Trinidad (Nothing to do with Tobago)

Trip Start Jun 27, 2004
Trip End Sep 22, 2004

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Tuesday, August 3, 2004

The bus journey from San Ignacio to Trinidad was a bit more comfortable. For a start I had a proper seat and there were windows to protect you from the dust and sand, provided you closed them when vehicles came the other way! Halfway through the trip, a little voice behind me said "How you enjoy Bolivia?". It turned out to be a girl from Luxembourg called Reyena. She's also based in Santa Cruz as a volunteer - teaching English, not her strongest subject!!

On the middle river crossing we had a heart stopping moment. Everyone had got off the bus and watched in horror as the bus failed three times to get off the balsa raft. All of our baggage was on board so we were all mightily relieved when the bus finally made it to dry land!

When the bus stopped in Trinidad, it wasn't where I expected to be. It was about 30 minutes to walk to the centre, and then the hotel I wanted to stay in wasn't where the Lonely Planet had placed it on the map. A 10 minute backtrack and I was in my room, having a cool shower (despite the promise of HOT water) and listening to CNN on the TV, my first English language TV in weeks.

I don't want to put you off visiting Trinidad if you ever get to Bolivia, but the open drain sewerage system is a bit on the smelly side, especially as the weather was fantastic! Despite the whiff, you soon learned which direction the wind was blowing so you knew which streets to wander along. The central plaza is perportedly the largest in Bolivia, and it is circumnavigated nightly by thousands of locals on mopeds. I have never seen anything like it!

The restaurants are pretty good though. It's cattle country so if you like beef, you're in heaven. The beef kebab was enough to feed about 6 people so I sent back an embarrassing amount of food, not something I enjoy doing. I also had Pacu, a local fish, lots of bones and not as tasty as Surubi. Then on Sunday night I found a small restaurant where Gringos are obviously very rare, and had a wonderful spicy beef burrito served in a bowl of soup. Very unusual but very tasty.

Trinidad on a Sunday was very quiet. I wanted to do a trip but all of the agencies were closed so I had a good wander around and eventually found a hotel prepared to allow me use of their pool for a few pesos. It was a nice relaxing afternoon and the pool, whilst not the cleanest I have ever used, was very refreshing.

On Monday I found a tour agency prepared to organise a trip for a solo traveller. That makes things rather expensive and I shied away from a day on the river for US$70, settling instead for a day on a ranch for $30.

My journey to the ranch was on the back of a motorbike, not something I enjoy very much, but a necessity at the time. It wasn't as bad as I had feared though. Riding a horse was a new experience too. I didn't really ride it, I just sat there whilst it plodded along following my guide on his mount! After 2 hours I was a bit saddle sore, and I still am a day later as I write this!!

The afternnon was spent on a rickety canoe on a lake, fishing for whatever lives in there. There was an abundance of birds everywhere, but a severe lack of fish on the end of my line. I got a few bites (and not from mosquitoes for once!) but was unable to hook anything. Never mind, it was a really good afternoon anyway, and the wooden seat in the canoe was far more comfortable than the hard leather of the saddle!!

In the evening I got to the bus station an hour before departure. That'll teach me! Still, I was able to watch the organised chaos. How everything works out there I'll never know. There were just crowds of people everywhere, people shouting, luggage trolleys being dragged all around, and to cap it all, a 2 Bolviano compulsory departure tax - a ticket for the right to board! Despite the hectic scenes, the bus left on time, but again two comfort stops on the way disrupted my sleep. I just feel sorry for those who live near these comfort stops, as there are no actual facilities. I'll just leave you to imagine the smell, and to think of Trinidad on a hot day when you do!!
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