La Paz - Rourre Nabaka
29.03.2011 - 05.04.2011 25 °C
I want to tell you the story of the scariest bus ride in the world. Bolivia doesn't have proper roads, with asphault, or even narrow, one way dirt roads. All that it has is mountanous trails, with sheer cliffs on either side. On the right is a jungle, and on the left, over 200 meters of free fall straight into the river. The trail has many, many curves, and is very narrow. Like the Death Road that I took the bike ride in, about a week ago, only this one is longer and has more cars in it. We went on Tuesday morning to the bus station in La Paz, and took a bus that supposedly was a 10 hour ride to a small town called Guanay. We never got there. That 10 hour bus ride turned out to be more than 30 hours on the road. We got stuck at night at a small village with two and half buildings, because the way ahead of us was too dangerous. There were mud slides from the mountain above us and the bus driver didn't want to take a chance. At some point, we nearly tipped over when a truck came ahead of us. The next morning, we had to wait for construction machinery to rescue another truck that got stuck in the mud, wheel deep. Eventually, after more hours on the road, our guides happened to pass us by in their car, on the way to look for us. We dissembarked, and went with our guides to the river, and built our raft. This is our second day. Today, we were supposed to start our sail down the river. It took us such a long time to build the thing, that night time came, and the guide said it was too late already, and we'll set out in the morning. So, we set up camp, and sat down to have dinner.
The next morning we "set sail" on the Amazon river, for four days on a raft that we built with our bare hands. Not the greatest of ideas, but certainly, one of the craziest, and most fun. Our first day, was mostly high currents, and alot of mosquitos. We got bit hundreds of times each. We floated until evening, when we arrived at a small town on the riverbed, and set up camp right there, on the bank.
The next day was alot smoother, more relaxed, but still plenty of man-eating mosquitos. The river was so calm, the sun so strong that our guides let swim around the raft the whole day. Most of the day we just caught some sun and relaxed. When the day came to an end, we parked our car at the side of river, and climbed a few meters of sand cliffs to find a marked path. It's like they knew it was there. We trode the path for a few minutes finding a small, abandoned miners village with banana trees, coconut trees, and papayas. We camped there for the night, and said our Shabat blessings. We couldn't drink their goy wine, so we drank whiskey instead.
The next morning we woke up to a great breakfast, made by our guides, and then we went into the jungle for a few hours, to look for clean water. On the way we saw giant spiders, drank out of trees and had a generally humid time.
When we came back, we had lunch and continued on our way to Rurrenabaka. Once the sun set, we found yet another place to set up camp, and there we celebrated our last night on the raft, with whiskey and wine.
That night it started to rain, and didn't stop for most of the next day. We waited for the rain to stop, which only happened at noon, so we continued quite late that day. Our guide said we'd get to Rurrenabaka very late, after dark, so we convinced a man to take us by boat the rest of the way.
Rurrenabaka is a small tourist town on the Amazon river. There are plenty of options here, and once we get settled, we'll see what's next.