Monday 27 April 2009

Vm Expedition from Chile to Bolivia

We started off our first adventure within the jungle sporting our EXTREMELY attractive jungle shirts, with the best shirts definitely going to Emma, and Fred, with Emma´s looking like a grandmothers table cloth and set of curtains, and Fred looking like a 75yr old man attempting to look young and play golf! Rob´s shirt would have been in the running had it not been on him, as it happens, the plad actually suits him (hillbilly). The journey was literally one of the most enjoyable journeys that we have had since being in South America, it was flat and breezy, with lots of sights! what more could you want except maybe Pimms?!

we arrived at the ecolodge, with none of us knowing what to expect, and it has to be said, our expectations werent high when we saw the tiniest little dingy waiting there to take us across to the ecolodge, and the hurrendously deep mud we had to endure to get to the dingy. when we got there and saw our rooms the mood was very much lifted and positive despite the sweltering heat, and the amount of insects flying around! we had an amazing lunch while it poured down with rain. after lunch we went for a "walk" in Robs eyes, definitely not for the rest of us, anything longer than 1 hour classifies as a hike!! it ended up being 3 hours, with many a funny moment seeing a 5ft 3" bolivian man carrying a 6ft 5" LAZY english boy (Fred). i can safely say though we have seen enough trees, and plants to save us a lñife time, and we thought that the rest of the time would be focused on animals, oh how wrong we were....

the second day in the jungle meant that the groups split up and walked on seperate trails and were going to meet up and go swimming afterwards. Emily´s group went further up, whilst Rob´s group stayed lower down. on the way to the jungle, we saw a Jaguar, much to Robs amusement! what made it worse was that the least jungle person ever (me) spotted it! after spotting the jaguar we were on a high, however that soon fell flat on its face with all of the plants and birds being pointed out to us! Robs group also had an eventful time with the quick mud, with Sophie ending up waist deep in it (so knee height for everyone else), and Debbie losing a few inches off her height as well!! all was ok with Alexander swooping in and sweeping them both off their feet, much to all of the other girls amusement! we finally met at the river with both groups exchanging storied whilst enduring the surprising rapids that "just appeared"! some of us also went on an afternoon trek to find the porku-pigs (correct terminology ofcourse), however that wasnt as successful as planned, however it was definitely worth it to see a slightly over cocky quest leader fall in thousands and thousands of pigs poo, and then proceeding to complain about it for a while, mentioning no names... Rob!!!!

the next morning was an early start as we travelled on to the pampas, much to everyones excitement as this meant we could see more animals without actually having to leave the boats!!! the morning boat ride back was really nice and we saw some amazing sights, after that we had a 3 and a 1/2 hour jeep ride to the pampas, and let me tell you, words cannot describe just how rediculously bumpy that "main road" was, even in a 4x4 with questionable suspension! we eventually arrived at the river and got on the boats to be greated by some pink river dolphins in the background! it was an amazing sight! we arrived at the other eco lodge and had lunch and then had an afternoon swim with the dolphins which wasnt as delightful and relaxing as first anticipated! everyone entered the water with anticipation, with emma and i being greated by a soaking from an unsuspecting dolphin behind us! other people swam with dolphins and had a great time, we also had people getting bitten on the feet, and on one occasion the leg! other than that, everyone had an amazing time!

the next day went down river and admired all of the wildlife along the river, which was spectacular! it was extremely hot and some people started to get heat stroke but we saw lots of monkeys and birds, i think its safe to say that the leaders and the guides saw a lot more birds than us but due to our reactions from them pointing out the birds, they decided against showing us anymore than they had to! we also so a capy bara, much to everyones excitement! it was definitely a highlight! in the afternoon we swam with the dolphins again, with no blood being drawn! in the evening it was emmas birthday and she had the nice surprise of a bolivian tradition of an egg and flour cracked and poured over her head! none of us have any idea why, we did get told, but none of us understood! she also had the biggest cake i have seen in a while!

the next day we left bloody early to go anaconda hunting! that was DEFINITELY the most well spent time, we saw 5 anacondas.... NOT! we walked for what seemed like a year without any sightings of any snakes! we did however see more capy bara´s and camen!! we then had lunch and headed back to Rurranabaque... OH JOY! a mutual feeling throughout the group!

the next day saw a rude and unusual awakening for one member of the group as it was his birthday (Freddie), he was greated by Emma and I cracking egg and pouring flour over his head! after that, a few of us, Rob, Emily,Tom, Fred, Sarah, Sophie and I, went to the animal enclosure on the otherside of the river where the Bolivia group had been helping out. when we arrived there we went straight away to see the most adorable baby spider monkey everywhere! we all got a chance to hold her, a DEFINITE birthday highlight for one, and a highlight for he rest of us! after that we trekked around the enclosure, admiring the work of the bolivian group, with all of us realising that we definitely chose the best project as it hadthe least manual labour! in the afternoon we went out onto the road, ready to hitch hike a ride back to Rurranabaque, 3hours went by with about 2 full cars going past, and us passing the time playing the name game! by about 4 or 5 hours of waiting we resorted to Ceibo (96% alcohol) to relieve the pain of waiting and to celebrate Freddie´s birthday! not to worry parents it was "watered down"! it got to 11:30 with no sign of any cars coming past or any way of us getting back that night so we called it a night and stayed in the house. the others however did manage to celebrate fred´s birthday without him, or us! apparently they had an amazing time, with a few people enjoying themselves slightly too much!

the next morning those of us who were stranded in the jungle got up at 5 to go and wait by the road for hopefully a car or anything to take us back as we had a flight to catch! ourt waiting paid off and we hitched a road on the back of a log lorry, the funniest sight was definitely us all trying to climb up the back of this lorry! once on the lorry, and EXTREMELY slowly, but surely making our way back in poured with rain, in true jungle style! we made it back to find a relieved bunch of people and that our flight had been delayed, much to everyones dismay! this meant we celebrated freddie´s birthday in rurranabaque, its quite the experience! everyone had a great night, especially the birthday boy!!!

the next morning we were up bright and breezy to catch our plain back to La Paz, it turns out that the rain saved us, because otherwise we would have missed our flight! we turned up to the "airport" which was a shack in the middle of this field, and then flew back to La Paz, i can safely say that we have never been so relieved to be back in La Paz!

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