On The Road: Rain-soaked days and dinosaur prints in Bolivia
Saturday 11 July 2009
T he rain, which all night has drowned out the sounds of soft rock and loud travellers' tales of anacondas from the pizza place next door, is still cascading down out of Rurrenabaque's grey sky when we wake up. This is the jungle, and airports are narrow strips of rough grass cut through the endless trees. Rain and jungle air travel don't mix.
My shoes are still soaked from walking thigh-deep through a pampas bog the day before, so in sandals I wade across what was once a road, wondering where yesterday's kerb begins.
At the airline office they seem unfeasibly optimistic. We leave our bags and head off to a café for breakfast. Several breakfasts and brunches later, we're still sitting watching the rain and the sky and waiting for news, always half an hour away.
Locals come by, smiling, telling us how the last time it rained nobody left for a week. We meet a couple of Irish girls and talk to a pair we'd met before in La Paz. In a homemade kit car, an American man drives around selling banana cake and giving out conspiracy theory literature about the FBI. Hours pass.
There are no spectacled bears, no active volcanoes, no enormous expanses of white, or blue, not even any weird potatoes, only a few bedraggled dogs, some muddy motorbikes and some stranded travellers. Eventually the call goes up from somewhere that we're off to another airport, where they have a solid runway. Far too many muddy people pile into a tiny minibus and we are driven bumpily away into the mist.
There is nothing especially unusual about today, but, alongside all of spectacular Bolivia, along with dinosaur footprints and candlelit cabins, I'll remember this too, fondly.
Footprint's 'Bolivia Handbook' (£14.99) is available now
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
- 3 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 4 Baby rescued 1km out to sea after parents forgot about her
- 5 Greek debt crisis: The photograph that conveys the despair of Greece's elderly
Are plastic planes the future of flight? Heathrow expansion reopens debate over aviation's effects on the environment
Inside Travel: Greece 2015 Q&A - should we cancel our Greek holiday? Are our flights safe? And what will we be spending there?
The 10 Best lightweight luggage
The most powerful passports in the world
Settle to Carlisle railway celebrates 150 years: A line carved out of stone
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...
£33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...
£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...
£22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...