The Bolivian Amazon

Trip Start Jun 21, 2006
Trip End Aug 15, 2006

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Sunday, July 16, 2006

So the first thing we learned while traveling to the Amazon in Bolivia is that the trip really was going to be in the middle of nowhere. The day we were supposeed to leave all flights to our destination city, Rurrenabaque, were cancelled, because it rained IN THE MORNING! Why is an entire day of flights cancelled due to a couple inches of rain, you ask? Because the runway is a patch of grass in the middle of the jungle! So we had to spend another night in La Paz waiting for our flight the next day.

Thankfully, the runway dried up, and we were able to leave the next day, the 16th. The airline (if you can call it that, as it consists of a company with two planes that fly back and forth from three or four diffeerent cities) has an interesting policy to accommodate cancelations. Basically, if your flight gets cancelled, you just show up for the same flight the next day. All the people that originally had tickets for that second flight then get moved to the next day, and so on. So we basically had to kick a group of five British college students off the flight to get on it. They accused us of being obnoxious Americans (true, but not necessarily at that moment), and the airline of doing whatever we wanted because we were loud. It was tense, but entertaining. Plus angry Brits are hard to take seriously because their accents are so cool.

Anyway, we took the one hour flight, which descended from La Pazīs 11,000 feet to Rurreīs (thatīs what the locals call it) 3,000 feet. We all loved the feel of actual oxygen in our bodies again. Then we met our Amazonian guide, who walked us across the street to the river, where we got in an 8-person motorized canoe that took us 45 minutes up the river to our first stop. The canoe trip was amazing - immediately we saw birds that we had never seen before. The place we stayed that night was amazing - a lodge run completely by the 136-person town neighboring it (San Miguel). The townspeople saw that they could improve their quality of life by creating a destination for tourists, and could teach others about their culture and environment in the process. We went on a walk through the community, seeing their one-room schoolhouse, playing with a pet monkey (my personal highlight - check out the pictures), and making our own sugar cane juice. We slept great that night, and then headed back to another canoe for our next journey...
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