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Published: August 18th 2012
Hello, webby here, it's been a while since we last posted something, if my hazy memory serves it was to do with a wobbly bus journey to la Paz!
Much has happened since then, again bus journeys feature greatly, far to much for my liking! We liked la Paz, it was fun, I ate lots of meat, a veggie regresstion, waswasnice and fun, I had a huge wry rare steak, G had soup...
Our temptation for low lying oxygen rich air was too much to avoidao we headed for the low lying Bolivian rainforest rich pastures of rurrenbaque!
We bussed up again in La Paz in search of ray mears style jungle fun, the road there was beautiful, beyond words, the scenery lush green, luminescent undergrowth, birds soaring and circling, rivers eeking their way through the growth effortlessly, the scenery was unchanged for hours, our heartbeats and pulses were soon to change though as we entered the accurately named "death road"...
G here: Now, you've all heard the phrase living life on the edge, well our journey up to the rainforest was the literal meaning of this. A coach is a pretty big vessel, and as I had researched the so called 'death road' no longer allowed traffic to pass on it..
Well.. Either our driver was an absolutlely mentalist seeking an adreaniline rush big enough to kill a hippo, or he got terribly lost, as true to the fear in our eyes and hearts the death road was where we were, in both bodies and souls.
If there was two wheels on the road you were lucky. We even thought it necessary to lean to the right in order to counterbalance the trajectory of the bus and prevent the tumble into the valley below. The valley at least 600ft down and already home to a very unlucky bus that had already taken the proverbial plunge of death.
Witnessing the 'what could be us' dishevelled bus below us; mega Soz to webby as my grip on his thigh went from a tight grope to a coconut crushing claw of destruction. (it's ok he didn't notice, he was too busy listening to morrissey and accepting the after life with his newly found friend we accurately nick named one tooth willy.)
Webby here. So it seems my nick naming of georgi as the crab has foiled me, my leg throbbing from her claw! The crusher claw too, not the pincer claw, damn spider crabs!
Now seeing the fear on Georgis face,and the impending darkness, with the death road still very much in action I decided we should shut the curtain, the ethos of "what we can't see can't scare us" seeming a fitting cliche'. Sleep seemed a good idea, but with the bumpy terrain and the adrenaline coursing through our veins, the Bolivian pop music blaring from the once adequate speakers, not to mention the cry of children and impending knife fight at the front of the bus between two 70 year old campesinos, probably over a potato, sleep was an allusive allie! However pure fear eventually knocked us out.
I was awoken by a truly beautiful sunrise, the golden rays breaking over the rainforest, discovery channel, national geographic, the whole shebang, truly one of the most incredible things I've been blessed to witness in my so far varied life...Georgis little bum sat opposite me, asleep, no doubt trumping away, as she so often denies,missed this show. I awoke her, she begged me to brush my teeth. Sometimes I smell in the mornings, and daytime....and also evenings. I'm quite a formidable beast where scent is concerned, something like a bear marking his terrority...my breath often acts as georgis morning alarm, both consistent and efficient I say....
Georgi here.. Now, the next part of the trip I shall describe to you, as webby spent most of the time on the toilet, or attempting to make it to one, and as lovely as a toilet could be described to you beautiful readers, our pampas trip I'm sure will be one to compete and beat such a dark and excrement filled tale.
Our pampas trip was shared with a couplfood good eggs, Kathleen our Flemish fountain of youth, and Sunil our Bradford babes, later known as Ganda,f (due to the giant staff we commandeered him after a traumatic taxi accident)
All the gang together, we headed north of rurrenbaque 2 hours to santa rosa and the inception of the madidi jungle.
The trip was based on a ramshackled homely float, otherwise known as half a tree with a motor, and on this canoe we spent 3 days gliding along the yucumba river.
The river itself a murky brown, but oh so inviting until you hear of the flesh gnawing piraña inhabitants and the abundance of bone crushing caiman hovering at the banks, waiting for a lurking leg to grace the swell of water our sweat ridden bodies oh so desire.
We were truly blessed by our surroundings, as we had visited in the dry season, so all types of wildlife were out in plenty. To name a few:pink dolphins (that in reality look like the elephant mans aquatic cousins), yellow squirrel monkeys (who have massive balls), howler monkeys, capybara (the worlds largest and silliest looking rodents) the serere, or as we like to call them tree turkeys. Giant river turtles, and after an hour of swamp searching we managed to find an anaconda, it was amazing! 2 metres long, and pretty docile till I handed it to some idiot Israeli who tried to grab it neck and it simultaneously bit and shat all over her. Take that israknob! 1-0 anaconda. Go snakey!
Staying in the jungle was amazing, the sounds of the wildlife was out of this world! Especially when all us English are use to is the occasional sound of a cat scrap at the bins! We could here pumas, monkeys, bats, bugs the size of footballs, oh and andys clambering footsteps to the outhouse.Bless his smelly socks.
My favourite experience of the pampas experipipe must be the night river ride. A chance to view the predators in action. The water alive with glow bugs, white bats hunting for fish, dipping and diving. The caimans eyes lighting the water water like the middle of the m6, oh yeah and an influx of sardines wacking me round the face like a pescaterian protest( for me fishing and eating their bros earlier after a fishing trip. Red bellied piranhas are yummy mmm) but, yeah! Pure whacked me in the face, round the back, and onveered came close to bridging my underwear. This to us mere tourists was the most mental experience of our lives. Here's Aretha franklin Singing about "it's raining men" but no no, not in the madidi. Aretha, your gonna have to settle for sardines.
After a quick self check for sardines in parts they shouldn't be, obedia our guide, completely unshocked by this preposterous display of 'free fishing' said 'Soz' whipped the silly biggers back in the water and took us home. Now, that's one for the grand kids.
Webby again. Now I've heard the saying, " bloody hell it was coming out of both ends at once" urban myth I thought. Apparently not. A real low point for me was at about 3am, lay on my side in bat shit in the middle of the jungle, undies wrapped around my ankles like the shackles of my illness, spraying some sort of foul bile from "both ends", such velocity that had it been guy forkes I'd have easily passed as a Catherine wheel...I'm just glad that this, the lowest moment of my life, which trust me has had some strange and unexplainable moments wasn't stumbled upon by a fellow traveller on their way to relieve their no doubt jungle infected bowell too...
Now, my pampas tour wasn't all about excrement! I managed both the first and third day, the first being the most notable! Cruising down river our guide slowed our boat boat and shouted with excitement, "dolphins guys"...they're they we're, 3 or 4 of the blitters..."you want to swim?"...swim? in murky, fast flowing, piraña and caiman infested water? Fortunately naiveity and stupidly rank high on my attributes...Off I strip and in I jump...wow, amazing, the dolphins keep their distance at first, then I kick one ithis head, pure accident of course, lovely dolphin...then they're all around me, blowing and swimming and all that other dolphin fraff, soon they bugger off though, maybe it was my prior mentioned scent....back in the boat. It was a fun experience.
G here again.. Now after leaving the pampas tour, we decided that the jungle was the place to be.. For a whieaser least. So me and the gang settled into hostel el lobo in rurrenbaque. Now el lobo is no ordinary hostel. If you think abou the basias of a hostel, firstly it should have walls,secondly windows, and a roof can help... Nope, not el lobo.. It was a half built masterpiece. What it lacked in structural necessities it gained in scenery decor and aesthetic beauty. The beni river lead on from the garden, and the gaping hole (where a window should of been) allowed us to look out and belong to the scenery, rather than just be an encased lurid spectator.
During our stay at el lobo, andy decided to pass on his illness to me and sunil ( tar love of my life) but the beauty of our surroundings helped motivate me to involve myself In treks into jungle reserves that where literally at our doorstep.
Webby dem.We met a nice wee gal called melena, a name which took me several days to learn...She was a biologist from Argentina, a lovely soul who took us under her wing, for no charge (strange in these parts) and took us on a beautiful walk for free into the surrounding jungle, she was alert, much more so than us, we were merely in awe of the place, walking around heads in the air taking in all the growth, many times she stopped us to point out tarantula nests, huge Alice in wonderlandd esque caterpillars, birds, cocoons and all the other seemingly hidden but for the expert eye lovelies that reside in this truly eye opening place. A quick stop at the swammy river for a quick swim and wander, spotting butterflies called the 88's due to the luminous green 8 shape on their wings, and to my amazement a perfect looking leaf shape on the under side, at one point I thought an ant was carrying a huge brown leaf, until it un foiled its wings and flew off as a tried to photo it....the wild life here is out of this world, truly foreign to my foreign eyes and mind.....
G here: yeah, so to rap up rurrenbaque rocks, an Amazonian wonder that has yet to be destroyed by intensive tourism,let's hope it stays this way 😊
We left rurrenbaque a couple of days ago, and hit copacabana, Bolivia. For lake titticaca. For all those that dont know about this lake. It's big ass! I mean, we were driving away from the damn thing for 4 hours an it was still bloody there.
Anyways enough on its size.. It's beautiful. A deep blue that hits the waves and sparkles off the sun in such a manner of beauty and acceptance. You could watch it for hours. More on lake titticaca camping chaos next time.
Love and peace to all you readers. Thanks for enduring our babbling ways. We love you all.
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