Rurrenabaque and the Pampas tour!

It’s the 6th of May today , I am writing all of this in retrospect — this is hard work!

We took our 45 minute flight from La Paz to Rurrenbaque in a tiny little tin can of an airplane. We flew right past the top of those pretty mountains I was talking about! Greg did not have a fun time at this point, as he couldn’t equalize his ears while we were flying = pain. I was glad it was only a short flight. We will be armed with de-congest ants galore when we go back this afternoon!

So, we landed in Rurre, it was like being slapped in the face with a hot wet towel! We were in a hot, humid and tropical climate! It´s very green here, just post the wet, rainy season. (Last week, it rained five days straight). We got a transfer bus from the airport -which was pretty close to being a tin shed and a strip of dirt. then found our tour people and our hotel. People seem to mostly get around on motorbikes here. Lots of restaurants and bars, also a swimming pool. We stayed at Hotel Oriental, 150 Bs per night – 21 AUD. This got us a double bed and windows with no glass covered in green shade cloth instead, also as many cold showers as you could want 😉

We then went in search of a local pub known as “Moskitoes”, the airline had given us a ticket for a free Caprina cocktail there. It went down well. As did the few beers we had after! We got chatting with an Englishman, Irishman and a really batty New Zealand-er. The Irish fella had one of the best tats I´ve seen for awhile! Ask me sometime, I will show you a photo.

The next morning we met up with our tour group “Mashquipe” at 0830, we took off with a couple of others on the tour in a four wheel drive on the unsealed road to get to the Amazon Basin. It was a bumpy dusty ride, the driver had a compilation of 80´s music that James and Nicole would have loved! On the way we stopped to check out a sloth that was chilling in a tree. Unsurprisingly, the sloth wasn´t doing anything!

So we got to a homestead around 1230 ish, and got told lunch was soon. We got given a room with bano (toilet) and shower that was pretty similar to the one in Rurre – except it overlooked the river! Minutes after arriving we saw our first few river el delphin! They were just lazily swimming, it was great. Pink dolphins look very odd compared to the grey, the dorsal fin is very different and they seem smaller too.

We got fed a midday feast of satay beef, rice, soup and all sorts! We chatted a bit to an English couple just finishing the tour, they warned us about the very enthusiastic mosquitoes which would attempt to bite you through your pants!

After lunch was a siesta, then we set off on an afternoon boat ride. The boats are long wooden things, with little metal chairs placed along the middle. Our guide´s name was Billy. He seemed to live at the base, along with his wife and kids. The boat rides are super relaxing, you are just cruising along the river watching heaps of different birds (lots of heron) and turtles enjoying the sunshine. We got to a deeper section of the river, where the dolphins hang out to hunt and play. We were invited to take a dip at this time, the water was so cold and goood! The mud on the bottom I was not a fan of though! I watched the dolphins (as well as you can with no glasses on) swim about and herd fish into groups. The fish would all panic and leap out of the water, the birds would swoop past and help themselves at this point. It was great to watch! The dolphins would coast close by to check you out.

This is some rat type thing, capy something…it was ODD looking!

That night we went to search for crocs! There are two main types, smaller ones about a metre or two, then large big black ones! We had seen a few of the smaller ones sunning themselves on logs earlier in the day. At night, you spot with torches for red eyes reflecting back at you. Initially, it seemed like a moonlit cruise with no animals to be found, then Billy pulled in through a narrow inlet area and it was like a croc convention. at least a half dozen pairs of eyes that I counted, glinting at you from torchlight. Then a few would disappear as we startled a few into the water. Eesh!

The next morning we went on an island trek! Wearing big wellies, we sloshed through mud and knee deep water looking for anacondas! It occurred to me, as I sloshed through the water and tangled weeds, that I was actively looking for a giant snake. What kind of idiot does that? We didn´t find one, however so it was more of a nature experience then anything else. The water is still a bit high for it to be easy to find the snakes. We saw a few monkeys from a distance and birds as well. I also managed to get stung by a fire ant. That is some pain, let me tell you! The ants live in a certain type of tree, I have no idea how one got me as I was not in a hurry to touch those trees. Post all of this nature and adventure it was time for some lunch and a sly siesta. Post lunch naps are the best! I ate plantains quite a bit this tour, the cook loved´em!

Late afternoon, we took a car ride to a lake nearby – mosquitoes were out in force, you couldn’t re-apply the repellent fast enough! We took a boat ride and spent the afternoon with Billy and his family catching piranha! Loads of fun! The bait is a small bit of meat, you barely have to drop your line in before something is attacking! There is a knack to this fishing though, you have to jag them onto the hook and if you aren´t quick enough, they´ll have taken the bait.  It took a little while, but I eventually caught one! My total was four for the day. Flipping them into the boat is a scary though, gotta watch your toes! Billy´s Mrs got bit by one ! We had a deep fried piranha each with our meal that night, they are tasty but there isn´t a lot of meat on them!

Oh, I should mention at night out near the basin, there are FIREFLIES! It was amazing and awesome! I tried to take some kind of time lapse photo, but my camera would not play ball! There are also heaps of frogs and toads hopping about. I squealed like a giant girly girl when I almost squashed one.

Ok, last morning of the tour – early morning cruise. We got up at 0530 (yuck) to cruise around while the sun rose. It was very, very pretty and amazing. The clouds and pink and gold reflected as a mirror image in the water…I was going mad with the camera. We then slowly made our way back to base. We stopped and watching a large group of yellow squirrel monkeys catching bugs for breakfast. They were so cute! They leap about in the branches and come to give the twits in the boat a good looking over as well!

We had a late breakfast, there is always a sweet option with breakfast here, some kind of sweet condensed milk stuff to slather onto bread. I am not into that personally! The cook did love her deep fry, one morning there were curry puff style things with cheese – tasted kind of like a toasty, then another morning some mash potato style things, also filled with cheese! Don’t worry, we did get a lot of vegie and fruit sides as well, but they love to double carb their meals here! I mean, why have only one? I ate a lot of tasty tropical fruits, the pineapple was devine!

After lunch was another swim up near the dolphions, which was great. They were more playful today and some came quite close! It was only a quick jaunt though. We made outr way back and said good bye to Billy and his cheeky kids. (Turns out he has five total! We only met the youngest two!)

We ambled back up the road to Rurre, has a shower, a few beers and then a sly nap. It was very hot yesterday! We then went out to dinner. It´s so funny here in South America, you order something, then five mintues later, will most likely see one of the staff duck out and come back with a bag of something. That night we ordered a couple of Sprites, the waiter glanced in his fridge, then took off across the road and bought dos Sprites from the deli! So funny! The meal that night was very Bolivian. Greg had some kind of beef, chip, boiled egg, cheese and vegie concoction, I had a grilled chicken with rice, chips and salas on the side. The salad had some cheese in it, don´t worry. The waiter also put some tomato sauce and mayo on the table, just in case I guess! We got nowhere near finishing these meals. A very cute stray cat that had a similar look to one of the Wogan-Browne´s old cats named Inky got some of my chicken. He was so cute with a little black tail and mostly white. I miss my cats!

We caught up on some sleep last night and this morning and today we are chilling in Rurre, well, sweltering in Rurre. We fly back to the La Paz this arvo, I will put some photos into these posts then! We have two nights in La Paz, then one night in Brazil!

Later: Back in La Paz, it’s cold again! Arg!

This entry was posted in Megamoon 2012, South America 2012, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Rurrenabaque and the Pampas tour!

  1. Bernie Nye says:

    How beautiful and amazing! Thanks for sharing these memories and photos! from Bernie Nye

  2. Tamlyn says:

    Such gorgeous pictures. I really should have tried harder to fit in your luggage.

  3. Cheryl says:

    Your entries are fantastic and so are the photos. I am really enjoying the journey, too.

  4. Al says:

    I really enjoyed reading that – photos are amazing, girl you got skilz. You both look so happy : )

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *