Tag Archives: bolivia

Santa Cruz Zoo

As soon as we got to the largest city in Bolivia we checked in and went to the Zoo. Lonely planet said they had sloths roaming around the zoo. I like sloths, I would even put them on my top five awesome animals list. Within 5 minutes of arriving at the Zoo we saw the Sloth, climbing down a tree onto the roof of a birdcage. He tried to get down but wasn’t able to and had to get back into the tree. That whole process took a full twenty minutes. That was the highlight of the zoo visit.

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El Fuerte de Samaipata

We didn’t get a guide when we visited El Fuerte in Samaipata, so all our information came from the information booklet and map we got when we bought our entrance tickets. So here is some information from Wikipedia about the site because anything I’ve remembered about the place is probably blurry and wrong. The taxi driver mentioned though it is the largest piece of rock in the world. I don’t think that’s true because El Penol in Colombia looked larger than this one, but this one is kinda buried, so its hard to judge its true size.

El Fuerte de Samaipata (Fort Samaipata), also known simply as ‘El Fuerte’, is an archaeological site  in the eastern foothills of the Bolivian Andes.

It is not actually a military fortification but it is generally considered a pre-Columbian religious site, built by the Chané people, a pre-Inca culture of Arawak origin.

More recently, it has been pronounced to be an ancient flying object launching and landing site by the pseudoarcheologist Erich Von Daniken.

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Floating over Bolivia

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Wandering around Sucre

Not much to write about Sucre. Or about the photo’s. We were kinda tired I guess. So here are some travel quotations:

“Our Nature lies in movement; complete calm is death.”

                                                                                                 Blaise Pascal

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“Too often. . .I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen.”

                                                                                  Louis L’Amour

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“Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey.”      Fitzhugh Mullan

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“Bizarre travel plans are dancing lessons from God.”

                                                   Kurt Vonnegut

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“The traveller sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.”

                                                                               G. K. Chesterton

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“One always begins to forgive a place as soon as it’s left behind.”

                                                                                 Charles Dickens

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Day 3: Uyuni Adventures

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Day 2; Uyuni Adventures

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Day 1 of Salar de Uyuni

This was my most anticipated place during our whole South American trip. the photo’s I’ve seen of this place are surreal. And a surreal place it is. I didn’t know that surrounding the massive salt desert there were so many lagoons, volcanoes, wildlife. I wish I was more of a landscape photography guy so I could have taken more interesting photo’s but those 3 days were unforgettable.

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The blue part is the former sea which is now the largest salt desert in the world.

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1200 year old Cactus. Now dead.

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One of my camera’s; the sprocketrocket

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Building stones made from salt. One village we passed through had all the houses made from salt.

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Our tour jeep. Didn’t look that great, but was very comfortable.

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High Altitude Soccer and Fun

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I like fairs and carnivals. Especially in countries where safety regulations aren’t a high priority. Sitting in a chair made out of welded car-parts, looking at the uncovered dirty rusty diesel engine that makes the whole ride go and no safety barriers is what creates true adrenaline. Knowing that besides fun, a ride to a dirty hospital is a real possibility is what makes a thrill ride really a thrill.

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Seriously no safety barriers and some seats did not have a chain you could put around yourself, so you better hold tight.

High Altitude Soccer (4 km)

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The officials were escorted of the field during half time and at the end of the game by the local version of the riot police. It made me wonder what happened that put that rule in place.

Giffin in Style in Uyuni

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“An empty canvas is a living wonder… far lovelier than certain pictures.”
Wassily Kandinsky

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Our tour-group for 3 days through the Uyuni salt flats and surrounding deserts. I am horrible with names so from left to right the nicknames or what I remember about them: German TV Lady who loves Barcelona Football, Mexican Doctor Couple, Pretty Awesome Korean Girl, Driver and guide, Cook lady, German lady who likes sailing and eating lots of coca leaves and me.

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“Make an empty space in any corner of your mind, and creativity will instantly fill it.”
Dee Hock

San Miguel del Bala; Jungles of Bolivia

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Jungle Observations

River water looks like chocolate milk. Will it also taste like it?  I am not sure. Dilemma.

It’s been raining heavily the past few days and the river is high. Everything in the river floating looks like a crocodile. Or does a crocodile look like floating debris?

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We visited a canyon in the jungle. There was water flowing through it, it was narrow and humid. It reminded me of the King Kong scene in the valley, filled with centipedes, bats, frogs, spiders and weird bugs.

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Our guide Wilmer doesn’t speak his own Tanaka language. He and many other Bolivians used to be embarrassed to speak and to be identified as indigenous. Now with Evo Morales as their first indigenous president people are starting to  learn their languages again.

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I asked Wilmer if he had visited the capital La Paz before. He said he didn’t like it as it was too cold and noisy at night. He said he prefers the jungle noise.

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Wilder is from the Tanaka tribe and they own the eco lodge and a lot of the jungle land. All the profits go into improving their village and way of life.

On our second day Wilmer is walking barefoot through the jungle to show us a waterfall. He gets bitten by a poisonous spider. Very calmly he kills the spider with his walking stick and gets  a knife out to cut the bite and bleed out some of the poison. He explains that the next ten hours for him will be very painful. He explains the pain won’t be in the bite, but rather the poison which will gather in his glands. He points to his balls. I guess glands are in the balls. I am not a doctor nor have basic knowledge of the human biology.

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After a few days in the jungle surrounded by pure nature Facebook activity seems mundane an irrelevant. I still check though as soon as I get back.

We both get so many bites that aren’t from mosquitoes but I have no clue what kind of insect causes these bites. Every itches and nothing hurts.

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Ants come in all colors and sizes and they are everywhere. Some are tiny and harmless and some are called Fire-ants and Bullet-Ants and Face-burn-ants for a reason.

The noise coming from the jungle is never-ending and it’s amazing how much about the jungle I don’t know. Some sounds could be from a bird or monkeys but for the same money they could be from a huge beetle.  Either way I think they are trying to come into our porous wooden cabin.

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All trees look the same to us, but some contain rubber or glue or a fuel like substance. Others smell like garlic and can be used for cooking. Most modern people have no clue about nature.

We ask which mushrooms are tasty or great for a nice psychedelic trip and we are disappointed to learn that all them except one will send you directly to the afterlife. We never get to see the edible mushroom.

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There are communities of spiders that work together and weave huge webs that are basket like.

We learn that there are hummingbirds that are so small and light that they built their nests on the leave of a tree.

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We see a wild papaya tree with its trunk completely covered in large spikes to prevent monkeys and vegans from getting to its fruit.

Wilmer warns us not to leave any damp clothing outside  to dry ( I don’t think anybody has any non-damp clothing). Flies, spiders and other bugs love wet clothing and will use it as a nest overnight and you will wake up in the morning and find your New Balance socks covered in spider eggs or bug larvae. If you don’t notice the larvae or the eggs, these can hatch and once you wear them they will bury themselves in your skin and flesh. I asked Wilmer if he was kidding. He assured me he was not.

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I found out how a certain type of tarantula live in hole in the ground. So off course every hole in the ground around our camp was filled by my imagination with all types of creatures ready to attack me.

Wilmer was surprised to learn that seas have regular tides. Because he is so used to rivers and they only rise and fall when it rains. I tried explaining how the moon influences the ocean tides, but my Spanish and general knowledge were sorely lacking. I think I may have left him more confused.

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