Tuesday, September 20, 2011

out of the jungle i go

i've been a bad tourist. I've just spent 5 days in rurrenabaque, and not seen aligators, anacondas, monkeys or pink dolphins, ate coconut tasting insects and learnt what's toxic and not, or wielded a machete. and now i've left. well there's various reasons that I didn't go on a single pampa or jungle tour. I've - still not any useful hiking/walking because of my sprained foot, i seem to be running out of $US to change into Bolivianos (there's no ATM here) and well, i'm being lazy. Yes I may regret this, but i think i'm ok with it. oddly enough, I like animals and happy to hang out with them, but for me mountains and long vista landscapes are more my thing rather than getting close to the furries.

but there are a couple of memories of rurre to stay with me...
  • watching every morning and evening, an old couple walking hand in hand into the centre of town. you don't see much hand holding going on here, so it was very sweet to see.
  • listening ALL night (to about 5am) to some music down the road - a sort of military drumming crossed with folklore.
  • meeting a baby big cat - called tigre, resident of a local mechanic
  • having a chilled out chat with laura - a dutch girl who fell in love with a local Bolivian, and is getting married in 2 weeks. There was a lot of discussion about cultural differences and her experiences living in Rurre.
  • lazing about on the hammock and watching school kids wander their way home from school
  • hitting the sunday market on the way out of rurre. People here work 6 days a week, and on sunday's they really do relax, hang out with families, have big lunches and usually enjoy a beer or well 10.
yesterday we left rurre, and after 20kms philipe discovered that his shock absorber for his side car tyre, had snapped at the top and was clanging around on his bike frame. 30kms down the road we found an open motorbike workshop with soldering equipment. (this guy was working at 6pm on a Sunday!) He managed to forge a solution, and meanwhile I went search of somewhere to stay. it was a dustry road stop town of probably 40 families, and definitely no sort of hostal. but the couple in the local 'pension'/restaurant kindly invited us in (no less with a cold beer!) and we soon were yelling over the mexican music dvd's playing and telling our stories. we found out that they were the parents of the mechanic - he was just 20, but with a 3 month old baby with a 19 year old girl from a couple of towns up.  as the beers kept getting topped up, i sort of got the impression they (the parents) were not too keen on her, but now with a baby there was not much they could do.

A very welcoming family who let us camp in their restaurant - and welcomed us in with beer, loud mexican telemovie music and lots of good times
I've noticed that there are many unmarried parents and also single mothers here - often under 20 years old. you often meet young children being taken care of by grandparents, while the parents/mother live in a bigger city to work. birth control? well the relative cost of it here is expensive so I guess not used.

His wife Leondi and grandaughter Eva - doing some washing next to the  shower in the orange tree:)

With Antonio who kindly let us camp in his courtyard

tonight we have also been lucky enough to have been allowed to camp in the courtyard of a family's house - antonio, leondi and little eva. Antonio and leondi are the grandparents, little eva is 2 1/2 years old. Her mother left 2 years ago to work in La Paz, and so she lives here with them. It's perched up above the main road, but a simple concrete construction (we're out of the wetter areas where they tend to build in wood, and with thatched roofs) around a well tended courtyard. out back is a small orange plantation - and smack bang in the middle of one tree is the shower. it is a very tranquil place compared to the noisy busy family house last night (where there was a chorus of barking dogs and hens squaking), and again I'm very touched by the kindness of people here.

This little boy was sitting with his mother who was selling watermelons by the roadside - 1 bol/kilo - so for a 5kg melon, 50c (Photo by Philipe)

we're on our way towards La Paz, where I will say good bye to Philipe. He's heading up to Ecuador to see friends, and I'm going ot Cusco to see mum and dad. It's time to get out of Bolivia as my 3 month visa expires on the 24th, and I'll be sad to leave a country so filled with extreme landscapes, tasty produce and food, and some very authentic and kind people. But Peru is next, and i'm off to trek my heart out!

Just down from the roadside camp in between 2 blockades, these little boys were playing and really acting up for the camera. (Photo by Philipe)

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