|The tour started in the morning with four hours in jeeps to get to the river. The roads were horrible and the seats in the jeep even worse. The seat was a long bench seat on each side of the jeep. Feet tangled in the middle. We finally arrive after the long trip and are piled into the long slender boats with plastic lawn chair like seats in rows of two. Our group was all young travelers and we all seemed to get along great. There were eight of us. Four germans two canadians and a Dutch. The canadians were the entertainers of the group. Once on the boat we began going up the river there were so many animals already and we had three hours by boat until we reached camp. The birds were everywhere. I began writing down names of the animals but the guides English was horrible actually non existant and my spelling of Spanish is not much better. The bird that was most prevelant was the bird of paradise which was of the secretario breed. The birds were brown with spiky looking feathers and funny looking heads. They cuddled up in bunches along the tree limbs. It loooked like they were almost as cold as we
Were. The main mamal Along the river beds were capivaras. I don't know their English name but inwant to say it's a wambat or wallaby. They look like guinnea pigs that are the size of pigs. They were big furry and cute. They live in families and never leave their parter. The male has a lump on his face while the female does not. When the partner dies, the other capivara stays alone the rest of it's life. We saw yellow monkies in the trees. Some even went onto one of the boats and crawled on the people ( probably because thy were being fed which is looked down on here). The monkeys swung from branch to branch and it was great to see monkeys in their natural habitat. We also saw another breed on monkey that was more brown in color. The river was swamped with allugators. Under evry bush or tree there was at least once. The birds also were everywhere. Dean, the Canadian decided to have a conpitition to see who could count more birds. He was the only one who played as it was impossible to count the birds because there were so many. I started countin aligators but also was impossible as there were sometimes as many as eight under a tree. The. Birds were all different looking. Big white swan looking birds. Black pelicantypes. Ones that were red, a blue one, a big one with pink feet and a purpleish body, a little yellow bird, a bird with spots on it's wings that look like eyes. One that looks like an own. We also saw two pink river dolphins. One was a baby as it was less pink, tthe other was more pink so it was an adult. They are hard to spot as they don't surface frequently And for a very short time. They are about the size of a manatee And their shape looks similar. We arrived at camp which was about ten buildings all on wood stilts with raised wood paths between the buildings. Apparently during the rainy season the water is up under the buildings. The river was low now with a steep muddy bank. There was a Bon fire going and our beds were raised wood platforms with a thin mattress and one blanket and a mosquito net. I had yet to run into amosquito and didntthe entire trip. The cold and rain was good for something. The. Bonfire was the hangout spot. Dinner was
Served in a room with nets in all the windows. We sat at long tables with benches and were given food to share which was never enough. The boys complained of hunger the food was gross but sufficient for me. We used more than five jars of mAyonaise in the two days we were there, it made thee food better and seemed to be our entertainment to see who used more mayonaise. The first night we went out with flashlights to look at the aligators eyes which reflect light back red in color. There were many aligators and it felt like we were being watched very closely. That night was a very cold one as we were only allowed one blanket and I don't have a sleeping bag.
In the morning we went into the pampas lookiing for anaconda. Apparently the chances of seeing them in the cold wet weather was near impossible. But being troopers we ventured out in ponchos and rain boots. We went through some tall wispy grass before getting to the muddy swamp like area where the anacondas slither. We entered into the plant filled swamp and dean fell over into the mud. My boots had holes but I trecked on. Some people refused to enter the ankle high water while three of us went all the way through the water reaching nearly the top of our boots. The plants caught your boots and trippng was easy. The thick mud water and plants seemed to be sucking us in so we tried to move quicky. The guide told un the anacondas live exactly where we are stepping and they come to the top and lay on the floating plants to soak up the sun( which was non existant that day). The anacondas in the swamp are up to ten feet long but in the lake where we were waking to they get even bigger. I stuck by Andy the other canAdian who had a pocket knife on him In case I got strangled
By one. We came to a small grove of trees with vines. I decided to plAy Tarzan and swing from them a little. They are surprisingly strong. We cntinued swamping to the lake then headed back. My feet were filled with the sulfer smelling water and my pants were soaking wet from a mixture of swamp and rain. We returned to nice bonfires to dry our clothes by and warm up. In the afternoon we headed back into the cold rain to go fishing for pirahna. On the way we stopped at a small shop as the boys decided some local alcohol was needed for the cold night. We all chipped in and got two bottles. The rain was now pouring harder and the fishing was thirty more minuter boat. We made a team decision to start drinking to keep warm. We got some coke and finished one bottle by the time we got to the fishing spot. While fiahing andy caught one fish and the guide caught three i got alot of bites but didnt catch anything. The fishing poles consisted of a book sized board with line wrapped around it and a hook. There is no casting just tossing the line the best you can. We used cow meat for bait. On the way back we stopped again and got another two bottles and finished all four that evening. The mixture of fire and local booze helped keep warm. That night we shared beds and blankets to fight off the cold best we could. The next day was even more wet and muddy. The banks were super slippery. Most everyone stayed inside while dean and myslef thought it was a waste of a trip. There was a dead aligator floating upside down down stream. We tried to walk downstream but the slipper mud stopped us within fifteen feet. We convinced out guide to take us in the boat which was also a challenge. We had to help bail the boat of water which took a good thirty minutes. That's what happens when they use liter coke bottles that are cut in half. We got to the aligator and the guide ran it over with tue boat and crazy dean got a paddle and began poking it. He flipped it over and it's tail was missing. It smelled horrible. I squimed And dean just went crazy. He wanted a knife to cut it open, thank got the guide would not give it to him. We returned and dean convinced me to go swimming with him. Nobody else would go as it was super cold. The guide took us and a few people cAme with just to wAtch. We found where the pink dolphins were, other boats were there watching them and dean and I dove in. It was cold, but no colder than the air. The river was actually steaming. While swimming we saw the dolphins surface three times within twenty feet. It was pretty amazing. Luckily ( as dean says) the dolphins protect people from the aligators so we didn't get attacked. By this time our trip was almost over and we dried off by the fire while people looked at us crazily. We headed back to town on the boat and jeep. The mud even posed problems for the jeep it skidded and slid multiple times. We all made it back alive.
The bus ride back to la Paz is 24 hours along dirt ( now mud) roads. Two of the German guys are on the same bus. Six hours into the ride the bus comes to a sudden stop at a bit of a sideways angle. The man next to me looks out the window and says something to me in Spanish. He looks out the window and makes a hand gesture that tells me there is a rock slide. Ikon out the window and see our back tires are off the road on the cliff side and our bus is angled to fall off the cliff. We finally get off the bus. Big relief. And notice five huge rocks that had fallen from the hill into the road. Five men try to push one of the rocks off the road so cars can pass but are unable to move it. The bus dr with men trying to push them. The two bus drivers are under the bus with a shovel trying to get all the mud out from around the tires. After ten minutes someone gets a rope out and ties it to the front of the bus. All the men grab the rope. Including the German boys the bus is started, engines rev and men pull. The bus comes out of the mud, the people re board and we head on our way. This is what I call an adventure.
The Canadian boys ( crazy ones) and Germans are heading in the same direction as me so I hope more crazy fun adventures will come. They will possibly be in uyni with me. Next I head to potossi to go into the silver mines then I will head to uyini to do a three day trip into the salt flats theN to san pedro in Chili for one or two nights ( if money and time permit).