Singing in the rain, ocelot hugs and jungle fun!

Trip Start Sep 20, 2007
Trip End Dec 20, 2007

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Saturday, November 17, 2007


Two weeks since, I last wrote, thats the longest time ever! I feel very out of practice, and my typing is even worse than usual :oS so excuse the (soon to be) many mistakes! I was going to write last week but unfortunately the power went (a regular occurence) before I had time... So much to catch up on!

Actually theres not that much to say as obviously at the park one day is pretty similar to another, unlike travelling. But its awesome in adifferent way.  So i'll just give you some highlights :o)

Firstly, Lazycat has to be the number one highlight, she is absolutely adorable and the more I get to know her the more I love her :o) its amazing how the relationship btween us has changed in 3 weeks, for a start I trust her now to not bite me (hard)! I can tell when i get to her cage each morning what her mood is that day - sometimes she is really playful and spends the whole time launching herself on to my legs and chewing on my knees, other days she sleeps most of the time and wants regular cuddles, and some days she wants to walk lots. When shes in a cuddles mood she is so sweet, she climbs in to my lap when im sitting on the floor, puts her pawsup on my shoulders and rubs noses with me :oD and she will lie next to me wanting to be stroked for hours at a time. She also likes to grab my hands with her paws, and pull out my arm hairs with her teeth! Shes pretty good at it, ocelots seem to have a very fine grip considering their teeth are so big. When shes in a playful mood shes also really cute but I have to be a bit more  careful because she stalks me and jumps on me! She keeps her claws in (mostly) and only bites playfully, but sometimes her games can get a bit rough! Oh and the other day Lazy pounced on a tarantula - it wsa huge! i had to pull her off because I was scared it was poisonous :oS

A bit of bad news - last week when I wsa walking Lazy I was taking photos of her so had my camera in my shirt pocket, adn somehow managed to lose it in the jungle :o( im so stupid, 3 cameras lost or broken in 5 months! So I owe mummy a new camera, and i cant take photos of the park easily :oS luckily Helen is happy to lend me her camera so i can take photos and then put them on my memory stick. I've got it with me but forgot the cable to connect in to the computer, doh!

In other park news, I'm now also looking after 2 more ocelots, OB and Engine. Unfortunately we don't have enough volunteers at the moment so I'm having to split my time between the three cats which is making my days very busy! OB is semi-wild so can be walked like Lazy but doesnt like too much affection and can bite when shes in the mood. Engine is wild and therefore cant be let out of his cage but we are trying to humanise him so i try and spend an hour a day sitting with him, singing and talking and stroking him through the bars. He seems to appreciate the company, but its hard to tell! He is bigger than Lazy and handsome but Lazy is definitely the best looking of the three! (or maybe I am a touch biased...) its interesting to work with other ocelots to see how different they are, adn experience a more wild wildcat! But Lzy makes me feel so guilty cos every time I walk past her cage to get to the others she thinks im coming to see her, adn then starts pacing and looking miserable when i keep going :o( and she only gets to see me for 3 hours a day instead of 6 so is cooped up for longer, poor baby. oh shes also started to prefer me to the other volunteers - when people walk past she always likes to say hello, but now she also always makes sure she knows where i am and keeps coming back to me :o)

I'm really enjoying life in the park - the other volunteers are all great and its a real family atmosphere. in fact its quite like being on guide camp again! We have no electricity so its all candle light in the evenings, and we often play card games. Theres a really good game called Lobo (werewolf in spanish), its a bit like wink murder but more complictated. A lot of fun, i will teach some of you when I get home! Could be good with some drinks! We had a bonfire to celebrate fireworks night, that was really cool :o) we had a talent show and people did sketchs, songs etc, very funny. had some drinks too obviously, its so cheap here. Also got a touch drunk on weds, we went to Santa Maria to watch Pirates 3 and I ended up having a bit of a drinking contest with one of the bolivian guys, oops! We hitched back to camp in a pickup truck adn sat in the fumadore (like a summer house with hammocks in, meant as a smoking room) playing I have never ever until 2am. Not that late except we have to start work at 7am! Yuk!

the food is improving here at least at breakfast time. i've clubbed together with 3 other people to buy eggs etc and we take it in turns to cook each morning so now im starting the day with scrambled eggs tomatoes adn fried bread each day! Much better than the stale bread and margarine thats provided :o) also eating lots of mangoes, adn prob more oreos than I should.

On Sunday it rained torrentially, and they decided that would be a great day for us to transport sand, rocks and gravel to Jaguaru's cage - a 30 min walk through the jungle. So we slipped and slided carrying huge weight in rucksacs, there and back 3 times. It was soo horrible, the rain meant we were all drenched, plus the paths all turned into streams, with puddles so big that the water went over the top of my wellys. Not that it mattered because the water was also soaking into my trousers and running into my boots that way so my feet were already soaked. I fell over once, slipped on the mud, and its hard to stand up again with a bag of gravel on your back! But it had to be done, Ru needed an cage extension in case of emergencies and there is no way to get trucks or wheelbarrows out there so all the stuff ahd to be carried. on the plus side I got to meet him! Jaguaru, Ru for short, is (obviously) one of our jaguars, adn he is soo cool! Hes not the biggest here but hes built like a tank, over 100kg of solid muscle. Hes got a massive head and shoulders and huge paws :o) Hes really cool! Also i met Inti,Wara and Yassi this week - 3 puma sisters who've grown up in the park. They are really cute, very friendly and affectionate. Hopefully I will get to go swimming with them this week! And finally I met tupac, a blind puma who we're building a new cage for. Hes adorable, I'll have to get a photo :o)

I think thats about it, I wont bore you with tales of cleaning the bathrooms, feeding the toucans, singing with the parrots, chatting to the baby puma and showering with the tejons (like a raccoon). But trust me that every day is very busy, and different, and im doing so much stuff i never thought I would do. I'm glad im staying for 4 weeks because now I really feel a part of the park and that im experiencing it properly. And its very cool :o)

Look forward to hearing from you all, will be on the internet again next saturday, which is also my birthday, yay! Have less than a month of travelling left now, which is very weird. then i need to join the real world, eep.

Going to have meat for dinner tonight, whoop! oh and I forgot to say, last week we went to a farm run by a group of mennonites just up the road, and bought yummy yogurt from them. And I asked for 2 litres of milk, and the boy walked into the field, milked the cow straight into the bottle and bought it over! Can't get much fresher than that! it was yummy :o)

So im going to go and have dinner and drinks here in Guarayos before heading back to the mosquito fest that is the park .o)

Take care, lots of love xxxxx

P.S. there are photos from when i cycled down Death Road at, look at the folder for 13th oct. Enjoy!
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