Saturday, 26 September 2009

The Amazon, 16 - 22 September

I know, I know, I haven´t told you all about the wonderful city of La Paz yet, but I´m still buzzing from my Amazon experience and I want to tell you all about it now. It really is going to be a long one, but I will try to be as entertaining as possible.

So let´s begin...

Amy, 23, British, Profesional Backpacker
Rhiannon, 23, Australian, Professional Bestie
Scott, 24, Australian, Professional Bestie
Catherine, 23, Welsh, Professional Backpacker
Gustavo, 30, Argentine, Professional Weirdo
Assi, 37, Profession guide

16 September, 3.30pm

Catherine meets Scott, Rhiannon and I at our hostel and we flag a cab to take us to El Alto International airport. Oh yes, we are heading to the Amazon on a plane.

There are essentially two ways to reach the jungle, by a bus that takes between 16 and 30 hours (weather dependent) or by plane that takes less that an hour. The plane ride was the more expensive option (about 50 pounds one way), but we decided it would be worth it and it would be better to arrive in the jungle feeling fresh after a flight than feeling rough after a LOOOOONG bus journey.

We wonder what the airport will be like? We arrive and I am suitably unimpressed, it´s tiny, International Airport my foot! And as the airport motions are carried out I continue to be unimpressed.

I am the first to check my bag onto the plane. My big pack is weighed, 20 kilos. First reaction, phew, just touching the weight limit. Second reaction, how is my bag that heavy, it´s half empty since Laura took home some stuff for me. Once my bag is weighed my small back pack is noticed by the check in man. The check in lady informs me that hand luggage is limited to 3kilos per person. I said, ´Yes, that´s fine´, whilst knowing FULL WELL that my small back pack weighed nearer to ten kilos, and I tried to brush it off. The check in lady makes me weigh my bag. It weighs 9 kilos. Dammit. Busted. Scott offers me a duffle bag that I can check in and I take out 4 kilos worth of books from my small backpack to check on to the plane in the duffle bag. No one does the maths, but they slap me with an excess baggage charge. A whole 2 pounds more! Honestly cheek of it. After the palava I am made to go pay another 1 pound and forty pence as a departure tax! Seriously unimpressed.

Everyone checks in, no one has the problems that I have with weight. I seriously don´t know what is weighing my bag down.

We head to Burger King in the teeny tiny airport. It is closed. Now Scott is in the unimpressed boat.

We take soem seats and admire the stunning Huyana Potosi (mountain) that can be viewed from the airport lounge. We ponder what the plane will be like, eat Pringles, sweets, Swiss Chocolate and try to obtain bottles of Coke from a vending machine.

After much waiting the plane is ready for us. Because of angles and obstructions I couldn´t see the plane on the tarmac, so when I left the departure lounge and stepped onto the runway I was not impressed with what I saw.

This plane was small. I remember the terror I had going up to my sky dive, at least on that plane I knew I had a parachute to get me back to earth if the plane didn´t make it. I couldn´t see any flight staff handing out parachutes as the people in front of my boarded.

Inside the plane I was even more shocked. There were 18 seats. I had realised that there weren´t many people sat in the departure lounge, but I had assumed that the plane was not going to be filled. No, the plane was almost full. 16 people in 18 seats. I bent my head and crept through the tiny cabin and took a seat at the rear of the plane. BEstie Scott offers me some words of reassurance... ´Great idea to sit at the back Bestie, planes never reverse into mountains.´

I was a jibbering wreck. Take off was horrendous, I could feel every bump of every bit of wind. But as terrified as I was, the views were stunning and I couldn´t help but snap away. We flew right up next to Huyana Potosi, we could almost touch it. It was particualrly cool to see this mountain as Scott had climbed it a few days previous. ´Why take a 4 day hike when you could have flown to the top Bestie?´

I knitted. Knitting took my mind off the fact that a stray pigeon could probably wipe this teeny tiny plane from the sky.

Then we hit turbulence. My heart was in my mouth and I have never concentrated on knitting so hard in all my life!

After 50 minutes of hell, the descent began and we landed at Rurrenabaque airport. If you can call it an airport.

The landing strip was grass. The terminal a tiny building. There wasn´t even a baggage reclaim, you literaaly took your bag from the trailer that took the bags off the plane. But I was not in a place to be judging airports any more, I had survived the plane ride.


We were met off the plane by a guy from the tour agency (who turend out to be our guide, Assi) we had booked through. It was hot in the jungle (durr) and it was so nice as we drove through the dirt roads to be warm again. We felt like we were in Asia, most definitely not Bolivia, the people seemed more relaxed, the buildings were straw huts, it was a whole different world away from La Paz. We were taken to the tour office and explained what we would need for the next few days. We listened attentively while staring at the swollen gloved hand of Assis. Any questions? No one dared ask about the hand. We headed to find a hostel and started the fun game of pakcing for the jungle.

Within seconds the four of us had turned our room into a bombsite, everything came out of the big bags, the small bags and Scott´s spare duffle bag (well, that was just my stuff) and everything was redistributed for the next three days in the Jungle.

I should probably point out at this point that we had signed up to two tours, firstly a three day jungle tour, followed by a three day pampas tour. Most people do one or the other, but we had all been wanting to see both sides of this part of the Amazon.

Conversation flitted between excitement ´We´re going to the JUNGLE!´, bewilderment ´What do you think happened to his hand?` and stressed pakcing ´Should I take tea lights/three pairs of trousers in case two pairs get wet/sarong or towel/dinosaur/first aid kit?´ After two hours of frantic packing it was time to hunt down a long sleeve white shirt for Rhiannon and myself. It was one of the recommended items to take and neither Rhiannon or I had anything appropriate.

´Why does it have to be white? White´s gunna get dirty?´ Amy
´Because nothing in nature is white, therefore no bugs or animals will be attracted to it.´ Scott
´Claro! But, give me ten minutes in the jungle and it´ll be dirt coloured anyway.´ Amy

Suprisingly, it was not difficult to come by a white shirt in this place, all the shops sold them, in act, i´ve never seen so many shirts in my life! As I handed over the Bolivianos I decided to myself that the white shirt thing was jsut a ploy to get people to buy stuff in the village.

Two shops later we found hats. Now a hat is something that has been on my ´to get´ list since I left home. I´m not a big fan of sun hats, they just don´t suit me, and some how I have managed without one up until now, up until I spied a gorgeous ´I´m a celebrity get me out of here´ cow boy hat. Sold. Scott and Rhiannon both bought hats as well. I thought about the consequences of this hat after the purchase. This is not going to pack into my rucksack! Grrr!

We were all fading from hunger and found a restaurant and quickly ordered some sustenance. Our guide came past on a motor bike and said hello. We were eating at his brother´s restaurant. Typical!

After dinner we were all pretty exhausted and fell straight asleep to dreams/nightmares of jungle, snakes, tarantulas.

Day 1

Breakfast came and I wasn´t in any mood for eating. Even when a genuine french man wearing Chef´s whites, flip flops and board shorts came over with a tray of fresh French Pastries, I still could not bare the thought of eating. It was 7.30am and it was too hot for eating.

As we girls faffed over the last little things, Scott moaned that we should hurry so that we could get to the jungle. We were ten minutes later than we were supposed to be and Scott was in a mood with three faffy girls. We then continued to hang around for another half hour or so in the Tour Office. We don´t really know why, we just were. We met our fifth group member, Gustavo. He didn´t speak a lot of English, but we introduced ourselves politley to him. Catherine taught me how to plait my hair and with my cow boy hat on, I was ready and waiting for the jungle. Then from nowhere came the command: ´Vamos chicos´.

We were on our feet in an instant, bags on backs (which were not only full on the inside, but also dripping on the outside with various essentials strapped and tied on that couldn´t be crammed in). We were off to the jungle.

We walked from the office to the river, spying plenty more white shirts on the way. On the river bank the boat was waiting for us. Oooo, this was going to be a rickety ride.

We all carefully got on, trying our best not to capsize the shallow hulled boat. The boat was laden with stuff, three days worth of food, a giant gas can, 12 litres of water, not to mention all of our bags and bits. The duffle bag also came with us to carry our excess baggage. We were weighed down with all of our stuff and we were off.

We had a four hour journey to our camp so we all sat back and relaxed as we made our journey. On both sides of the river was lush green jungle. It was lovely. We watched birds dive for fish, we saw parrots fly by. With our feet resting on the side of the boat it was lovely as the water splashed us. The day was on e with beautiful blue skies and sun. We were all in love with the jungle.

At about 12 I started to get peckish and delved into my bag for a honey nut bar to give me some energy. Yumm.

After about 3 hours the journey started to get a bit tricksy. The water was shallow, so one of the guys on the boat had to go up front and pull us through the shallows with a long pole, a bit like a punt. Hmmm, interesting. It was dry season and so the rivers were low.

About 30 minutes later we had hit a really shallow bit, and there was only one thing for it ´Get out and push!´ shouted Assi. Thoughts of piranhas and parasites flashed through my mind, I don´t wanna get out into this river. ´There are no piranhas.´ Oh ok I thought and I clambered over the edge of the boat and attempted to push. I say attempted, the floor of the river was full of slippy stones and I couldn´t get my grip on the ground to push the boat. Rhiannon and I were in hysterics at our sheer inability to contrubite any strength to this massive task in hand. Catherine sat on the boat, she didn´t have flip flops on, and was in no hurry to swap her boots for her flip flops. I ended up drifting to the back of the boat and at that point the driver ushered me to get back on, I was no help. Thankfully Scott and Gustavo had a bit more strength about them and helped Assi, Carmen our cook and our driver push the boat trhough.

´That was hard work´ announced myself and Rhiannon once we were through the hard part. Because we had offered so much.

Not long after thi spoint we ground to a halt and pulled into the shore. There were a few mixed messages about pushing and walking. Eventually it all came to light. We were stopping boat ride here. We were taking all the equipment off the boat here. We were walking from here. We were walking from here carrying all the stuff with us. Say whaaat? ´It is only 800m, not too far´ said our guide. We were all starving, it was 2pm already and we hadn´t had lunch yet. After a few questions, we were assured that this was the closest we were going to get by boat. There water was just too shallow.

We distributed our supply of food into the nooks and crannies of our backpacks and the duffle bags. I had jars of jam and dulce de leche stored inside my boots that were hanging from our bags. In some ways I somehow managed to get the easy ride... my bag, plus the duffle bag, plus a tray of eggs! I was feeling very I´m a Celebrity at this point. Maybe if I managed to get all the eggs in one piece to camp I would get a special star or something. Rhiannon and Catherine copped for most of the water which was not jsut heavy but awkward to carry. And Gustavo certainly got the short straw... the gas cannister.

We were now in the jungle, trekking in the jungle, but it cerainly wasn´t the best way to start a jungle trek. Laden with heavy gear we trampled through, over logs, long vines, thousands of ants. We were all hot, bothered and very unprepared for this. Two minutes before we had been enjoying a leaisurely river cruise. The bubble had burst. It was the longest 800m I have ever walked in my life. We were constatnly stopping and readjusting our loads. In the process of which I picked up 3 ant bites! Ocuh!

After a hard slog we arrived at our camp.

I still don´t know if this camp, was the camp we were supposed to be at. It was clear that no one had been here for a while and Assi confimred that no one had been here for a bout 2 years. Great!

The camp cosnisted of two shacks on stilts. One filled with beds, bats and bat poo, the other with a bug infested table and chairs, and a bit of a kitchen. There was also a toilet block with showers, but this had become a hiding hole for frogs, the water tank was all battered, and it was clear that we woudl be having no showers or flsuhing toilets for the next three days.

It was rough, but it wasn´t too bad. It was all very rustic, but it was going to be fun in the jungle. At least it would be fun if food was provided before I passed out from starvation.

Assi suggest we go for a swim while carmen prepared some lunch. Alhtough I ddint have the energy to swim, i figured it would be nice to cool down, so we all ran down to the river and dived in.

Straight away I started to get bitten. ´Arghhhh Piranhas!!!´ I was assured that these were Sardines not piranhas. But I thought sardines just came in tins. I venrutred further out into the river away from the shore loving sardines. It was bliss. It was so refresshing and lovely. We splashed around and messed a bout. Some fluffy stuff passed us in the river. ´What is that?´shouted Catherine. ´Flesh eating fuzz´ i poronounced matter of factly. I then followed this with a caution ´Remember not to wee in the river, because parasites can travel through your urine and in side you!´

Assi decided that lunch would probably be ready now so we headed back. To my utter dismay, there was still no food on the table, but we were given some squash. Better than nothing I guess. After anouther hour food was finally brought out. Lunch at 4pm!

Energised from food I donned my white shirt and cowboy hat and headed into the jungle with Assi.

We walked and walked and walked pointing out various trees and plants, spiders, caterpillars. It was an awesome walk, and it was great to be able to enjoy it without having to carry a tray of eggs (which incidentally all made it to camp intact).

The noises of the jungle were amazing. Actually amazing. It was awesome to hear all the bugs and the birds. After an hour I started to flail. I was hungry again. Even hought I had eaten loads of lunch, it had not been enough to drag me back up to normal energy. I started to slink to the back and drink lots of water. Darkness was setting in and Assi told us it was time to get back. There was no food ready for us when we got back so Assi proposed a fishing expedition. We went to the river bank with fishing and assi tried to catch a fish. With no success we returned back int he darkness to camp.

We sat around the table anticipating dinner, but sitting upright at a tbale was too much for me. I was totally drained and decided to go to the hut and have a lie down. I felt so feeble. I got into bed and to my horror, my bed was swarming with ants. i had been so careful at tucking in my mosi net I just couldnt understant how they had got in. I started squashing ants, but the more I killed, the more appeared. I burst into tears. All i wanted was to lie down in peace. I decided that the ants were in my backpack as every time i moved my back pack a new swarm of ant appeared next to it. I was too weary to care. These were only little ants, not like the big uns that had bit me earlier. I put ear plugs in and lay down and sobbed. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I was hungry. My bed was uncomfortable. My bed was full of ants. I couldn´t console myself. And the more I tried to stop, the more i got annoyed myself that here i was in the jungle crying, hardly making the most of the situation was i. Eventually I recieved a call for dinner. I tried to compose myself, but I couldn´t quite do it. I snivelled my way thorugh a plate of pasta and may avoiding eye contact with the others in some vain sort of hope that they would´t notice my red eyes, tears and snotty face.

After dinner I excused myself to go back to bed. The thought of going back to bed was not a great one, I had loads of ants to deal with first. I hadn´t said a word at dinner and so hadn´t mentioned the ants. I climbed into my net and started killing and swearing at the ants.

After a few minutes I heard the door of the hut open and Scott came into see if I was ok. ´I´ve got all the f*****g ants, from the whole of the f*****g Amazon in my bed´ I snivelled. I always laughed at the cry babies on I´m a Celebrity but in the space of a few hours I had already learnt for myself how the tiniest thing can flip you over the edge in the jungle. I´m going to watch I´m a celebrity in such a different light from now on. Scott lifted up a bit of my net and started to brush the ants out of the net. I told him I thought the infestation was in my bag so he took that and shook it out. I continued to bat out ants. As Scott sat on the outside of my net and I was on the insde loads of ciccadas were attracted to his head torch, and as they batted from the light into my mosi net I got even more upset. I hated the jungle. Once the bed was free from ants I lay down in bed and didnt even bother to change into pjs. Scott left the hut saying he was going to close the door and if i needed anything I just had to shout. I was happier now, my bed was ant free. I fell to sleep pretty much straight away.

Day 2

I think I woke up before the others. Too right, i had had the most sleep. I hadn´t heard anyone come to bed. I tilted my head back and saw blue sky out the sides of the hut. Lush. I was determined that I wasn´t going to have a crying day today. I was in the jungle for two more days, and I Was determined to make the most of it. BRING IT ON! i thought to myslf. I wasn´t particularly scared by the jungle, spiders don´t bother me too much, I was back to being excited about exploring. So when breakfast was called I was the first to hot foot it over to the dining room and start piling up the pancakes.

After a big hearty breakfast came the first of the bowel movements. The toilet block was unusable and we all wondered how we would go to the toilet that morning. ´Bush bog´. None of us were too bothered at the prospect, we had all already had to wee in random spots around the camp. But going for a poo was different. Rhiannon was the first to brave the jungle toilet. She announced the direction in which she was heading and took two steps and then screamed a horrific scream! We all started and turned to look at her. She hadn´t taken two steps. She had walked into a cobweb and was terrified. After Rhiannon had calmed herself she employed Scott to walk in front and batt aside all of the cobwebs. We all wet ourselves.

After all this performance we were off into the jungle for a 4/5 hour trek. It was an awesome trek. We cut vines and drank water from the insides, we ate termites, we tried different things inside the jungle and were shown all the medicinal plant. Assi suggested we chew this one piece of bark that he took from a tree for us. Excited I began to chew enthusiasitcally and then my mouth began to burn and tingle. Istarted spitting straight away. My mouth was on fire. We use this to take out teeth, it´s a natural anesthetic. Too right it was, my mouth was numb as anything. We wandered onwards and he made up some paint from the plants and we painted our faces all tribal like. We looked scray, but the beads of sweat meant that our faces ran into big puddles of purple dye. Sexy!

Assi ralyl made us listen to the jungle and at one point we could hear snorting noises. ´Pigs´ he said. Poomba, i thought. (We had been singing Hakuna Matata and In the Jungle a lot). We stopped in our trackes, squatted and listened to the pigs. ´Can you smell that?´said Assi. YEs we could. It was disgusting. A few mintues later the sound and the smell became sight and we could see about seven pigs forraging in the mud. It was cool to watch them. We stayed there until one of them saw us and then the whole group darted.

We continued our walk onwards. We were on the hunt for a cinnamon tree. However, it was hot and by midday we were all starting to struggle and we didn´t have enough water with us. Assi suggested we stopped while he went off to find the cinnamon. We were happy for a rest. We were dripping with sweat and in need of a break. Gustavo insisted that he would accompany assi to t he cinnamon tree which was two hills away. Now that there were only 4 of us i cracked out the 4 lollipops that i had been carrying in my bag. Much needed sugar revitalised us.

After about 30 minutes Assi and GUstavo returned with cinnamon, we all smelled it. It smelled good.

We then started our way back. After 5 hours of walking through the jungle we were all in serious need of food and more water. We were given the most refreshing grapefrfuit juice adn an awesome lunch. Amazing.

After lunch we took another swim in the river. This was followed by an afternoon of jewllery making. This involved some serious hard work drilling holes by hand with srcrew drivers into seeds. But the final results were awesome. We drank cinamon tea and ate popcorn as we worked. Serious sweat shop business.

When the sun went down we chilled and prepared oursleves for our night time walk. Rhiannon was all ready to face her spider fears, and we were all excited at what we might see. Gustavo, however, was a little scared and didn´t come with us. It was pitch black in the jugle, and the light of the torch was all we had to see with. I quickly realised that by wearing my head torch on my head i was attracting all the ciccadas and bugs to my eyes, so i decided I would carry my torch. On the walk we came a cross a teeny tiny snake, it was reaññy small byt really angry. It didnt like us. We also found tarantulas, mummies and babies. They were really cool. At one point Assi told us to take a seat on a fallen log while he hunted down some other animals. The fours of us sat holiding hands in the pitch dark listening out for animals. In so many ways we all wanted to see a flash of cat eyes through the darkness, but at the same time that prospect was a little scary. We didn´t see anything else and Assi didn´t bring anythihg back to us. It was awesome to listen to the jungle at night. It was a little scary yes, but really awesome.

After a two hour walk we made our way back to dinner. I was in a much better mood tonight and dinner was most enjoyable. After dinner we all wnet to bed. We had had a long day and were all ready to drop. Thankfully that night there were no ants in my bed.

Not quite Day 2, not quite Day 3

Now, if you have read this post carefully you will have noted Gustavo´s profession. Oh yes, professional weirdo, and this is wear the evidence for this ocmes to light. The jungle is never silent, there is always some insect or bird making a noise, but in the middle of the night a new noise emanated. ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I woke with a start. In the bed next to me it sounded as though Gustavo was being murdered. Another scream came. It was a scream of pure terror. Assi (who was sleeping in a tent he had put up inside the hut) asked out if Gustavo was ok. Gustave told him in Spanish that animals were coming at him and grabbing his feet. Assi told him to shut up and go to sleep. No sympathy.

Day 3

Gustavo was late for breakfast, lucky really as it gave us channce to whisper about the previous night{s screaming! We were all laughing our heads off. Gustavo came to breakfast and bluffed over the occurences! Very funny.

We had agreed that Assi take us on a walk to go Parrot Watching for our final morning. We could have gone for another jungle walk, but we figured that Parrots would be fun and we had seen a lot of the jungle. Assi warned us that to reach the parrots we would have to wade across one river and trek through some jungle. River wading sounded fun and we were all up for it.

We set off, I had my boots and flip flops with me. Flip flops for rivers, boots for jungle. We walked about 200m and I was already having to switch my boots for my flip flops. Grrr! Scott and Assi entered the water first while Rhiannon, Gustavo, Catherin e and I followed. We were at a different part of the river to where we would often go and swim, and this part was very pebbly under foot. In addition the pebbles were very slippy as they were covered in algae. I stepped tentaively into the river as everyone else powered on. I got in to my waist and got stuck. Do you remember the blow out that Chris inflicted on my flip flop after his failed attempt to crowd surf me at the Jean Luis Guerra gig? Well, it came to haunt me again. The river was strong and the undercurrent had ripped apart my flip flop! Noooo! I held my boots as high as I possibly could out of the water and reached under, as i reached my flip flop I lost it. It went sailing down the river. My face must have been a picture! What now? Assi had been the hero and had gone down river to rescue my broken flip flop and when he returned my broken flip flop, he traded me for my boots. i started walking across the river bed in one flip flop and one bare foot carrying a borken flip flop. Now, I was in agony, every step i took was a step on a painful slippy rock and my feet were disintegrating. Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch. Scott and Rhiannon were on the other side already wetting themselves as i took the smallest steps and made the biggest ouch noises in the SOuthern Hemisphere. I got to the middle of the river and I was laughing at myself, the river took me offguard and I was swept off my feet and drenched. Laughing even harder I let myself go with current before I got a grip and swam the rest of the way. This is why you are taught how to swim in pajamas at swimming schools! I eventually reached the other side about fifteen minutes after everyone else! Everyone was in hysterics. Catherine had also had a tricky crossing. The Ozzies laughed and commented how they had been wading through rivers since they were toddlers! Good for you!

The group walked onwards and Catherine and I tramped along behind the group. I was drenched, but in the heat it was really, really nice and refreshing. We marched and marched and then all of a sudden I see Assi up ahead turn around and head back toward us. "The path trhough the jungel is overgrown (I havent been here for 4 years)so we are going to have to go another way." Oh he was a clever one, thinking that a path that went throught hte middle of the jungle 4 years ago would still be there. HEre{s a lesson for you buddy, trees grow. Catherine was less than impressed that we had to double back the way we came. I was less impressed when I was told that we would have to walk trhough another river.

We reached the next river and Scott and Rhiannon marched on. I carried both my flip flops and continued to ouch with every footstep. Once i crossed quarter of the river Assi came over and gave me his trainers. I put them on with difficulty in the water bt iwas sorted and i skipped merrily across the river, well ish!

I didn{t hate the river crossing, it was fun, but by the time i reached the bank of this river, 15 minutes after everyone else, everyone was ready to move onwards and didn{t want to wait to let me catch my breath. I through a mini paddy and said i was having a break and I would catch up. I sat down. Soemone said something that made me laugh. I laughed, but the laughter quickly turned to tears. Rahhhhh jungle!

Then came another river. ANd i got a bloody stone in the bloopdy trainer. Again every step was a pain. Scott and Rhiannon continued to march onwards and kept laughing at me as I crossed. I actaully spent more time in up to my shoulders when really it was only necessary to submerge up to the waist.

When the next river came there was hilarity for everyone, everyone except Rhiannon. Half way across a really wide and really deep river Catherine lost it. She was struggling to keep her camera in her dry bag above her head and battling with the current when her shoe got stuck on a rock and then she threw the ulitmate paddy and stamped her feet saying "That{s it. I am not going any further! Arghhh!" She looked around and realised she was slap bang in the middle of the river, she had just as far to go back as she had to go forawrd. When she saw this she started to slap her shoes on the water in an ultimate tantrum moment. The next thing, her shoe was away with the current. Scott stopped his hysteria enough to run down the river bank to try and rescue the shoe. Rhiannon borken down on the floor in giggles and I was fell over in hysterics in fits of giggles and was rolling around on my back! Assi, stifling laughter went out to Catherine and helped her in. Her little Welsh prtoests were hilarious. As she was adament that this was it. When Scott couldnt find her shoe it got worse/funnier.

We were assured there was one more river to cross and that we could go with the current. At this point I ended up leaving my boots behind, there was no point taking htem and we were going to have to come back this way anyway. I went with the river and when I came out at the other side i really felt like Colin Firth inPride and Prejudice in my sopping white shirt. I think the cowboy hat set it off.

Incidentally as we waded I kept getting flshbacks of Kevin And Perry Go Large as Rhiannon waded trhough in a shirt and trekking pants whilst wearing a Perry-esque bucket hat! I laughed, and it cheered Catherine up a bit too when we saw it.

We had waded trhough 6 rivers and had finally reached the parrot watch point. We alls at and marvelled at the parakeets, lorakeets and red and blue macaws! It was awesome as they dpped in and out of their nests and zipped around. After and hour watching in awe it was time for the return journey!

It was just as hilarious as the outward joureny, minus the tantrums. I enlisted the help of Scott to help keep my shoes dry, he was walking through the water like it was a large puddle. I on the otherhand was fully submerged for most of the way back. I certainly wouldn{t be needing a swim today!

When we finally got back we were all in giggles. It had been a hilarious morning. We sat and recounted the hilarity t hat Catherine and Myself had provided the group with our very british inability to wade trhough rivers with sophistication. Sophistication I may have lacked, but I had style! I let out a sudden giggle, since I first met Scott in BA he had been spurting out quotes from Austin Powers in a mockney accent and this time seemed the most appropriate time to repeat Austin{s question "Honestly, who throws a shoe?" Laughter ensued as the answer was clear... Catherine throws a shoe.

After lunch it was time to pack up camp and head back to where the boat picked us up. Incidentally, when we got off the boat when we arrived, the boat had left us at the camp and was due to pick us up again at an agreed point. Scott pointed out as we were leaving that this was indeed a very safe practice. If something had happened to one of us, we would have been screwed with no boat back! We were totally stranded out in the camp. We hadn{t even seen any boats pass us by! Eek!

We carried all of our gear and walked out to where the boat was due to collect us. We sat on a dry river bed and got eaten alive by sand flies. We could hear the engine of a boat pass approaching, but it didn{t sound like a boat big enough to be ours, it came round the corner, and there it was, the smallest, shallowest boat you ever did see. Turns out the actual boat had broken down on the way, and that the boat man had to trade for another boat so that he could pick us up! This is all we could get! I ended up sitting on a very broken slat with my knees up to my chin. Somehow everyone else got proper seats, but i{m not moaning. We sat on the river and sailed back down the river carried by the river. This boat, being shallower, crossed the shallow parts with ease! There were a few hairy moments on the way back though as the boat nearly toppled in the water! Capsize! Now, seriosuly, I don{t think I over react too much, but my reaction to the near capsization turned the others to absolute disdain.

Three days in the jungle had been both incredible and terrible! We had cried and laughed in equal measures. All of use were drained from the experience. It had been rough, that{s no lie, and we had been exhausted by it all. Wehn we got back to rurrenabaque we saw a few other travellers who had done the pampas tour, they were lively, happy and smiley, we were drained! We shut ourselves in our rooms.

Back in Rurranabaque

We all took our time back at the hostel and napped, we girls went to get snickers and coke. We needed them now more than ever. When we came back Scott ventured back out in search of more snacks. And, I only say this, because it is funny, and if you know me you will laugh out loud... but as Scott left to go on a chocolate hunt I stopped him, "Scott... be careful" He looked at me "It{s a jungle out there". Oh my goodness I can be hilarious at times can{t i. It doesn{t happen very often, but when I crack a good one, I crack a good one. Scott, who was currently suffering from Jungle Belly did look impressed, he didn{t even laugh, he just left in disdain. I was hysterical, delirously hysterical, and it took a while for me to realise that not even the girls were laughing with me! I was on my own here!

We all were in need of an early night, so after we repacked our stuff, takin out the stuff we never used in the Jungle and adding things we wished we had we went to sleep. Except, we couldn{t sleep, the room had no windows, only nets and the building across the street was a church, with a PA system, and there was a very active service going on! We kept hearing words like hallelujah. Eventually I cracked out my ear plugs and gave in. I needed sleep!

SO, I know I said i would wrtite about all of this in one go, but I think I will stop here so yuo can laugh your little socks off at the antics of the jungle! The next installment you will get the rundown of the Pampas tour!

1 comment:

  1. FANTASTIC Amy. But Very Hairy Scarey and Indeed Very Very Funny. Lots of LOL's. X X X