View from the hill!

View from the hill!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Anacoñda, Piranha and Caiman Oh My!

The first night in the amazon was an experience I will not soon forget. Once the sun goes down and darkness falls the surrounding rainforest comes alive with croaks, barks, buzzes and roars. Although we still were not used to the extreme humidity and falling asleep was tough, just thinking about the fact that we were sleeping right in the midst of so many creatures made it worth while. No alarm clocks were needed to wake up, the howler monkeys served as our wake up call!

Day 2 in the Amazon started with a delicious breakfast of pancakes and dulche de leche (instead of syrup...) and then a search for anaconda! I was the only girl that went on this journey, the rest decided to spend the morning resting on the hammocks. So the 3 Chilean boys, the Swiss guy and I headed across the river to begin our trek to find anaconda´s. It started with a hike through waist high reeds. Then we entered the swamp. We had about a 10 minute trek through the swamp. When you think of a swamp you may think of a walk through some wet grassland. Think again. The water was up to our necks. The boys all took off their pants and went in bare feet. I choose to keep my pants and boots on, after all i did not want to risk stepping on any of the snakes, gators or who knows what else might have been in that water! After another 30 minute walk we arrived at Caiman City. A lagoon type body of water filled with hundreds of caiman and gators. As you looked across the water you saw about 500 gator heads sticking out of the water, it was unreal!

As we walked we spotted gator nests filled with eggs and of course our guide decided to poke and prod at the nests to get a response out of the gators. Soon angry gators came charging up to the shore. As we made our way around the lagoon Yas was searching for traces of anaconda´s. It didnt take long before we came across a 4 meter anaconda! She was pretty skinny bc she had not eaten in a while, but her size was still impressive. She was most likely out hunting today, she will eat either a large bird or maybe a small gator and then sleep for 2 months. Although we had seen what we came in search of the boys were not satisfied and wanted to keep walking further into the pampas. We walked for another hour or so through the waste high reeds in the boiling hot sun. The mosquito's were out of control. We each had about 25-50 on us at any given time. They never landed on my skin thanks to the military strength bug lotion I wore. But they bit right through my clothes and I am now covered in bites, making it look like I am suffering from a bad case of chicken pox.

After lunch and a nap in the hammocks we were back onto the river to fish for piranah´s. After about 2 hours of fishing in mosquito infested corners of the river we gave up and headed back towards camp. We made a pit stop at a deserted little hut, which again was serving cold beer for 20 bolivians. Our tour guide never told us we would be making these stops so no one ever had any money to spend. This stop was probably the most random part of the trip. It was clearly someones house seeing as there was a family and 2 dogs living here. There was a dirt soccer field and volleyball net along side a few cows and chickens. About 15 minutes after we arrived about 5 other tour groups cruised up via canoe. I guess the idea was to have a social hour where we would all play soccer and drink beer. We hung out here with the other groups until the sun set at about 7;30. On the way back to our camp we went searching for caiman in the dark. We saw lots of bright red eyes coming out of the water. After dinner we all hung out in the hammocks and listened as the Chilean boys played the guitar and sang us traditional songs.

On our last day in the Pampas we went out in search of the pink dolphins. The idea was to swim with the dolphins but I had decided early on that I would not be swimming in the river. The boys all got in as soon as they spotted a dolphin, but of course the dolphin swam away as soon as they jumped in! We then rode a little further up the river in search of sloths sleeping in nearby trees. We were lucky enough to spot 2 sloths!!! It was very exciting, I have loved sloths ever since I did my 2nd grade project on them at Stoneleigh! Unfortunately I was not able to get a good photo since they were so high up in the trees.

After a successful and satisfying few days in the Bolivian Amazon it was time to pack up our belongings and head back on that long journey to Rurrenabaque. The jeep ride was a bit more painful this time around as we were sunburned, mosquito bitten, covered in dirt and stinky. But we had all become such good friends that the 3.5 hours passed quickly. I was sad to say goodbye to the group once we got back into Rurre.

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