A Stone's Throw

practice your aim. you never know when you'll spy 2 birds at once.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Journey North

After the park I was keen on seeing more of the Bolivian part of the Amazon Jungle and the Pampas, and determined to make it there - hell or highwater.

Turns out that the road went through both.

The morning of my escape turned out to be an escape for another disgruntled park volunteer, Jason. Together we waited on the road, backpacks ready, to discover that the north-bound bus wasn´t going to show. Of all days for it to happen, this was the worst. Refusing to waste another day at the park, we flagged down a car and made it to the village to the north - a collection of ragged buildings and dirt roads. There we were able to catch a taxi (imagine a Honda with 8 passengers and luggage) 3 hours to Trinidad.

There are 2 things I´ll always remember about Trinidad.

1 - Everyone rides motorcycles and vespas

2 - Open-air sewers lining the sidewalks


I suppose there is a 3rd thing I will recall about Trinidad - there are no night buses to 'Rurre'. This threw a kink in the plans for a quick route north. Suddenly we were forced to weather a night in Trinidad.

We caught a morning bus that left at the usual 2-hour late starting time and found that calling the route north a 'road' was far too generous. Criminally incorrect. It was a river of mud. On several occasions we even had to exit the bus so that it could make a wild, sliding, spinning attempt to surge through a particularly deep part of the road. I´ve never seen such a massive vehicle in so much danger of tipping over.

Yet as surreal as riding the bus was, it was nothing compared to crossing a river with it. On 3 occasions we came to rivers where we had to take wooden rafts across. I never would have believed that a canoe with a 15Hp outboard motor could push a raft carrying a bus. Now I know better. That's what traveling does for ya.

To the left - the launching dock.

The raft's secure bottom:

At the 11th or 12th hour we arrived at some darkened village where the drivers that there weren´t enough people going north. So instead of driving us themselves, they effectively sold us to a driver of a renovated cargo van. Our protests fell on deaf ears and so the 15 of us squeezed into the van for what would turn out to be the worst ride of my life.

Initially we were told it was 3 hours to Rurre, but then after 2 hours, we were told it was still 3 hours to go. It was like going back in time, or being stuck in purgatory - as the van bounced and lurched and shook, fully without any sort of shocks or suspension.

When we finally reached Rurre, we were so delirious from lack of sleep, pain in our limbs, and splitting headaches from hitting the van's ceiling so many times, that we had no idea what time it was. But we had made it.


  • At 10:35 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    have you dried out yet from the river crossings?

    What about the "World's most dangerous road?" How did it go??


    (we're home safe and sound)

  • At 12:38 PM , Anonymous Jamie said...

    ohhh to be a fly on the wall of your mind during that bus ride HA


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