Monday, January 19, 2009

A riverboat trip in Bolivia's pampas

We hopped on a plane from the heights of La Paz to the lowlands around Rurrenabaque in the Amazon, from where we were to take a riverboat tour into the pampas (plains).
Once on the river, one of the first things we saw was this sunbathing caiman (a type of crocadile). It was the first of many we saw over our two day adventure. Later on while in the same river, our guide told us it was safe to swim and so we did. Though we don't have a photo of them, the pink river dolphin supposedly kept the crocs away from the section where we decided to take a dip.
The paradise bird is one of the 40 or 50 different species that we saw along the river.
We can assure you that the turtle population is alive and well. We saw hundreds of these reptiles sunbathing along the banks.
Our guide gave Virginia a banana to feed these little squirrle monkies.
Later in the day, we took sometime to have a cold beer and relax at this river bar. In the background you can see skulls of different animals found on the pampas. Later that evening at the bar, a few of the guides from the different companies got together and ripped up some pampas tunes with a guitar hanging on the wall. A couple of the guides used the skulls and striking instruments to keep the beat.
A possum stopped by for a visit to the dining room of our camp.
Once night time hit, these frogs were all over the camp taking advantage of all the creepy crawlies.
This pig of a rodant weighs about 150 pounds or more and is called a capibara.
Our guide took us pirhanna fishing in the same river we were swimming in 10 minutes earlier. Apparrently the two metres of water where we took a dip was too deep for their liking, but the two feet where our guide caught this vicious meat eater was just right for them.
Yeah, we ate 'em for lunch.
In schools of a thousand or more, these teeth can devour an entire cow in about five minutes. It took about a minute to eat just one of them; it's hard to pick around their little bones.
Our 15-horse-power motor cut out on us on our way back to town, and Stephe had to paddle to keep us on course as we went down river. Under normal circumstances, we were about 3 hours up river from town, far away from pretty much everything, even the grass-roofed river saloon we stopped in at the day before. Eventually our guide was able to get the spark plugs working, and we were putting down river once again.

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