We returned to La Paz from Uyuni and to The Rover to book our next excursion which was to the Amazon basin. It has always been an absolute dream of mine to go to the amazon. So, needless to say, I was so excited. Omar and I left a few pals behind and decided to set sail through the amazon. I say "sail", there was no sailing involved. We were on a small sail boat going through the amazon. It was a great experience. My brief taste of life back in the Rover seemed to have immediately affected my sanity. Stupidity and ridiculousness became acceptable for the general public. We decided to grow moustaches for the event. It was inspired by Dave Collins, Jungle Detective. Who is Dave Collins, I hear you ask? Well, I was almost named David my parents told me. One night, we sat around and wondered what Dave Collins would be doing. How would life be different? Turns out life would have been very different. I would have had a moustache and been a jungle detective. What is a jungle detective? I would solve jungle crimes, obviously.
I understand that this was a puzzling move. I still look back and wonder what on earth is going on. It was myself, Omar and two other couples. Older and more mature. They did not find it particularly funny that we had moustaches. Truth be told, I am not even sure I find it funny but it seemed like it would have been funny. The other people on the tour must have thought we were two good friends with moustaches which I suppose we were. Did they think we were moustachio-ed lovers? Maybe. We insisted on telling the others that it was a joke which I think worried them more that this is what we considered a hilarious joke. Anyway, the boat journey was three days, two nights. It was a very enjoyable, but slightly boring. It would have been muh better if we had a better group. The couples were very coupley and sticking to themselves. However, maybe they were wary of the moustached comedians. I remember thinking it was relatively lucky that no one on the tour had a moustache.
We did two very cool treks while on the tour. One during the day and one trek at night. The jungle is pretty much exactly how you imagine it to be. So much color and so many exotic sounds. We did not get to see many wild or wonderful creatures but it was an enjoyable experience nonetheless. Cleverly, I did not think it bring trekking trousers. You would get eaten alive by insects so you need to cover up all that wonderful golden brown skin. Unfortunately, I only had skinny jeans. Trekking in skinny jeans is a fairly moronic idea, especially in baking heat. The moustaches and skinny jeans. A questionable duo we were. The night trek was maybe better than the day one despite not really being able to see that much. The lack of vision was made up by the amazing sounds that surround you. I was pretty terrified that I would get attacked by some sort of amazonian night monster but thankfully I survived. There were some very hairy moments. Well, there was none but I kept imagining all the different creatures that were hunting me. We camped on the edge of a forest on a beach which was very pleasant. We sat around the fire a night and ate some pretty fantastic food. I cannot remember what it was but it was awesome. I am sure it was just rice and meat. All the trips and treks that you go on in South America, the food is always fairly amazing which is a lovely bonus!
That night on the beach, there was a huge tropical storm. It was an insane storm. Buckets of rain, thunder, lightening and huge gusts of wind. I was amazed that the tent could withstand mother natures abuse. I kept picturing myself sprinting through the jungle to catch the tent but thankfully the tent survived the beating. We packed everything up and headed to Rurrenbaque, the final destination. We were in high spirits and excited to see the next place. As much as we enjoyed the boat trip, three days on a boat can be pretty boring. We pulled up in Rurrenabaque and it looked amazing. It most likely looked more amazing than it is in reality because we had not seen much civilisationfor a few days. The weather was stunning and it was a cool little town. We checked into a relatively decent hostel, more of a hotel than a hostel but was quite nicely priced. We booked ourselves onto the pampas tour. The pampas is a name for the Amazon savannas. This was an amazing activity and easily one of the best. All the boxes were ticked. The tour was brilliantly interesting, loads of animals, loads of activities and our group was awesome. A really great laugh. It is a 3 day, 2 night tour.
On day one, you leave Rurrenabaque early in the morning and drive for a few hours before arriving at the river where our boat for the next three days was waiting. A small, comfortable dug out canoe. The rest of the day was just cruising the river, seeing all sorts of birds, turtles, monkeys and crocodiles. At the beginning, we were taking so many pictures of all the animals as you were not sure how many we would see. Turns out, the whole river is packed with wildlife, so you will get to see so many creatures living side by side.
We arrived in our eco lodge where we would be spending the next two nights. The eco lodge was basic but very cool. We did not do much on our first night but relax and hang out. We went to a random field to watch the sunset which was rather pleasant. The second day is where all the action happens. We started off the morning with some anaconda hunting. This was so enjoyable but terrifying. I am not painting myself as the brave gladiator that you have grown to know and love but alas... We hopped off the boat in a huge field with very long grass. The guide gives you a pair of boots and instructs you to stomp through the grass. The guide told us that when we spot a snake, to let him know. I think anyone in the vicinity of Bolivia will hear me if I saw one of these bad boys. We were going through the long grass, trying really hard to be brave. It was a mixed feeling. You are searching for an anaconda and naturally when searching for something you want to find it but terrified of what an anaconda can do to someone. I kept thinking that this must be safe.
This is a tourist attraction! Must be safe. However, I quickly reminded myself that the Worlds Most Dangerous Road is also a tourist attraction in Bolivia. We found a few snakes. They were not as big or scary as Jennifer Lopez's "Anaconda" would lead us to believe. J'Lo was nowhere to be seen either. I acted like I was dissapointed that I did not stumble across a snake myself but secretly relieved. After some Anaconda hunting, it was time to go swimming with some dolphins. The boat pulled up in a section where the dolphins like to play. They were pink which was weird. Again, dissapointed what technology has taught me. They were nothing like Echo the dolphin video game.
The lake was surrounded by crocodiles which was fairly unnerving. However, we were told that they are afraid of dolphins so left us alone as we swam with the dolphins.....I just googled why they are afraid of dolphins and there seems to be no mention or evidence to them being afraid. That is slightly worrying. Thankfully, they stayed away anyway. Swimming with the dolphins was not as much "swimming with the dolphins" as it was desperately trying to swim towards them before they swim elsewhere. I will tell everyone that I did swim with them. Even though I am admitting the truth here. I shall deny this blog exists. After desperately attempting to swim with the dolphins, it was time for some fishing. We went fishing for some piranha. We had to throw our Piranha back after we caught it but I hear many tours save their catch for dinner that night. We put our back for conservation purposes. I am saving the rainforest, one step at a time.
There were plenty of piranhas to catch but it took a while to actually get them into the boat. However I was fishing, I impaled my poor fish. Hooks kept going straight into the eye. Sorry fellas. Get well soon. At least we did not eat you but no doubt you were eaten by the next group. Our tour group got oddly competitive while fishing. Despite none of us really knowing what to do, we all claimed to "finally have worked it out" before proving we did not have a clue and struggled to catch another one for quite some time. We returned to our eco lodge where we hung around in hammocks and chilled out for a few hours. We eventually headed to another field to watch another sunset. This was a lot more enjoyable as there was a bar and a football pitch. I was determined to show off all my silky skills but the terrain and my attire had other ideas.
I bought really lame cream trekking pants having learned my lesson regarding to skinny jeans. These pants were of a poor quality and as I stretched to kick a ball, there was quite the rip. As I took my eye off the ball to check the rip, I lost my footing on the less than stable ground before hitting the deck. My Bolivian football career was over as quickly as it began. That night we went back to the eco lodge for some grub. I forgot to mention that there was a swing rope from a high tree into a river which was surrounded by gators and crocs. Perhaps there were some dolphins around to protect us. We had our final meal with the group and decided to celebrate with some alcohol. After a few drinks, the drinking games got broken out and everyone ended up very drunk. Omar drove a boat in the amazon to pick up more booze. An offo in the jungle. How about that? The final day was just cruising the river and heading back to Rurrenabaque. What an amazing few days. Could not recommend the pampas tour more. We booked a flight to La Paz from Rurrenabaque. We were advised to fly this journey as at least one bus every 2 weeks goes over the edge. We spent a few more days in Rurrenabaque to work on the tan. There is a very cool bar called "Oscars", which has an amazing view of the town. It is a tad expensive but you get really nice drinks/food by the pool with a beautiful view. Why not splash some cash? We arrived back in La Paz and spent a few days there before heading to Arequipa in Peru...