In transit to Vienna, Austria
Today we bought 2nd hand (or should I say 2nd foot) hiking shoes for $10 from a flea market on 4000m (500m above our hotel). When la gente indigena saw me how I couldn´t catch my breath, these merciful people told me what a wonderful remedy for altitude weakness is the ¨mate de coca¨. We are in the city of the Museo de la Coca after all. I think we will be talking with the spirits of the Andes tonight. We will be ready to head to the mountains when we can run from one end of the city to the other without gasping for air. The prominence is about 1000m.
Valle de la Luna
After taking the bus from Guayaramerin to La Paz and staying folded in the seats for 2 days, congested with dirt, we ran into two road blocks each 3-4 hours, which didn´t come as a surprise to the rest of the passengers. They took their time to do laundry, rise a family, grow old and eventually die. After reaching Caranavi - 100 km horizontally and 3 km vertically away from La Paz, we gave up on this bus to continue the trip next day, so we don´t have to travel at night on unpaved mountain road on a beaten down double decker. In the morning we found that since more than a year roads in this part of Bolivia are out of service Monday - Saturday 7am - 5pm. So much for safety precautions. As for the advertisement above - ¨Ositos¨means little bears. I want to turn your attention to the golden wrist watch he´s wearing.
Our first low-land Amazonian, full of mosquitoes, hot and sweaty phase of the trip is over. Tomorrow we are rising to 4000 m in the highest capital La Paz and will roam the surrounding mountains. Time to dig up long pants and trekking shoes from the backpacks. In La Paz we have to buy or rent tent, mountain shoes and gear. All we bring is sleeping bags for 10°C and Primus stove burner. The plan is to spend as much time as we can in Cordillera Real.
I like Bolivia, Guayaramerín is not a bad place to turn 4. I hope a surprise (how about a cake?) is awaiting for me today.
5 days on Madeira river on Barco Dois Irmãos I - from Manaus to Porto Velho
An Amazon Cruise for $17 a Day. Hammock Not Included - NY times article on same cruise
Hammocks are already breezing on the boat leaving Manaus to Porto Velho at 6 pm today. Journey will take 5 days.
Writing from Boa Vista, we are catching a bus tonight to Manaus. There is ferry leaving tomorrow from Manaus to Porto Velho. If we are in luck we will be on it.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we present you Roraima. The legend says that there was this gigantic Tree of All Fruits but the smart heads of the time decided to cut it off to get all the fruits at once. The corona of the tree tipped over in the abyss never to be found. Now los pemones harvest yucca and drink occasional beer when they can land a job as a guide.
This is Omar´s family - our guide. There is a young boy hiding behind his sister, the only son, who wanted to be in the picture but didn´t want to show his face. His name is Jordan, same as Juri´s grandfather.