After all of my adventuring, I was ready to take a vacation from my vacation. An Amazon Basin trip?? Yes pleaseeeee.
One of my main draws to Bolivia was the close access to the Amzaon Basin. Bolivia also happens to be way cheaper than the other countries that offer them (Peru, Colombia, Brasil). Amazon basin trips in Bolivia start from Rurrenabaque, a tiny town north of La Paz.
The morning I was scheduled to fly was the day after concquering the Death Road. I woke up feeling horrible. I might have celebrated surviving the death road a little too enthusiastically the night before. On top of that, my lingering cold wont give up. And yes, a bit homesick too. I was feeling lackluster at best. But I was going to the amazon basin! I really was excited, but I just wished I felt a little better.
My flight left out of the La Paz airport in a tiny plane. There was one seat one either side of the aisle, totally about 20 seats. The plane was too short to come close to standing, so I just crouched my way back to my seat. It was just us (the 12 passengers) and the two pilots.
No safety briefing. No flight attendant showing me how to use a seat belt. Nothing. We just sat down and the plane started. How was I going to buckle my seat belt if no one showed me how>!!!!
The fellow gringos and I looked at each other with sheer terror. But not one guy. At around 65, this old man was rocking shoulder length grey/white hair and an equally legit beard. He had on cowboy boots, khakis, and a fleece. Then there was the hunter knife sheeth hooked onto his pants. (Apparently security is lax in La Paz). Just as I was becoming completely enthralled in this mans wardrobe, he pulls out a cold beer from his satchel. WHAT. No one told me I could bring my own beer on the plane. I was insanely jealous and dumbfounded.
After a quick anmd bumpy 45 minute flight, we landed in the Rurrenabaque airport….Not that it could even be called an aiport. More like a grass field with a tiny one room building attached.
I stepped off the plane and instantly soked up the sunshine and oxygen (Rurre is almost at sea level…hurray!)
Outside the airport, a Bolivian mototaxi driver asked me if I needed a ride. I did, so I hopped on the back of his motorcycle. No, there werent helmets involved.
When I was in Barcelona, one of my goals was to ride on the back of a mo-ped with a local. My fantasy was essentially coming true. Except instead of Gerard Pique I imagned would be driving, it was a 5´4 Bolivianman with three teeth.
The 10 minute ride into town was beautiful. So much green jungle! Screw high altitude freezing cold cities. This is where I belonged.
To be honest, I felt kind of rebellious riding a motorcycle without a helmet. But soon I found out its standard practice. Even toddlers who sit in front of their parents on the motorcycle go helmetless. Not a joke.
My toothless friend found me a nice hostel, just under $6 for a private room.
I immediately got out of my jeans, jacket, and scarf. I was so elated to pull out my neglected summer clothes from the bottom of my pack.
From there I went exploring tiny Rurre where I found the best fresh squeezed OJ for under 50 cents. Vitamin C, sunshine, and oxygen…My cold went away in about 2 hours.
I hadnt even seen the pampas yet, and I was already so happy with my trip to Rurre.