After my “airport adventure” I finally managed to get to the jungle!! I really don´t know how to start describing the experience.
Being in the jungle is very strange. Everything is foreign. Plants, animals, climate, sounds. It´s a challenging environment since you are not used to it. You need to observe, you need all your senses by your side.
The area is protected now and it´s known as Madidi National Park. We went to the Madidi by crossing the Beni river and going up the river Tuichi.
The lodge had just beds and the bathrooms were outside. We had water to shower but no electricity so we had to use our flashlights or candles.
We went for long walks with our guide. He was a native and knew the area pretty well but he was not a “guide” in the sense that he didn´t take care of the group as a trained one does. You can imagine that I wanted to take pictures so I stopped more than once. And then he was not there and I couldn´t see the path. I had to shout “hey, where are you, I can´t see you”.
We learnt a lot about plants mostly. Their medicinal uses and what part of the plant you needed for that purpose. We walked in silence since you need to hear the sounds of the jungle, you can´t ignore them. They give you the location of the animals for example. We knew that there was a herd of wild pigs that way. And it was pretty scary! so much so that I didn´t dare grab my camera. We stayed in silence, witnessed them and let them go!
There were lots of ants, spiders, bees, mosquitoes of course and butterflies. They were pretty hard to get!!
We also learnt how to make rings and necklaces out of seeds. It was pretty fun!
Our group was multicultural: three English girls, one guy from France and another guy from Switzerland and our guide from Bolivia or course. And me.
We had dinner with candles and then we just chatted or stayed out if the mosquitoes allowed it. We also went for walks at night.
We had to cross rivers on fallen trees and the girls practiced their skills in the lianas, but just for fun!!
It was a marvelous experience!! Later, I learnt that you could share some time in the native communities so I wrote down the web addresses for another time. It would have been pretty interesting to share some days with them (and practice my poor Quechua that consists of some words I still remember from a course I took some years ago).
We went back to Rurrenabaque since there was another area to explore.