Too Much Cumbia

June 2, 2006
Day 247
Remanso to Versalles Canoe Trip Day 14

Picture of a boat in Versalles.

One of the many house boats that showed up in Versalles.

The religious chanting went on all night, with people singing songs that sounded more like an ancient animalistic religion than Catholicism. Just in case anyone was sleeping, they shot off more loud fireworks every half hour or so. The madness didn't stop till dawn.

When we ran into the French trio, they gave us the good news. Not only were we on the ship, but we got our own room with two beds, enough space for a hammock, and a private bathroom and shower, all for the low price of nothing! I can't believe the generosity of the local people lately. We had great places to camp for free all along the river, now we are at a free party, and later, we will leave town for free, too. We weren't sure what to expect going into this adventure, but it has worked out in fairy tail fashion so far.

Besides the generosity towards us, this party is a great thing for the area. People from all the little communities near Versalles get to take the free boat away and back, and get to enjoy four days of fun without spending any money. It's really a great way for people in the area to get to know each other.

It was another repressively hot afternoon. There isn't much one can do in this kind of heat other than sit around and pant to try to keep cool. Once the sting went out of the sun a bit, a soccer game started. Play was competitive, and I'm not sure how the locals can run around when I'm sweating just looking at them. A funny moment happened when they were in the middle of a serious game and had to stop play so the cows could cross the field.

There were more religious processions all day again, but dancing was on tonight. The problem was that cumbia was the only music available. Cumbia is probably the most popular music in Bolivia, but it is horrible on the ears. It sounds like one of those guys in big cities who cranks a music box and has a monkey who dances to it for money. The same song lasts for hours and never changes chords. The sad thing is that Brazilian music is really good, and even though most of the people at the party were Brazilian, their music never got played. I just couldn't take it anymore after the first ten minutes, so I went to bed early.

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