Santa Cruz

Trip Start Mar 01, 2007
Trip End Jun 01, 2007

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Friday, May 11, 2007

We got into Santa Cruz quite late, then the next morning headed over to Catīs Dadīs house.  We met Catīs cousin Ludwing, his wife Sandra and their two cute kids, Angela and Andreas.  We hung out in Santa Cruz for the day eating Parilla and Salteņas.  The following day we headed to Samaipata, we were delayed for a while by a landslide, but otherwise Ludwingīs jeep was able to make it through the bad roads.

Samaipata, on the edge of the Amboro national park is quite a nice town with some pre-Inca and Inca ruins.  The following day we headed to a butterfly world, where apart from the interesting array of butterflies there was a series of 18 rock pools, and a lagoon.  Really nice to spend the day relaxing and sunbathing.

We hired a driver for Ludwings jeep to take us the next day to īLos Espijillosīwhich are some waterfalls and rock pools across the River Pirai.  We got across the river OK - heavily armed with weapons supplied by Catīs Dad (think he was afraid of bandits) - and had a lovely day relaxing in the rock pools and observing the wildlife.

Unfortunately, on the way back across the river (knee deep, 400m wide (at least) and soft sand) we spotted another jeep stuck in the sand and I think our driver lost his nerve, and when we hit some soft sand he stopped the car, and we immediately started sinking.  His attempts to get us out just ended up with the jeep wheel-spinning and sinking further on one side. For some reason despite our earlier suggestions (before we got to the river) that he put the car into four wheel drive, he decided to change into four wheel drive once we were stuck, by which time it was too late.     

Dave couldnīt open his door as water started coming in so we evacuated the vehicle, leaving it stranded in the middle of the river.  Luckily the other guy who was stuck had been there for some time, and a tractor was already on itīs way (I think this is how the tractor driver makes his living).  The tractor arrived and we were out in no time, thank God, and we brought down their charge of 100 Bolivianos to 20, awesome. It would have been good to take pics of this, but cat wouldn't let me as she felt so bad for Ludwings car.

Now weīre off to the pantanal on the Death train, itīs actually pretty comfortable and luxurious as far as Bolivian transport goes, i think the death train ref. comes from a local tribe who used to raid the train as recently as 1950īs (donīt quote this). Also it can take up to 24hrs on the slow, mosquito infested train. Our fast train took only 12.

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