Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bolivian Amazon - Rurrembarque

Today was all about getting to the jungle town of Rerrembarque which is a 45 minute flight from La Paz. Nobody takes the 10 hour bus ride because it is way to dangerous. Buses going off the cliff dangerous monthly dangerous. Welcome to the Jungle!

The flight was creepy to say the least so I could not even in imagine the death bus. Our twin prop death trap held 22 people and looked like it had seen better days. I had seat 1A right up front which gave me a birds eye view of a very cramped cockpit. there was no door, so it was front row frightening the the entire way.

The last time I was actually scared on a flight was the return flight from Iceland with my sister Kelly about 2.5 years ago. Everything was fine until we crossed over Greenland where the turbulence was, well lets put it this way. Kelly looked over at me and said to you see how much the wings are moving up and down. They were. With the blood gone from her face, eyes wide as dinner plates and in a very feeble yet brave voice said "are you scared". Then she just looked out the window. Good thing because she would have certainly seen the fear in my eyes, that's for sure. Well Amazonias Turbo prop flight A64 gave the experience a run for the gold.
Take off from La Paz was more an up, down, left right experience. The boys in the cockpit were randomly hitting switches and pushing buttons. I just closed my eyes.
Well we are up and all is good. The views at 20,000 feet of the snow capped mountains are intensely close. Then we enter the clouds. Out my little window I see nothing. Then I made the mistake of looking out the cockpit and they could see nothing. Visibility was maybe 1 foot. One pilot was actually reading a magazine. I just closed my eyes!

Forty five minutes later the soothing sounds of Fela Kuti had me safely on the ground. The paved runway was new, about 2 years old. Before that it a
was landing on a grass runway.
Surrounded by Amazon jungle, isolated by high snow capped mountains and literally in the middle of nowhere this place was a drug smugglers wet dream. Many people must have died here during the dark times in Bolivian history.

I noticed a beat up old bus off to the side of the runway. Our chariot to town. The ride in was easy enough, about 10 minutes. Rurrembarque is a jungle town and the tourists only started arriving about 6 years ago. The place has suddenly come to life as one of the locals told me, but the town was growing and people do not know how to handle it. The only cars or trucks were the tour operators vehicles. Everyone else drove scooters and small 250 cc motorcycles. I found my hotel and confirmed my tour and went for a little stroll.

A stop at the river and there were guys unloading bananas everywhere! It was heaven for me. Piles of fresh picked bananas being transported to market and for export. This is what you don't see when you are shopping at the local grocers.

** A shout out to my aunt Joan. She knew my obsession with bananas and years ago she gave me a huge bunch for Christmas. RIP Aunt Joan, you are missed.

I took some photos, had a few ice cold Pacena at Cafe Luna over looking the main street and headed for the hotel. Suddenly I hit the clothing lottery. Cotton Socks for sale at .75 a pair. I have been suffering since Peru with polyester socks that are the only thing available anywhere. Anyone who knows can figure out that polyester is not a foots best friend, nor his shoes. I did find cotton socks in El Chalten Chile for $25 a pair to which I responded out loud, louder than I possibly should have "are you shitting me". Well I felt these new comforts, hugged them for longer than I should have and left with enough socks to last me until I am 90.

Happy Feet Are Happy Adventures.

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