Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rurrenabaque = Never-going-baque

                                               We had planned to be here for 3 days. Now 5 days had passed and we were still here. And wanted to leave more than anything!!!

The world`s shittest airport
After our flight was cancelled, we went to the airline office to rebook the next possible flight out of jungle hell. It was at 6 am. No problem, the sooner the better. After we left, I thought of a slight problem. My phone was dead, we had no watch or alarm clock. The front desk guys didn’t speak English and couldn’t understand my Spanish. The worst thing ever would be to miss the flight and have it be our very own fault!!! Luckily, they were plenty of other travellers who were on the same flight, and we managed to borrow a watch with an alarm.

We made sure we were there with plenty of time to spare. At the airport we encountered what bolivia is famous for; a game of hurry up and wait, an abundance of fees that no one told us about and a lack of information. The airline office stressed to us that we must be on time (at 5 am) in the morning to catch the shuttle. We were there with a few minutes to spare. It was 5:30 am before the bus showed up. At the airport, we were shuttled from one desk to another to pay some fees so we could leave the jungle. At the first desk we paid an airport tax. Then we were sent over to another desk to pay a departure tax. Then another desk for another jungle tax of some sort. With the lack of ATM`s in the city we were very short on cash. By the time we got to the last desk we were short. No way was I going to live in the jungle forever because the stupid town didn`t have a bank machine!! We had to borrow a few Bolivianos from another traveller who, thank the lord, had come more prepared than us and used the ATM in a real place. Besides that….what the F is jungle tax?!?!?! And why couldn`t we just pay everything all at one desk?? Bolivia blows my mind.

After that, we waited. And waited and waited and waited. Our boarding time came and wnet withou any sort of annoucemnt. Our flight departure time came and went and still not a word from anyone about what was going on. When I have to get up at 4:30 am I am never in a good mood. Top that off with feeling stranded in the jungle and an ass more itchy than you can even imagine, you could say I was not in a peachy mood. I loudly complained to Laurie about all of my Bolivain woes, and right after someone came over and explained in Spanglish that the flight was delayed due to the weather.

I fell into a fitful airport sleep and awoke because a stray and probably diseased dog was licking my foot. God, I just wanted out of Bolivia!!!!!!!! I looked outside; the clouds had dispersed and the fog had lifted. But for somereason, I still had my feet on the ground. Five hours after we should have left, we boarded the plane. I knew we were flying on a small plane, but I had no idea how small. It looked like a Barbie plane compared to the size of a regular plane. Laurie and I had the front row, which looked right into the cockpit. As I stared out the window and cursed the jungle, she overheard the piolets talking. The pilot was in training. And he was behind the controls. The guy in the passenger seat was telling him what to do. It would be fitting for me to die in the Bolivian jungle at the hands of a pilot in training. That is just how things go in Bolivia.

Thankfully, I survived the flight. As for the jungle town of Rurrenabaque, I am with our fellow Canadian Octavia on this one….it is not Rurrenabaque, it is Nevergoingbaque!!

Our original plan was to land in La Paz, and book a bus to Uyuni, Bolivia that night. With all of the delays, the tourist bus was all booked up for that night. We had other options, but as soon as the words `local bus` came out of the tour operators mouth, Laurie and I vigorously shook our heads in unison. There would be no more of that. We spent the night in La Paz and booked the tourist bus for the next day.

The jungle sure was an adventure, what would Uyuni and the salt flats bring????

Join me as I TRAVEL MY LIFE AWAY!!!!!

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