After a long bus ride, I´ve finally made it deep into the jungle. Finally, it feels like summer in South America. The hot humid weather makes it difficult to wear jeans.
The bus company finally pulled through, but only after more lack of information. They told me the bus was leaving from a small town about 20 minutes from Coroico at 2:30pm, so I made sure to get there at 1:30 just to make sure. Well, after waiting and then asking around, I found out the bus left La Paz at 2:30, which is 3 hours away. So I sat around and waited, but I did get on the bus.
I had heard the road was gut wrenching, but I didn´t completely understand what that meant. To understand the nature of the road, think of the worst dirt road you have been on in the US, and then make it a little worse. And add in twists and turns with huge drops off the side. And drive it for 20 hours. Then you have this road. The distance isn´t even that far, but it just takes forever by the time you make your way around the turns and wait for other cars to pass since it´s only big enough for 1 car most of the time.
Sometimes Bolivians will do things that you just have to say ¨Wow¨and not much else. I was sitting on the bus next to a lady and her 3 kids between the ages of 6 months and 5 years. Since kids under the age of 5 don´t need to buy a seat, it was just the lady in the seat and the kids either on her lap or on the floor. Unfortunately there are no bathrooms in buses in Bolivia no matter how far you go. Well, the 3 year old girl had to go…so the lady pulled out a small plastic bag, the girl squated, and in goes the pee. This happens about 20 inches from me. To make it even better, the lady throws the bag of pee out of the window. In order to do that, she had to throw it over me.
This is another problem, the littering. I have to cringe every time I see someone throwing something out the window since we are taught differently in the US (for good reason). There is just no hesitation here for disposing of something out the window of a car no matter where you are at.
At one point, we stopped for a 30 minute break to get some food. When I came back, there was a naked baby on my seat, on top of my sweatshirt. I guess the lady decided to change the baby in the bus and had no problem with using my sweatshirt as a nice, clean blanket.
If you think getting your seat kicked by a child in the plane is bad, I dare you to take a 20 hour bus ride in Bolivia. Traveling here has definitely given me more patience, as I honestly didn´t even mind the 20 hour ride. Plus, I get to do it again in 3 or 4 days.
So I arrived to Rurrenabaque at noon or so, found a hostel, then some food, then the tour I wanted to take on the Pampas. The city set a minimum of 900 Bolivianos for a 3 day tour ($125), and this company was offering the minimum and is a certified Green company here. I went to another one, and the guy was a used car salesman. I walked in, he asked me who I had seen, and told me they have everything the same but he will give me a lower price. He even got down to 700 without me even trying to bargain. However, he wouldn´t say it outloud since other people were in the room, and that it was just between us. It was honestly tempting to get this much of a discount, but I am proud to say that I went with the 900 Bolivianos Green tour. I have heard there are many problems with how people are treating the river, so it was worth my extra $30 to hopefully not make a negative impact.
So tomorrow morning, I will leave with a tour company for 2 nights, 3 days in which we will fish for piranhas, search for anacondas and alligators, and swim with dolphins. I hope all of these are true. If so, I should have some good pictures!
Another thing I wanted to mention before but forgot, I love the American clothing in Bolivia. There is even more of it in Bolivia than Peru, which I assume is donated. When I was in La Paz, I saw none other than a green sweatshirt, spelling in white ¨St. Ambrose¨. I was shocked. So shocked that I sneakily got a picture of the lady wearing it. I love seeing this. The day that Iowa played Penn State this year in football, I saw a lady in Cusco wearing a Penn State sweatshirt. I am absolutely sure she just bought it for the look, but even so, I almost boo`d her all the way to Machu Picchu.
So that is all for now. I will post again when I get back from the trip which is Tuesday evening. Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend!