May 24, 2006
Remanso to Versalles Canoe Trip Day 5
The next town on our map of the river was Santa Cruz, on the Brazilian side. It looked like it would take all day to get there, so we left as soon as there was enough daylight to see the river. About three hours later, we came to a little settlement on the Bolivian side. We stopped to get information and were invited up to sample their lunch. The main course was a turtle cooked right in the shell. I put all environmental concerns aside and gave it a try. The meat was tough and bland. It was apparent that the people living there would never starve: They also had a large fish on a line for their next meal and could easily hunt or fish for anything else they needed. They are going to Versalles, so I guess we'll see them at the party.
The rest of the day was categorized by world-class wildlife. We saw giant toucans, macaws, parrots, capybaras, caymans, pink dolphins, and stingrays. Exotic animals were popping out of all corners all afternoon.
Once again, navigation was difficult as we were plagued by more large islands and oxbows. Getting good info has been problematic as well. The best directions people are willing to give us are "Always stay right," "Always stay left," or "Always follow the current downstream." Locals' guesses of paddle times were way off was well. The actual time it took us to get to every destination has been double that of what we have been told so far. Leaving so early is starting to look like a really good idea now.
The jungle was still thick on both sides, so we stopped at the next town we came to, after eleven hours of paddling. This name was Fiscal, and once again, it was on the Brazilian side. This town was a big bigger with maybe 100 people. We set up camp and got more info about what to expect tomorrow from a school teacher. Nobody there spoke Spanish, but Portuguese is still somewhat understandable if you understand Spanish and it is spoken slowly. Everyone was really nice again, but we'll have to get an early start tomorrow so we didn't have time to hang out much.
The photo album for this entry is here.