Crazy Bugs Galore!
Trip Start Nov 23, 2009
37Trip End Jun 29, 2010
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Where I stayed
We have well and truly landed on our feet with the little guest house we found here. It is really charming, set in a gorgeous garden full of blooming flowers and fruit trees, and it has amazing views of the surrounding countryside. The real bonus is that it's only 4 pounds a night including a fab breakfast! We probably could find something for a pound or so less... But hey, who cares?? We want to spoil ourselves for a bit!
In line with above said intention, we've decided to stay here for a little while. We've already started some private spanish lessons with Chary, the lady that owns the hostel. She's actually very good and also pretty patient, which is a must what with Kris and I as students!
On our second day here we took a day hike with a really good tour company called 'Amboro Tours'. We visited a nearby scenic area known as El Codo De Los Andes which means the elbow of the Andes. It was such a good day.... We left at 8.30 in the morning, taking a 4x4 truck thing to the 'elbow'. The hike started at the top of a hill, which then dropped down into a massive valley. As you can probably imagine, this meant there were beautiful views right from the start of the trip; taking in the whole valley and the surrounding lush green foothills. The area surrounding Samaipata and the national park itself encompasses four distinct ecosystems which made for interesting hiking - one minute you're in sub tropical rainforest and the next you're walking through dense forests and then sandstone mountains! In addition to the spectacular views, a couple other highlights of the day were the random tree ropes that I got to launch myself off - great fun, it still makes me smile! And also the scary tarantula that was sat on someone's shoulder right next to me. My first priority was to grab my camera to get a picture; Kris on the otherhand was slightly more kind than me and actually told the chap he had a massive spider on him! Unfortunately for me I didn't manage to get the picture as the guy rapidly shot off into a stream trying to get the thing off him!
Just outside of Samaipata is an ancient ruin site called El Fuerte. While the ruins are no Machu Pichu, the site is pretty spectacular, with views right across the valley and down into Samaipata.
Other antics etc whilst here include:-
* The Village Mirador / Viewpoint - I checked this place out a couple of times as it had lovely views over the village and also no-one ever bothered to go up there as it was a bit of a climb... it was a great place to get some ´me time´. The down side of the route there was that it usually always took me past heaps of stray dogs. On one such trip I ended up getting bullied by a mini pack of 4 fairly large dogs that kept trying to bite me.... I decided to act bulshy and chased after the buggers (It was very satisfying seeing them run away!!).
* 3 hour walk with Kris exploring the area and trying to find a Buddist Temple which was supposed to be hidden away in the hills somewhere. We never actually found the temple but we did see some very cool bugs and plants on the way. We also ended up chatting to a friendly yet kind of scary looking farmer that was carrying a huge machete... again my imagination got carried away when we first came across him!
* Visiting a local animal rescue / refuge centre - this little place was located a couple of kilometres outside of town. The three of us (Kris, Sami and I) took a little mid-afternoon stroll out there passing some pretty countryside and also a herd of cows stomping down the narrow road we were on. Sami was a little unsure of passing through them, especially as Kris and I had told him that Bulls dislike the colour red (his t-shirt being red of course!). We got to the refuge in one piece... however Karma soon came to near enough literally bite me on the arse as I got bit by one of the horses which evily lured me in to petting it! Other than the ´soon to be glue horse´´... the refuge was pretty cool - I especially liked the Monkeys that were able to roam around freely. On the way back from the refuge, we stopped off at a little cafe - we decided to treat ourselves with some yummy pancakes and coffee. Our choice in Cafe was not good - it was a perfect example of true Bolivian time keeping / organisation standards - the pancakes arrived one after the other and then were followed by the coffee. I waited nearly one & half hours for my treat!!
* Getting very drunk on cheap Bolivian wine at a local restaurant, then continuing our drinking at the only bar open in the village. The bar was pretty basic and very local - there were 3 other people: the bar man, a random girl and a guy passed out on the table ( who was promptly carried outside shortly after we arrived by the bar man and the girl!). We had a couple more drinks here and then staggered home.... To our horror we discovered the front gate of the hostal had been locked... before I even had time to process this information, Kris was already climbing over the 7ft spiked gate - Alcohol clearly is a remedy for her fear of heights and inherent clumsiness! The next day in my spanish class I recounted the story to my teacher who was also horrified - she explained to me that 2 weeks or so before another girl had done the same thing but had slipped and impailed her arm onto one of the spikes (losing a good chunk of flesh in the process too). Kris went white when I told her this story!! The worst bit was that it turned out the gates weren´t even locked, we were just too drunk to realise otherwise.... doh