June 12, 2006
I wanted to go on a tour of the pampa today, but it wasn't possible. All of the flights into town were canceled due to poor weather conditions, and so many tourists opt to fly rather than take the 18-hour bus ride from La Paz that every tour company in town was forced to delay their tours until tomorrow. However, I was able to get into a tour of the jungle for today. I went more for something to do than anything else.
I was joined on my tour by Mano and Luz from Holland and Julio, our guide. We were driven to the nearby jungle, but not in the national park. Julio mainly taught us about plants that were useful in the jungle. There are plants that supposedly can cure everything from snakebites to impotence. Probably the most interesting example was eating termites to cure indigestion. Julio tapped a termite nest to get them riled up, and when they started running around, he licked them. My turn was next. They tasted very minty for some reason.
For the next several hours, Julio led us through the jungle, cutting his own path with his machete the entire way. He constantly joked about being lost, and at times I wasn't sure how much he was actually joking. There didn't appear to be any rhyme or reason to the direction he took us in other than to keep us occupied for awhile.
At one point, Julio saw some vines and started cutting around them. I wasn't sure what he was up to when he asked us how much we weighed. Then I saw that he was clearing the area around a vine we could swing on. I guess it was kind of cool to act like Tarzan for a few seconds, but it took half an hour and countless wasted vegetation just to create a glorified swing. It seemed like a big waste, but the girls enjoyed it at least.
Later, we walked out of the jungle to the main road where we met our ride back into town. I didn't see many animals, but the tour was still interesting to learn about living in the jungle. Tomorrow's pampa trip guarantees lots of great wildlife viewing.
The photo album for this entry is here.