WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE

“In the adventure known as life, there are those who live it vicariously, and enjoy the ride from the safety of an arm-chair; and that’s good. There are those who have a few chances to realize incredible and life-changing experiences; and though they don’t repeat them, they carry with them a growth and personal philosophy for the rest of their lives. And there are those for whom a taste, is never enough; for whom the lust of adventure, is nearly insatiable. And if you add to that the overwhelming desire to create, and to share, then you get where I reside. For the end of one adventure, only signifies the beginning of another.”– Les Stroud

Here I am in the Pampas of the amazon in the north west of Bolivia around 3 hours away from Rurrenabaque. It’s 7:30pm and and I’m sitting in bed under my mosquito net. I’m on a 3 day tour with Flecha Tours from Rurrenabaque with 2 Brits and an Iraqi. There were meant to be five more people but something happened with the plane they were on and one guy was really sick. Let’s take a step back to where I left off and i will fill you in with the tour a little later..

I set off from Santa Cruz to Tupiza around 7:30pm on the most comfortable bus I have been on yet.. It was a bus with  only 3 seats wide instead of 4 and nearly reclined all the way!! I had the best sleep and arrived around 8am. I walked in to the plaza. Was around 10 minutes in the heat. I found the information center to find accomodation and they suggested  some hotels. I walked around and looked at a couple and ended up staying in hotel Paulita in a private room for $60 bolivianos per night. I needed to do some washing so got on it when I checked in. It was so humid it took 2 days with the fan on to dry. I made my way over the road for a freshly cooked bafe which you pay by the kilo. Was a little expensive but I hadn’t eaten all night and didn’t want to spend too much time looking around for semi normal food.. Everything around seems to be deep fried KFC style chicken.

After lunch I walked the city to go and see the Pantanal park where they have a few different animals but unfortunately the place was closed for maintenance. I still managed to walk around the property and look through the fence to watch the pigs and a deer as well as a hawk that flew in with a fresh kill.

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A man told me this guy has impaled 2 people at the park

I thought I may as well make the most of the time and make my way to see the museums. I walked some more in the heat around 30-40 minutes to the archeological museum which was also closed!! I just wasn’t having luck. Well there were still 2 more museums to visit in the University. They have a fish museum with around 400 species of native fish preserved in glass tanks. There are a few people there who were happy to guide me around and gave some great information.

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Check out those fangs!! wow

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This guy is resposible for a few deaths of humans. Many tribes thought that their ancestors where coming to eat them in the river because the teeth are a lot like human teeth.

Next up I visited the botanical museum and I had a guy show me around for around an hour!! It was great. They have heaps of seeds from medicinal plants and give a lot of information about plants and how they work ect. I thought it was quite amazing. I was still kind of stuck with what I wanted to do and just couldn’t make up my mind so went to Moxos tours to look at my options in the area. A river boat trip was 300 bolivianos per day with a group or 600 as a single. No one else was booked in so I looked at horse riding.. It was still super expensive and not worth the money at all. I enjoyed it but it was really simple and a lot of riding near main roads. We didn’t get out to see anything special. The best part about it was my riding partner, wow I cant remember her name but she was gutted to see me leave. She was really sweet.

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My guide 😉

The next morning I went to bus bus terminal to check times to get to Rurrenabaque. The guy said in one hour.. Or the next one is on Monday!!  It was Friday and I didn’t want to spend more time in Trinidad. I bought a ticked for 160 bolivianos and took a Moto taxi (motor bike taxi) back to my room. Pretty much everyone in Trinidad rides a motorbike. It’s insane. I quickly packed my things and grabbed a taxi back to the station. I bought a couple of small snacks.. Then began to wait. It was super hot and the bus was an hour late. When I saw the bus I was thinking wow it’s old and has some off road tires. I had no idea what the ride was going to be like. I was right at the back of the bus and not far out of the city we were on a dirt road that looked like it was man made in the middle of the water. It became super rough and didn’t stop for the whole 19 hour journey!!

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Time to take the bus across the river

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These things were huge.. I really wanted to run across them

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This was the nicest part of the road

We crossed 2 rivers on a small barge that was towed with the smallest boat.  The scenery was breathtaking and we even saw the pink dolphins swimming along with many amazing birds and fish jumping out of the water beside the bus.. This was nice to see and take my mind off the pain of the road.. But then it became dark and the nightmare really began.

My body was struggling as I became really tired but I had to brace myself with my legs to use as shock absorbers for all the bumps otherwise my back was really not feeling good! There were 3 of us I the back and we visited the roof a few times.. Lucky for me I was I the middle seat but the other 2 guys on the sides went up and hit there heads so hard on the bag carriers. It was horrible. My butt was so sore from coming down so hard. I remember when we used to try and bounce up in the bus at school when we would drive over a speed hump!! That was fun but when you don’t want it it’s torture.. As we continued the rains began and we got bogged for awhile as one of the guys got out to try and get us out. It was the best time because we got a little sleep.. On we went and the pain and hours just kept slipping by. We arrived in Rurrenabaque at around 8:20am and left at 12pm the day before. There were a couple of Brits on the bus so we hooked up and went to hostel Chulini, Relaxed and had a little nap then went to get some food for lunch. Rurrenabaque or Rurre as the locals call it is a beautiful town next to rivers and small mountains with the most beautiful rainforest!!

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Beautiful Rurrenabaqu

I thought why did I spend so much money in Trinidad when I could have come here?! Ah well you can only learn I guess. We went to one tour agency to see prices. There is a jungle tour or pampas tour for 300 bolivianos per day with food. We thought we would look around and we found Flecha Tours who offered tours for 200 bolivianos per day all included. They seemed a little more professional and gave us some good information. There was a 3 day pampas tour available for the next day! We asked for a discount and they guy said no problems I’ll give you 50 bolivianos off because there are 3 of you.. We said deal lets do it. So cost was 550 plus 150 entry fee to the national park.

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Felcha Tours! Ready to head off on our Pampas tour

The next morning we set off at 8:30 with just the clothes we needed and mosquito repellent etc. We left our other things with the tour company. There were meant to be 9 of is in total on the tour. We went to the airport to meet some other guys who were flying in but they didn’t show so we set off on a 3 hour drive to Santa Rosa. On the way one of the guys really wasn’t feeling well and decided he could not come on the tour so that left 4 of us. We stopped for lunch on the way at a restaurant. The food was nice. Then we made our way to the river where we packed everything onto the canoe and made our way for around 2 hours to our lodge.

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Awesome canoes for our tour

As soon as we set off we were greeted by the pink dolphins!! They are amazing. The day was perfect and full of do many birds and monkeys. We arrived to our lodge. There are many in the area for each tour company. They places are simple with rooms and beds with mosquito nets. Toilets, showers and a community space for eating. Our cook is amazing and we had a delicious meal with many dishes.

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Flecha Tours lodge

Our guide Jaci introduced us to the local alligator Pedro who lives in a small lagoon behind the lodge. He was pretty happy and came to greet us with his teethy grin!

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Check out this beauty!

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Hola Pedro!!

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During the night we went to look for alligator. We found a few with there eyes glowing back at you as you shine the torch light at them. Pretty cool colour. Then we started to see fish jump out of the river and our guide said it was piraña. The night was really hot and I didn’t sleep the greatest. Woke at 5:45am to head out and see the sunset. We went to a big open space on the river with the most amazing view! The sunrise was spectacular. I didn’t quite get the wide shots I wanted because I had my long camera lens on because we were going bird hunting after..

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Mind Blow!!!

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Perfect light bringing a new day

Not long before we were about to head of to go bird watching a storm blew in a brought heavy rains!! We made our way back for a huge breakfast then head out to look for anaconda and cobra. We went to a huge marsh that was hot and infested with Mosquitos. The guides ashure us there is no malaria or dengue here. Unfortunately with the clouds and rain it wasn’t hot enough to see snakes. We still tried and only found a snake skin, crab, snails and other insects.

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Snake skin

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Searching for Anacondas!!! only thing i found was millions of mosquitos!!

Out guide said it was one year ago when he last saw an anaconda.. Ah well… not to worry we made our way back to the lodge for a wonderful lunch.. Again the food was amazing and we had many dishes along with so many interesting garnishes that or cook cut into shapes of flowers. It was nearly too beautiful to eat.

There was a tree with a hole in it and Jaci said to put the camera in and take a photo with flash!! wow it was full of bats sleeping for the day.. a very cool suprise.

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Peek a Boo!! I see you!

 Now for the afternoon of fun!! We went fishing! Yes you guessed it, for piraña.. We found a nice little pool of water were we parked the canoe and got some meat on our hooks. As soon as you dropped it in you could see many little ones going for it. Then the guys started catching fish after fish.. Unfortunately i didn’t even get one on the line.. Ah well it was still fun and we ended up with 9 in total.

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Piraña baby

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Stick your finger in! I dare you ha ha

Back to the lodge dinner was ready and we just had to wait for the fish to be deep fried.. The piraña is such a nice fish to eat although there isn’t too much meat and many bones it was so fresh and amazing!

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Freshly fried! amazing flavour

Now it’s rest time and the rains are here again it’s actually a little chilly but should make for a good nights sleep. Tomorrow we head out to swim with the pink dolphins! Really looking forward to it! Will be a childhood dream come true! We woke nice and late the last day of the tour for a wonderful breakfast of fruits and pancakes then we set off down the river to find a nice places to swim with the dolphins. As we made our way through the many estuaries the water began to change from a brown to a dark coffee colour. I’m not to sure why this is but it was really nice to see. We came to a large pool where we saw a around four of the pink river dolphins swimming!!

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Could live in this boat forever

I made the most of it and stripped of and jumped into the water… Swimming around waiting for something to touch me.. It was a little daunting but really exciting. Sometimes the dolphins bite to feel you.. Unfortunately I didn’t have any touch me but it was still an awesome experience.

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Whoop. Dolphins

Back into the boat we went to look for the slow one as Jaci calls them, or sloth to us. We were lucky and found 3. This guy had a beautiful black and brown coat. Jaci would whistle to him and he would slowly turn his head towards us then slowly turn away. Jaci repeated a few times and the sloth would look everytime probably thinking what the heck is that? it was very funny.

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Hey there mister slow one

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This place is amazing

We then made our way back to the lodge to pick up our things and make our way back to where we started to take a taxi back to Rurre.Just before we left a few of the monkeys came to say hello.. This cheeky little guy snuck past into the kitchen and stole a packet of pasta! he ran out as fast as possible and went up the nearest tree. He knew what he was doing and was trying to eat the pasta as quickly as possible. He ripped the packet open so hard that all of the pasta fell out and rained down on the tin roof.

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Cheeky little guy

We had to wait a while for a taxi because the dirt roads were really bad from all the rain. On our way back 2 of us needed to get out of the van and push through the thick mud otherwise we would never have got out! Filthy but on our way again. Arriving back in Rurre I checked back into hostel Curichal. And relaxed for a day….

If you want to see many animals and have a relaxing experience the pampas sure is a beuatiful place and well worth the visit

I wanted to go on a long jungle tour but this requires 2 people an no one else had signed up. I decided I didn’t want to do a 3 day tour so just relaxed at the hostel when Shahar the Iraqi from my pampas tour ran into my hostel asking if I wanted to do a 8 day jungle survivor tour with him because he needed another person!!! I jumped out of my hammock and said lets do it!! We made our way to escorpion travel to speak with the tour operators. Asking whys involved an the cost! The suvivor tour usually is 3 days to 5 but we wanted 8 days!! You get a pair a rubber boots, a machete, a mosquito net some food (little rice, potatoes, 1kg salt, sugar, a little beef jerky) hand fishing line. Some plastic for emergency and that’s it…

Ok so we said let’s do it!! 8 days!! The cost was 300 bolivianos per day, much more than a regular jungle tour due to amount of work for guide etc and it’s harder because of the need to find food etc. We managed to get them down to pay 2200 bolivianos for the 8 days. We just needed to pay an extra 125 bolivianos for entrance into park Madidi a reserve.. We paid and made our way to hostels to prepare for the next day. I packed my first aid kit and rain jacket. I took along a knife and alcohol gel too wash my hands to avoid getting sick. I wore a long pair of pant and a shirt with a hat. Took a torch and spare batteries and that was it..

Day 1
We left Rurrenabaque at 9am for the boat that would take us up the river into the park. We stopped off at the park office to pay entry and then off we went fresh ready to roll. We made our way up river Beni which is pretty big and very beautiful with jungle on either side, I was really feeling very excited!! We made one more stop to check in at another park office then made out way up the river for around 3 hours.

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Setting out

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Fresh

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The day was warm and sunny and quite windy so it took a little more time then expected. The lessons started right away as Leon told us about a coca sand which.. It’s coca leaves with bicarbonate soda and a special wood. You need to use bicarbonate to release the particular enzymes in the coca to make it work but long term use has deco stating effects on the teeth and stomach. There is a particular wood from the forest which you mix with the coca and it helps the stomach- even kills selmonala so it’s pretty important while in the jungle to avoid getting sick. You chew some of the wood until it is nice and munched up then get a good handle full of coca leaves, place the wood on the leaves then put a good amount of bicarbonate an then more leaves.. Squeeze it all together and stuff it into your check..

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Coca sandwhich

It’s much nicer with the wood and sweet taste. Really helps on those days when we don’t eat much and need to walk and work! We then passed the famous river tuichi where an Israeli was lost on an expedition. There’s a book I need to check out called return to Tuichi. Not to much further and we turned onto river Ondo.. Once we arrived at the central camp we unloaded the boat, sharpened up the machetes and made our way into the jungle with our guide Leon. With no path and little sun it was amazing to see Leon orientating our direction by looking at the way the trees grow.Not for into the way we stared to find fruits, a small jungle mango, tiny coconuts which housed larvae that were feeding on the coconut, a quick taste and wow!! They are full of so much flavour.

fresh ready to rock

fresh ready to rock

We walked most of the afternoon while Leon explained different medicinal plants that we found. We came across a large spider similar to the orb spider in Australia with a very strong web. He used a cigarette to breathe smoke on the spider then picked it up and handed it too me!! Then of course he said it was one of the most venomous spider in the jungle but it was relaxed with the smoke.. Was a nice experience.

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Yep he is piosonous

We made a sign with our direction of travel the traditional way on a particular fungus. Using a sharp stick we enscribed our names in the solid flesh.

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We added arrows to the sign to show others which way we were going

We came across and old camp an set up beside it with fresh palm leaves on the ground and we set up out mosquito nets. We found a patch of small coconuts and broke them open with the machete searching for larvae. It was very difficult opening the coconuts without cutting my fingers off but after a while practicing I found my own way!! Put it in the dirt and swing the machete!! Not the best approach but it worked and we found a few larvae so we set off to a small dirty river and started to fish in the night. We stated with really small fish that but fast and you ha I be as quick as possible to catch them.. Well I had no luck.. Leon of course caught a few then we used for bait and Leon caught some larger fish. We went back to camp and made a grill with sticks and cooked up the fish, potato, plantanos (cooking banana we got from the main camp). It was so good to eat since we ha not eaten since breakfast and it was getting late. We made our way to bed and managed to sleep ok only to wake up to rain!! Quickly got up and set the plastic above the nets and waited for it to finish.

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Thanks Leon!

Day 2

We still had a little fish which we cooked for breakfast then made our way into the jungle to search for more bait and we learnt more about different trees, there are so many trees which can be used for teas or ointments to kill all bacterias and heal many health problems. We stayed in the same camp so we could learn more about the area searching for a certain large bamboo we could use to cook in.. Night time came and back to fishing…. Again only out guide caught fish so thanks to him we got to eat. I did catch a turtle, we took a few photos and sent him back. This night we ate fish cooked inside the bamboo and rice cooked in the bamboo. It was amazing!! Another night of pretty good sleep..

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Bamboo is amazing. Fresh rice.

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Platano (cooking banana) on the fire is amazing

Day 3

We woke quite late to pack camp and eat some more fish for breakfast and make out way into the jungle to make our way towards the lagoons which were larger and had piraña. We walked through quite a lot of mud on our way and found a nice place to set camp. We needed to clear a few small trees and find leaves for our mattress..

Camp

Camp

After we set up we set out to find some worms in the river bank. We found a couple and started fishing.. Didn’t take too long for the piraña to start.. Again you need to be pretty quite with them!! Finally I got one on the line!’ Then another and another. Felt good to catch my own food that I could share with the guys.

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Wooden grill

There were a few caiman in the Laguna and we were fishing from a muddy bank which we layed palm leaves down that gave us a nice surface to stand on. We fished into the night and got ourselves a good catch for dinner and breakfast. Made our way back to camp to cook a feast of piraña which taste amazing. They are a little difficult to eat due to so many tiny bones. We also tried the coco larvae cooked on a shish kebab!! Wow it was the best thing ever. I could eat these everyday. After another late night and a good meal we made our way to bed.

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Raw coconut larvae! these things are amazing!

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Cooked coconut larvae!!! wow even better than raw!! crunchy

Day 4

For some reason I cannot really remember day 4? We did have a suprise for breakfast. We had fresh wild chicken eggs the Leon found the night before.

Wow fresh wild chicken eggs! what a feast

Wow fresh wild chicken eggs! what a feast

We spent the day searching for foods and fishing. We found an asai palm and collected the fruits to make asai juice (we prepared back in town and it was the best ever). We had another good day catching piraña and tiny cat fish kinda things. I cannot remember. We cooked them inside the bamboo and also in leaves and they were amazing!

The Laguna

The Laguna

We found a bunch of huge ants that when the sting it affects your lymph nodes and causes extreme pain.. the antidote is inside the abdomen of the ant. You take the stinger out then squeeze the juice onto the bite site.

These things are huge!!!

These things are huge!!!

The jungle is full of so many palm trees that have many fruits and different healing properties. They are also used for making weapons like bow and arrows. We could smell a really sweet scent in the air and Leon said there is a beautiful orange flower on a palm tree close. With a quick search we found the flower around 50m away and picked it so we could make a tea. You can also make purfume from the flower. We couldnt find the right bamboo to boil a tea so unfortunetly didnt get to try.

Such a beautiful scent. compliments well in my traditional head dress

Such a beautiful scent. compliments well in my traditional head dress

Day 5

We got up early to eat and pack up camp and set out through the jungle to find a new camp. We could hear a group of chanco (wild pig) crunching their jaws and grunting. We snuck up until we could smell the strongest foulest smell then finally we could see them around 50m away. We just sat an watched as they passed as they are very territorial and can he very vicious.

Log crossing

Log crossing

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We found camp in a nice place in the Jungle with access to the large river to finally have a wash. We set up camp with fresh leaves for bedding, got the mosquito nets up got a fire ready.. We went for a walk down the beach to find a good place for fishing.

Potential meal!! lucky we caught enough fish we didnt need to eat him

Potential meal!! lucky we caught enough fish we didnt need to eat him

There were many fresh caiman tracks as well as tapir and jaguar tracks with a small baby!! This means we need to watch out because the Jaguar can be very aggressive when it has a baby. When the night we made our way out to the river to search for frogs with the torches, we had to be careful and recognize the frogs because there were a few very poisonous frogs and toads which are dangerous to touch. We met another group who said they heard the Jaguar close by.

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Fresh Jaguar prints

We found many frogs and got to fishing with our 25kg lines!! Pretty quickly Sharhar got a bit and we saw it was big!! Unfortunately it got away but we were super excited!! Big river fishing is all about patience… Get the line in and wait, when the fish is on the line you know it!! Well it took a few hours and there were so many Mosquitos here that didn’t seem to go away! Usually they are fierce for an hour or two then disappear. Relaxing and talking I finally ha a bite and wow it was more than I expected!! It took quite a bit to pull in with the current of the water adding to the pull… I was so excited because we were starving an it was very late… Got the fish in and saw it was a catfish around 3 kilos…

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Feel like a king!!

Wooo we are going to eat we all thought.. Got my line in the water and not long later Shahar caught one a little smaller.. It was around 3am or so and boom I had another which was bigger! I got him in and he was around 4kg. We got them cleaned and said let’s call it a night. Made out way to camp and cooked up the small fish inside leaves. The meat was really fresh and so good to eat because it has no small bones, they have a lot of fat and it tastes amazing. Full and really happy we made our way to bed around 5am!

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Presenting our feast!

Day 6

We got up early around 9am too prepare breakfast and the rest of the fish in leaves to take with us to the next camp. I collected heaps of leaves to get all the fish into them. We had around 10 Huge pockets filled of fish. We packed up camp and set off to find a good location to stop and start to build a raft to leave the Jungle. We spent most of the day walking and cutting through the forest. We came to a huge bamboo forest next to the river. We found a nice place with a large beach and a nice place to harvest balsa wood and build the raft in the water. We set up camp using 6 poles of bamboo to tie the mosquito nets using the sand as the matress.

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Preparing the catfish in leaves to take to the next camp

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We set out to the forest to see what balsa tress were fallen and easy to collect. We found wood for the fire and set up too cook nice and early. We had 6 pockets of fish and one large bamboo we took from the last camp. We cooked up the fish and cooked rice.. Unfortunately some of the fish was off.. We didn’t cook it long enough in the morning and it went bad while walking in the heat. We did manage to eat a little that was good and saved one pocket for breakfast and hoped it would be ok. Later in the night I wasn’t feeling great. Stomach was a little bad. I think it’s from eating mainly fish and not much else. We were treating water with tablets because it would be difficult to boil enough water for 3 people using bamboo. We learnt about many vines that carry water but in the reserve they are Protected and you cannot cut them. I made my way to bed nice and early hoping to get some energy back ready to build the raft in the morning.

Day 7

Wow what a night!! I woke up freezing and put on my rain jacket I try and warm up a little.. I closed the cuffs to trap in my hands then went back to sleep.. Only to waken again and again but it didn’t take too long to get to sleep again. Morning came before we knew it and we got up to try the last lot of fish.. Unfortunately it wasn’t very good so we didn’t eat… Not the best day for no food, we had a lot of work to do! Well not too worry we sucked it up! Got some sugar drink into us and a cheerful of coca and we made our way into the bamboo forest to collect the large fallen logs of the balsa tree.

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River beach camp

We worked cutting logs with the machete and then carried the logs down to the beach ready to build. We used bark as cordage to tie the raft. We built the raft in the water  so it was easier to tie while floating, this was great because the morning on the beach was so hot and the fresh water was a welcome relief. We were in and out if the water and the sand flies made a meal of my ankles, there was nothing I could do! The repellent would wash strait off and there was no mud nearby to use.. I just had to deal with it. I made the right decision to wear pants at least so they only go to eat my ankles. Shahar had shorts and they made the most of his legs!!

Sand Flies, little buggers. All of these bites within seconds

Sand Flies, little buggers. All of these bites within seconds

We worked around 4 hours then packed up camp! Got some photos of us on the raft then packed all the camera and bags into the plastic for safety. Off we go!!! Well so we thought, we all jumped on the raft and under the water it went.. We all fell off soaked and pulled her into dock to head into the forest to collect more wood. By this point we were pretty tired and had to cut some more. We collected another 3 logs and worked nearly another 2 hours!! Time seems to fly by in the jungle when your busy all the time.. I think it was around 2:30pm when we finally set off!! The raft was perfect and held us all really well. River Ondo flows family slow but we still had to keep our eyes peeled because there are many trees in the water..

I took the front of the raft with a long piece of bamboo and Leon took the back to guide us.. He told me when to push right or left.. It was a lot of fun and really relaxing on the river. It was quite hot to started off with but the sun disappeared quickly behind the trees and I was still wet and a little cold.. After 2 hours we found a really nice beach with a deep spot and we saw some salmon breach so we docked and set up camp quickly to get some lines in the water with some rotten meat Leon had with him.. We wanted to catch a salmon but the odds were low because the water was very dirty and they like to feed when it’s clean.

Well we had no luck and the sun went down… I was getting really cold so we made a fire so I could dry out a little. We set out with the torches to search for frogs and bop them on the head with the machete. I hate hurting any animals but when you are starving it’s not so hard.. We all got frogs on the line and casted into the deep pool… After a horrible night sleep and no food I was so tired sitting on the beach falling asleep with all of a sudden bam!!! Leon had a bit and it was huge! With his strength he nearly went in the water and the line cut his finger pretty badly.. Unfortunately it unhooked and got away. Leon said we need to stand up an be ready because there are fish up to 40kg in this river.. This woke me up and I stood up ready because it was quite a struggle on the hands with just a 4kg fish the night before.. In the bigger rivers there are fish up too 120kg!! Insane.

Waiting and talking time was going by!! At around 11pm Sharhar got a bite and pulled it in! Nice another cat fish around 3 kilos. So good we ha dinner, now we just needed to catch breakfast!! Leon said let’s cook and eat then we will catch breakfast!! Well a minute later.. Bam I had a bite. Pulled it in and it was nearly 4kg catfish.. So good. We could cook and eat then go to bed..We set up two lines for the night to try catch lunch for the next day. Jut before we started to eat we heard a fish on the line and Leon went to look, he thought it was another catfish so left it in the water… We stayed up pretty late talking and eating the fish. We cooked them on a bamboo parilla (grill). We then went to bed satisfied and full. It was another cool night waking shivering but not as bad as the night before.

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Late night bbq grill!! Amazing

Day 8

I woke super early to find a crab with me in my mosquito net. I peeked outside to see a beautiful sunrise starting so I thought I would make the most of it and get up to catch some photos. It was the most beautiful morning. I got the fire going to heat up the big boy for breakfast. Leon for up and pulled in the line to find a beautiful Salmon with the brighter yellow fins! We were exited but gutted because we could have feasted on him the night before.. Unfortunately we didn’t get to eat him because we ran out of time and gave him away..

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What an amazing start to the day

Filled up on fish we packed up camp and set off around 11am to make our way to base camp which should have taken around 2 hours then we were going to cook the salmon and make some tribal photos in mud and traditional leaf clothing.. Well the river was a little slow and it took us around 3 hours.

When we came near to the camp we came across some rough rapids and we had trouble turning the raft and slammed into a log! We all flew forward and fell over. You could feel the power and see it much harder the cordage holding the raft together could have ripped! It was a mighty strong raft too. We got ourselves moving and found camp. There was a lot of people who arrived to set of on tours.

We had a nice meal of chicken, rice and salad with fresh juice! It was amazing!! The boat back to Rurrenabaque was going soon so we had to be fast and we ran down to the river an stripped off and covered ourselves in mud to get a few photos. Then we washed off and found some leaves for traditional clothing for a few more shots! Was a lot of fun.

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Warriors

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Please dont kill me!!

Back onto the boat we made our way back to Rurre tired and sleeping. I made my way back to the hostel to rest were I have taking a few days to get my energy back.

It was an amazing experience and I learnt a lot. It’s really hard to think back on everything because we were always doing something and talking about different things. Plus being tired and hungry it’s like a dream. I really should have written things down. If your ever in Rurrenabaque visit escorpion travel and ask for Leon as your guide. He is young but has spent his whole life in the jungle along with his whole family. He is a walking encyclopedia and know many medicines.

We found many different trees to treat parasites, cancer, sexual disfunction.. And I really can’t remember what else? There are many fruits we found- jungle mango, jungle avocado, few types of mini coconuts which also housed larvae which were amazing to eat raw and even better cooked, they also came in handy for fishing!! We found a beautiful orange palm flower which you can smell from 50meters away and make into a tea or perfume. We found a garlic tree which was great mosquito repellent and great for cooking!!

My favorite tree was the leche leche tree.. Milk tree that have a thick white cream that tasted better then milk. It’s also drank by woman who are not producing milk for there baby and it helps. The list goes on and on… There are life givers and life takers. You need to be careful because there is one tree that’s sap is so deadly if you touch it you will most likely die. Here we were just hacking through the jungle not knowing what’s what!! Really so much to learn.

I want to return and spend time in the jungle with his grandparents learning a lot about the medicines. Would be great if I could bring some things home but customs is very strict. This was definitely a life dream I lived and I will be back to learn more as soon as I can.

I just cant seem to leave this place. I find it very relaxing and the people are really kind.. I am also putting off the 20 hour bus ride to La Paz. Just yesterday I was asked to go fishing with a guy I met in the street. Unfortunately it rained very hard so we didnt go. Instead I found a small restaurant for a late lunch and sat down for a 10 boliviano meal.

There were a few guys there eating together and they brought me a drink which I thought was just a really sweet juice. Then they gave me another. They were really excited that I liked it and asked me to join them at their table. After seeing the bottle I could see it was alcoholic. I spent the afternoon with the guys talking and enjoying the day. The cocktail mixes were really nice in Cherry, Grape and Coconut.

We stayed until the restaurant was making dinner then I was asked to go and spend some time at one of the guys homes. We made our way to the edge of town right next to the mountain. I was a little suprised to see his home was just a brick room where he lived with a friend. They only had their beds and a few clothes. The toilet and shower were outside. This place continually opens my eyes and really makes me think to appreciate what I have. After all I own more then these two guys in just my bag yet they are really happy and love to enjoy the company of each other listening to music and doing what any 23 year old would do.

I often think back to home in Australia where i lived in a block of units with around 45 units. In my time of more than a year I only knew 3 of the people there. Its crazy how we shut ourselves into our own lives. These guys say hi and know many people in their town. Its great, I love their hospitality.

I really can´t get enough. So far this is my favorite place in Bolivia!

Well thats all for this update.. sorry it was a difficult read. I wrote over many weeks and went back to fill in things i missed.. I also accidentally deleted around 2 hours of writting and had to start again….

Until next time

“A lazy, bored brain latches on to negativity and problems and exaggerates them until they become out of perspective and all-consuming.”– Ed Stafford

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