Thursday, 29 December 2011

La Paz to Potosi – And a few problems!!


On the road again, an early start today as we have to cover around 550km to Potosi with no decent towns in between for a midway stop, I’ve now renamed the road as ‘The Road of One Thousand Outstretched Hands’  as the whole route is lined with children begging passing travellers with upturned palms or hats.

Most of the road across the altiplano is straight & boring at a height of around 12,500ft as you approach Potosi however the road improves with some real big sky views.
We hit a few problems today,  first we wasted about an hour in Oruro looking for fuel as since the 1st December only certain garages can sell petrol to tourists in Bolivia at an inflated price of over double what the locals pay (Bs 8.96 a litre), after about 6 attempts we finally located one that would serve us. 
Second & more significantly we arrived in Potosi at 7.30pm just as it was turning dark to find Dave was missing. 2.5 hours later after much waiting & backtracking he finally appeared, he had lost his Kriega belt containing all his travel documents, camera & memory cards, now you know why the Blog is behind & I’m doing it!

Rurrenabaque & The Jungle

Saturday 17th to Tuesday 20th December

Our transport to & from the Jungle, we took a 4 day excursion from La Paz. Rurrenabaque is a small town of 8,000 inhabitants situated on the East bank of the Beni river 400k NE of La Paz & forms the gateway to the Madidi National Park & our final destination of Chalalan Lodge.

Tourism is the main economy for the town but locals still bringing their produce for sale on the bank of the River Beni.

Happy Hour & a Pisco Sour or two in the Mosquito Bar.

On our way from Rurrenabaque to Chalalan Lodge, 5 hours by boat up river & 3 hours return, for once Dave & I have no motion sickness issues.

A Capybara (The World’s largest rodent) on the bank of the River Beni.

Dave relaxing outside our accommodation at Chalalan, this eco-lodge was built & is run by the local indigenous community with the guides passionate about their way of life & the pristine rainforest, local plans for a dam, oil exploration & a new road are not well received.

Our new Dutch friends Michele & Paul on the lake during our first exploration from the lodge, further trips included day & night Jungle treks plus a night paddle around the lake.

Red Howler Monkey in the trees, other animals spotted included Toucan, Scarlet Macaw, various spiders & tarantulas, Toads, Squirrel & Cappuccino Monkeys, Amazon Tree Boa plus many others along with interesting Flora & Fungi. 
We really wanted to see a ‘spotty dog’ (the name we gave to a Jaguar) but only got as close as finding a paw print in the mud.

Caiman in the Lake, I believe they are not dangerous to humans (that’s what they told me when I went for a swim).

Roger & Bob by the Lake, what a beautiful & peaceful location! Iit’s easy to see why the locals want to keep it this way even if they don’t have TV & internet access.