Rurrenabaque Wild (life) part one

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August 25th 2010
Published: September 29th 2010
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Our main reason for going to Rurrenabaque, was to see alot of animal life, therefore we decided just to do the Pampas and not the jungle tour.
After shopping a bit around, we ended up at a place called "Mogli Tours".
Thomas and I don't speak all that much spanish, just enough to get around.
But, this was no problem when the guy at Mogli gave us info about their trip. He was so enthusiastic, speaking non-verbally with a lot of gestures.
Besides, he repeated his sentences up to two three times. Really easy to understand!
As it turned out, this guy owned the company.

Feizar, as his name was, looked like a real local amazonian man! And in fact he was.
He was raised in the jungle (not by wolfs, even though he looked like it), and his mother and father still live secluded in the rural area without anything to provide them, but the nature and what it has to offer.
Wow, I must say!
Anyways, this information came to us after getting to known him a bit..
So, to start from the beginning.
Feizar promised us that if we went with them, we would experience something out of the ordinary. And so we did!

Our first out of the normal sighting was actually in the city. The night before our trip we saw a truck rolling into the street, with a cow on top of it. You could see in the eyes of the cow, that it knew it was in big trouble!
A man was hanging from the side of the truck, with a trophy, and a bunch of guys wearing football gear was following on motorbikes, honking and cheering. Of course Feizar was in front!
Talked to Feizar later about this, and he said that the guides in the city had played a football game against the taxi drivers and the winning teams price was a cow.
Thomas, Max and I plus a German soul-searcher and two American hippies (what a crew) drove out to a little town called San Felipe where we were gonna eat some lunch before heading further into the pampas by horseback.
Feizar had a cheeky little bugger with him, called Chino, which was our cook. Those two were real partners in crime, a lot of fun!
Anyways, we came to the little town and Chino instantly put us to work! Some had to wash and cut salad, Thomas and Max were set to do the dishes and so on..
All this time Feizar said that we had to hurry up and eat. Why this hurry?
Well, we were soon to find out.
There was a football field next to where we were eating. Suddenly the field was crowded, and a game was about to start. And who did we see in the middle?! Wearing his football outfit, FEIZAR!

He had actually planned this, as we found out from the Americans. They had been ready to go on the tour the day before, but Feizar had said that the tour wasn't filled up with enough people.
This is the same as he told us the previous day!
A while into the match, Max decided to join the game. Suddenly we heard the locals cheering " el gringo, el gringo"! Max had scored a goal, which was pretty cool..
After the game, we were ready to set off. But, things take time. We found out that the man with all the horses was also one of the guys playing. In fact the whole town were more or less involved in the game at one point or another, so we had to wait 30-45 min before the horses arrived.

We sat off into the unknown, and pretty soon after leaving the little town, we eyed some monkeys. Small yellow-monkeys.
We got really hyped up after seeing the first sign of wildlife!
The tour on horseback took about half an hour, before we finally arrived to the river. Or was it?
It hadn't rained for many months, and the river was very shallow.
It didn't take long after setting off, that the engine was cut and we had to jump into the water and start pushing the boat.
Well, the boys did anyways..
We arrived campsite about half an hour later, where we put up our home for the next two nights.
This consisted of tarpaulin and mosquito nets. Nothing more..
To be honest, I knew this was gonna be a test for me since I have a bit of arachnophobia in me.
Sleeping on the ground, on the water bank, with A LOT of bugs crawling around is not exactly my favorite cup of tea.
But, "Ron" was with us and he could make me a little braver if needed!

We step on board the boat again, and went further down the river. It was starting to head towards sundown, and Feizars plan was to take us to a place where we could see it.
Well, the river was still shallow, and this time we all had to jump out and help pushing it down the river.
The worst part about this was that you never knew what you would come upon. The water was so dirty that the visuability was like zero. Sometimes the ground was rocky and hard, other times your feet sank down.
And meanwhile there were alligators laying (visuabilly) at the waterbank, of course there were some in the water with us.. And piranjas!
Anyways, the sunset we were to see went down before we reached the designated area. It was starting to get dark, and we knew that if we were to return by boat, we had to get into the water and push our way back.
The scary thing about the dark in the wild, is that the life really start to come "alive".
We asked Feizar if we could park the boat somewhere, and head back to camp on land. Of course he said!
The fantastic thing about Feizar and Chino, is that you can almost do whatever you want. He said prior to departure, if you don't ask, you will not know and you will not experience. Wise man! hehe..

Anyways, we parked the boat and started walking back home. We had absolutely no clue about where we were. Feizar was walking in front with his big-a.. machete, and we followed nearby equipped with flashlights.
As I said, the wild wakes up after sunset. We had to climb up a area nearby the river, to get up to the fields. Using our flashlights, we then saw all the alligators that had been laying in the water the whole time, tons of tons of them! These ones were pretty small, but still - it doesn't look very pleasant with a lot of red eyes staring at you in the middle of the amazon!
Back at the camp, we ate dinner, Feizar told a lot of stories, and later Chino caught a tarantula. Yupp, that's right!
The weirdest thing, he actually tamed it..
The big bugger was sitting on top of one of the backpacks, and Chino started blowing smoke on it.
I yelled out that he should stop, but he told us that this was tranquilizing the spider.
After a while Chino was able to pick it up, and he let it run over his hands over and over again.
This dance went on for a couple of minutes, and after some time the tarantula was completely calm.
Those who wanted to hold it could try, of course Thomas did!

I must admit, I hadn't slept all that much when I woke up at break of dawn. We agreed that all the noise, and fear for what was around had only allowed us to sleep with one eye closed.
But new day, new opportunities.
Firstly, we had to go get our boat. And so the story continued.. In and out of the boat, pushing - all of us!
But, we were so lucky to see a slot! Of course we went into land, Chino "halfway" up the tree to go get it for us, were ordered down. The Slots apparently only go down from the trees once a week (to take a shit), because of the danger of being eaten. They are so slow!
Further we saw some Capybaras, a Tucan, a lot of birds, piranhas, alligators, turtles

The area we went with Mogli tours, is not open for other tourists. For now, they are the only operators going here and therefore the animals are also more afraid of humans.
As soon as we came by boat, the animals ran away (except the slot of course).
Later the same day we were gonna go look for anacondas. But, unfortunately there were none.
Because of the lack of rain, the anacondas had moved to other places..
After dinner, and the darkness had set in Feizar took some of us out to look for the alligator eyes, and listen to the sounds of the nightly life.
It was awesome!
Feizar of course, jumped into the river to catch a alligator for us. The first time we heard him say that he was getting really nervous, because the alligator was much larger than he expected.
You had to give this man credit, he tried to catch it anyways!
He lost the "fight", but got out of it with all his limbs intact.. With big eyes we sat in the boat, watching him run through some bushes and into the water to catch us another one.
I know, people say that this is not "humane", first of all it's not a human!
And second, if somebody knows how to deal with these animals it's guys like Feizar!
So, no bad feelings about this at all!!!!

All in all, this tour was amazing. And we got what he promised us, something out of the ordinary!!!
We were exhausted and really dirty after this trip, but isn't that a part of being in the wild!?
At some point during the trip it really felt like we paid these guys to go camping with us, but in fact this is what we did!
And, we got to know our guides and they us.. At the same time, we got to see how it is to be in the real pampas.
No toilets, showers, beds or bars.
If you want to go wild - go Mogli!!!
In part two, we go pampered-pampas, with all the above mentioned facilities..

Additional photos below
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