Highs and Lows

We have now left La Paz behind us and arrived in the official capital of Bolivia; Sucre (the white city) from where we will go to Potosi, the silver city.

We’ll start with one of the highlights that we experienced; Huayana Potosi (6088 m), a very high mountain near La Paz. We couldn’t just pass this mountain, so we tried to climb it. The first day we practiced ice climbing along a steep glacier wall and after a second sleepless, cold night it was time, at 1 am with just the stars, snow and warm clothes accompanying us, we slowly but steadily climbed up into the dimmed glow of our headlamps.

But as with all heroic stories, something goes wrong here as well

We were already at an altitude of above 5500m, which the guide said was the ‘critical point’. But as with all heroic stories, something goes wrong here as well. Our guide, called Frans, suddenly has in mind that we need to run up the mountain, shouting; ‘Panic, panic, rapido, panic, thunderstorm coming, electrico, no good!’ At this pace you won’t be there in 5 hours (mind you, we had already overtaken 2 groups…). This was the beginning of the end of our mountain adventure, as our little Napoleon made sure that this new pace became Erik’s Waterloo. The exhaustion and the height, everything became too much.

At 5800 m, the high word (and some more stuff) came out… it didn’t work anymore, really a shame, we almost made it to the top! Slowly we walked back down (with some other people that couldn’t make it) and we enjoyed the view of the rising sun, which took away a lot of the disappointment.

Panic, panic, rapido, panic, thunderstorm coming, electrico, no good!

Completely done with the altitude, we went down to Rurrenabaque in the jungle, to get some more oxygen in our lungs. We got there via a very scary road and super long bus ride (we had to be pulled out of the mud by an excavator and we had to put on ponchos during the ride, because the bus was leaking). The ride normally takes 18 hours, it took us 23 hours, but then we were lucky because we heard stories from people who had driven for 34 hours. From Rurrenabaque we went into the jungle and pampas, there you really see a lot of wildlife! We watched a caiman drag an anaconda into the water; we don’t know who won in the end as the fight continued underwater (anacondas can also strangle crocodiles).

We also saw many species of birds, colorful birds, very large birds, strange birds and of course nice monkeys, who came to visit us when we passed by.

Viola catched a piranha with the most primitive fishing rod and a piece of meat. It had very sharp teeth and because Viola panicked a bit, she threw the fishing rod and piranha in the middle of our primitive boat, almost making other people jump out. Oops.

A little further in the river (where there were really no piranhas and crocodiles) we swam with pink river dolphins! They are super cute but also very ugly; a big lump of blubbery pink fat.

While piranha fishing we also caught the attention of an alligator that sneaked closer and closer and then suddenly disappeared..loud screams announced that it had reappeared right next to the boat, but luckily it just looked at us and then slowly drifted off again…

The food in the jungle was very tasty, but you had to hurry because it was eating or being eaten by the mosquitoes… Furthermore, the food is very salty here and we eat a lot of rice with potatoes and chicken and sometimes other types of meat (no idea what, don’t ask 😉). And right now we’re going to cook ourselves in the hostel, pasta carbonara!

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