of the Wild Pigs
Tue Nov 12, 2002 5:29 pm
Well, we made it safe and sound to Rurrenabaque,
despite the airplane graveyard we passed on the way into the airport. The
ride in was actually quite nice. We had a converted cargo plane, and the
military steward served us crackers and drinks and gave us earplugs, which
we didnt end up using.
When we arrived, we were met from a representative of Fluvial Tours, the
group we used and will recommend to others for both the pampas and jungle
tours. We got a free ride into the city, settled into our hotel, and then
met with the seven others from our group at the tour office to talk about
what we would be doing for the pampas tour.
Then we killed time by having a great breakfast at Camilia´s, swimming
in the pool till the rain moved in, and then by having a few drinks at the
Day 1 of the Pampas
Early the next morning, we packed up and headed out by jeep to the pampas.
It was a longish trip in cramped quarters, but we did get to see some caiman
and some gigantic birds on the side of the road on the way there. The most
exciting part of the ride, though, was driving through the muddy section
and sliding all over the road. Things got real interesting when we tried
to pass a bus. We made it, but just barely missed sliding into the side
of the bus. It was all in good fun, though, and we cheered when we made
it past the pokey bus.
We had lunch at a small restaurant, then hopped on a boat to go to our camp.
Boats are WAY nicer than being cramped in a jeep. We saw all sorts of animals
along the way, including: Capybara -A large semiaquatic rodent (Hydrochoerus
hydrochaeris) of tropical South America, having short limbs and a vestigial
tail and often attaining lengths of more than 1.2 meters (4 feet) Think
rodent of unusual size. Birds of paradise Herons Cappuchino monkies Small
yellow monkies Caiman Anaconda Pink river dolphins Whole bunches of other
We finally arived at camp -- a bunch of cabins with beds and mosquito nets,
an outhouse, a dining area, and a fire for the cook. We also had our own
resident caiman who liked to eat pasta, howler monkies making their strange
cappuchino machine-like noises over our heads bright and early in the morning,
and let´s not forget the birds. They liked to make tons of noise in
the morning as well. There were also GIGANTIC wasps building a nest in the
bathroom, but they left us alone, so they were ok.
That night, we took the boat out again on the river, and searched for caiman
eyes with our flashlights. Anytime a beam of light hit a caiman´s
eye, it shone red in the darkness -- creepy! There were TONS of the critters
lurking in the water -- good thing none of us fell out. The stars that night
were the second biggest attraction to me. It was a new moon and the stars
were SO bright. I spent more time staring upward than at the water, I think.
Managed to see a few shooting stars as well. Absolutely fantastic.
At one point, the guide turned off the motor, and we floated gently downstream,
listening to the animal sounds around us. All of a sudden, there was a splashing
noise and things started hopping around in our boat! Some silly fish had
decided to leap out of the water into the lap of the couple in front of
me, and into the back of the boat. Now, why the fish would think this was
a good idea, I´m not sure. Maybe they got a kick out of our surprised
When we returned, we played cards for a bit, then headed to our trusty mosquito
nets for a night´s rest. I was safely within my net, when I heard
a yelp from outside. "Is it a bat?" someone asked? "No, there
is a spider INSIDE my mosquito net" I heard, followed by a flashlight
being dropped. "Keith! Get rid of it please!" I heard. After that
followed a fairly hilarous dialogue. "Ew! It crunched!" "Uh
oh, I can only find two of the legs . . . where did the body go?" and
"It´s still ALIVE!!" In the end, the poor spider bit it,
and everyone drifted off to sleep, if not a little uneasily.
Day 2 of the Pampas
After a beautiful breakfast (the food was great on all of this tour) we
went out anaconda hunting. We spent the morning tromping through grass and
swamp to find some snakes. Patty was the first to discover one -- a baby
in the grass that the guide had missed. We saw six anacondas in all, including
one that was having an eel for lunch. That one was fun to watch. We saw
two types of anacondas -- the anaconda constrictor, which was black, and
the anaconda cobra constrictor, which was yellowish and puffed out it´s
neck like a cobra´s when it was upset. The black ones can get humongous,
up to 9 meters in length, but we only saw some medium sized ones-- about
We then returned to camp, had lunch, and headed out for our afternoon activities:
swimming with the pink dolphins in the river, and pirhana fishing. The river
was quite refreshing, and none of us got eaten by pirhanas, which was a
plus. As for fishing, I managed to hook two pirhanas and a sardine, plus
a bunch of pirhanas that got away. Patty was not so lucky.
For dinner that night, we ate the pirhanas, which were good, though they
didn´t have much meat on them. (We had other food too)
That evening, we also watched the sun set over the pampas, which was quite
Day 3 of the Pampas
Didn´t have much to do the last day of the tour. In the morning we
took the boat upstream, but didn´t see any new animals. In the afternoon,
we headed back into town and got REALLY dusty in the back of the jeep. Patty
and I were completely covered in brown dirt by the time we got back to the
hotel. The showers there were cold, but we didn´t care, we were so
hot, sticky, and dirty. I also attempted to clean my clothes that evening
-- SOME of it dried. If any of you go to the tropics, don´t expect
your clothes to dry in the humidity.
(Continued in the jungle . . .)