So I'm going to make a start on catching up with the blog posts and what I've been up to over the last month, no easy feat as its been pretty action packed! Anyway, first and foremost - our trip into Bolivian Amazonia.
We started our tour in Rurrenabaque, its quite a nice little town on the outskirts of the jungle. We arrived early and found this little bakery owned by a french guy. It was just opening and we had a couple of pan au chocolates straight from the oven. I reckon you'd be hard pushed to find a better place to get breakfast in South America. They were amazing.
As far as the details on prices and everything go for those of you interested I'm afraid I can't actually remember what we paid for the 3 night and 4 day excursion. What I do know, is that being Bolivia, it is one of the cheapest places you can organize a jungle trip from, and there is the added advantage that it is a low risk area for malaria, so you don't need to take any crazy pills.
It takes about 2 hours to get to the boat from the town, and it is one of the bumpiest roads I have travelled on. That didn't stop me from falling asleep anyway, much to the amazement of the other passengers.
Floating down the river we saw loads of wildlife, especially alligators and giant rat type things, lots of birds and once a monkey far off in a tree. We had to get out and push the boat a few times because we did the trip before the start of the wet season. You soon realize that the alligators are a lot more scared of you than you realize. In fact, by the end of the trip we were swimming in the river with dolphins while the alligators watched from the banks.
We stayed in this awesome kind of tree house come jungle lodge which was brilliant to watch the sunset from and listen to the sound of the jungle and the insects around you of a night. They had a nice room full of hammocks which was great to relax in too.
On the second day we went looking for anacondas and managed to find a few buried in holes in a field which was pretty cool. The best part of the trip for me however was the piranha fishing on the last day. Unfortunately it had rained a lot the day before, which meant that the water was more silty than usual and this stops the fish from sensing where the meat is as well, but their appetite was still pretty voracious considering how many times they got the bait off my hook. Eventually I managed to get one, and I later fed him to an alligator. Ken, another guy from our group managed to catch an eel and fred caught a kind of catfish thing. Don't think any of the catches would have sustained us that well though. Good job we had a chef back at the ranch, who, like most chefs on these tours, excelled in making pretty horrible tasting soups with bits of potatoes floating in. Lovely!
On the journey back from fishing though it was really dark, and as we maneuvered through meanders in the river our headlamps caused red reflections in the menacing eyes of the congregations of alligators waiting quietly in the water. The photos don't do it justice but that image of loads of glowing eyes is one of the most memorable things about the trip.