found this guy enjoying the street lights. He was big. He was scary. And Ido and I made fools of ourselves with our fear.
other languages. Some in French, Japanese, Norwegian, Dutch, to name a few. I resolved that once we were finished with out journey, good or bad, I would write a review for posting. What better way to leave a mark for others?
The logistics of our plan included six days of trekking in the jungles of Perlon Lajas before we arrived at an indeginous village. Once there, we would build a raft and float back to Rurre. The plan sounded wonderful, and though we were cautioned that the chances of seeing animals was slimmer in Pirlon Lajas, we decided that getting to build a raft in the Bolivian jungle (an act illegal in Madidi due to stricter rules against deforestation) was a once in a lifetime event. We had several things we wanted to do, one of which involved hunting, but the only legal way of living subsistance-wise was by visiting Alto Madidi, but one could only do so on a three week trek.
We also looked into hiring a local guide independent of any local companies, but were disturbed by his claim that he could take us to Madidi for hunting. Memories of American advertisment concerning the destruction
of the Amazon rainforest rushed through my mind--did I want to contribute to illegal acts despite the fact that there were plenty of animals to go around? My heart didn´t feel right, despite my desire to involve myself more fully as my Alaskan minded nature wanted. Ido and I thanked the guide for his time and politely left, shaking ourselves as we did so, as if to rid ourselves of some darkness that had tugged at our sleeves.
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