Getting back to nature in the Bolivian jungle
Trip Start Dec 04, 2007
5Trip End Ongoing
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Our guide was a crazy man called Mani. He grew up in the jungle but now made his money giving people like us a taste of life in the wild. Onboard our canoe was a very nice man called Gunnar, who ran his own tourist agency on an island called Usedom in Northeast Germany. Basically, every year he worked for nine months then had three months off to travel. Not a bad life at all!
Off we set on a 3hr boat ride to get to our camp. Again, like the Pampas, the camp was basic. But unlike the Pampas this place had no bar : ( What it did have though was nature's very own orchestra
That afternoon we did our first trek into the jungle. Mani took his machete, which we thought might be for effect. Oh no. After walking for about 50 yards down a small path, Mani decided he wanted to go a different way and hacked a hole in the foliage and beckoned us to follow! Real Indianna Jones stuff! Mani was a brilliant guide and told us all about the different plants in the jungle and what they were used for. For example, we got to one tree and he cut the bark. Out dripped some sap, a few drops of which he informed us could kill a man! We learnt so much in the few hours we were out walking. Here's a brief summary of what we got up to:
Ate termites (they taste a bit like tic tacs).
Swung on vines to get across rivers.
Made water bottle carriers out of thin vines.
Tried on a natural plaster cast.
Found a plant that could clear even the most blocked of sinuses
Saw wild pigs, parrots and howler monkeys.
The next day we did another trek, which was just as cool. Again, here's a summary:
Crossed ravines on fallen tree trunks (don't look down!)
Ate coconut lavae ('I'm a celebrity get me out of here' style)
Found some Lion ants (nasty critters that will literally eat anything, humans included as Gunnar found out!)
Drank water from vines. Same vines could also be used to filter river water. Amazing stuff.
After lunch on the second day Mani wanted us to try some fishing. Firstly we had to catch some smaller fish to hunt for the bigger fish, so off to the river bank we went. Mani got his bow and arrow out (yep, you did read that correctly) but couldn't catch anything. He reckoned we'd have better luck on the other side of the river. Only trouble was we didn't have a boat to cross said river. No problem according to Mani who disappeered for a couple of minutes and returned with three logs
Mani went off to fish while Lee and I shivered on the river bank getting killed by horse flies. Not much fun. We'd soon had enough, so shouted to Mani (who it turns out was lining up a fish which promptly swam off!) that we wanted to go back. He response was 'swim'! So much for our 'guide'. Into the water we got. The current was strong. The water was muddy. And we were heading for a fork in the river that would've taken us all the way to Brasil. We said a little prayer to Terry (our travel god) then swam like crazy! We made it. But it was touch and go for a while. Once we'd got our breath back we allowed ourselves a little 'man hug' before setting off for camp.
Our final day was spent fishing for the big stuff (as the night before we'd gone on a trek and Mani had managed to catch a small fish using just his machete, I jest ye not!). We used handlines and both Lee and I came good. Although Lee again caught the biggest
So that was the end of our jungle adventure. We headed back to Rurrenabaque and were relived to find that our flight was confirmed. We got on the plane tired but happy to have toughed it out in the wilderness!
Next up, the Salt Plains.
Until then...adios amigos.