Rurrenabaque: Jungle Sloth

Starting the next morning, my initial plan was to compliment my pampas outing with a three day romp through the jungle, but I just couldn’t be bothered.  There was a nice, cheap hostel and in the end came to the conclusion that making the most of this rural, jungle town suited my fancy just fine.  I left myself the option of a day trip, and set to hammocking and undoing my long string of days over budget.  South America isn’t so expensive for day to day things, but getting from point A to B and also the tourist activities come at a very western price.  Why wouldn’t I want to spend some time at a place like this?

I spent that first day doing a lot writing and relaxing.  I had my standard breakfast of bread and jam but was pleased to see that it also came with fresh squeezed juice and fruit.  On one of the mornings, Toucan Sam flew in a window to join me for some papaya.

I also really enjoyed walking around the little town and popping into some of the local restaurants.  For a mere 10 bolivianos, I was able to get whatever the cook made that day, which in this case was a hearty soup with entree of chicken and rice plus a banana. All was delightful, prompting me to return here another day. 

One of my highlights were the mango trees at the hostel.  I caught them at the perfect time of year, and every few minutes one would come crashing through the branches and landing with a thud on the ground.  All that I had to do was borrow a knife from the kitchen and fill my face.  I probably consumed 30 mangoes in the couple days I was there.

Eventually I gave up on the idea of going out into the jungle, and instead opted for a little walk through the most rural part of town, which was situated in the jungle.  The ramshackle houses and roaming chickens were nice, and was enough to satisfy my jungle needs.  I would be happy to go deeper into the Amazon another time, but I’ve been in a few jungles now and didn’t feel as if I was missing out on much.  Besides, getting myself in a good place mentally and physically before setting off on another burst of tourism was important as well.

On my last day, I walked over to the bus station to book my ticket back.  Not only was this six times cheaper than the flight I took there, but I value making use of the same transportation as the locals.  As a bonus, the route included some time on a ridiculous, dangerous road that I figured was a good an experience as it was a risk to life and limb.

The first section of the road was wrought with construction every couple hundred meters.  This required the bus to go off the road, and around on some dirt detour.  I have no idea why they decided to work on that entire expanse of road at once, rather than focus on just a few manageable sections.  I passed out eventually, and woke up to a very different set of surroundings.

The rain was pouring and pooling on the dirt road, and our bus was fighting to get around the other traffic.  There were no guardrails, and trying to cram a bus and some other massive truck through a lane and a half was slow going.  There were several instances where my seat was overlooking a massive drop down to the raging river below.  I actually booked this seat with the purpose of enjoying the view.

And to take this video of it as well…

It wasn’t much longer before I arrived back in La Paz, where I had only to wait a day for Parker to come bumbling in, and then just a few hours more for my dad.  I was really glad that I came earlier than planned to Bolivia and definitely felt that the extra week added a lot to my understanding and enjoyment of the country.  It would have been a complete waste if spent in Chile.  After relaxing heavily, I was ready to hit the ground running as soon as my travel companions arrived.


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