Making Plans For
Nigel Timbo (II)
Did I say it was hard to make plans in Bolivia already?
Didn´t get to Rurrenabaque yesterday. Turns out that the airstrip at R can´t handle bad weather like rain. Beautiful day in La Paz yesterdsay, but rain in R, so no flights. When we got to the airport we met people who had had their flights from the day before cancelled and had been waiting in the airport since 5.45am that day. They were ganging together to try to charter plane to a another town nearby R and then take the bus from there. The plane would only take 10 people so we couldn´t join them.
We waited around a little bit until it was sure there were no flights that day and then took a taxi back into town. Now here comes another Bolivian experience.
Turns out that there´s a bit of a gas problem going on at the moment. Bolivia supplies gas to several different countries (Argentina, Chile, Peru) and there have been protests about the supply to these countries and the supply to the domestic market. Basically, Bolivians can´t get the gas they need. If I read the news right, there was a protest a few days ago and the supply was frozen completely, the police were sent in to break up the blockade, some people were killed but the supplies were restored. Now enough with the background ...
Yesterday there were more protests about the lack of gas and on the way to the airport we could see tens (if not hundreds) of people queueing in the road with small gas canisters (like the ones in standalone gas heaters). But we got to the airport fine. On the way back the blockades started. The 3 lane road back into town was blocked where we wanted to go so the driver just swung into the oncoming lanes and drove that way (bit scarey driving the wrong way down a motorway). Then it became obvious that the normal road into town was blocked so we took some side streets. Of course, not really paying attention to which direction the one way streets were meant to be going. We got stuck for a few minutes at one place where I thought it was just going to be forever. Then after a couple more streets the taxi driver announced that there was no way to get to the hotel. He dropped us off and we walked about 4 blocks to our place (carrying full packs, going up hill at this altitude was a bit tiring).
We will try to leave again today. Calling up the airline to see if planes are flying. If not then we might go for another option that was offered to us this morning. Go by jeep (plus driver) straight to R. 12 hour drive instead of a 1 hour flight but it will at least get us there and give us some time to do a tour there. We´re already out of time to do a jungle tour, but we can still do a tour of the Pampas where the wildlife is meant to be fantastic.
Bolivia. A totally different world.