And here’s the blog to go with the last photos of the team!
The day started when Pete and James stumbled into our shared dorm at 4 in the morning after a few too many “forced” cervezas with big Quest boss Jon “el Jefe”. This boded well for ice climbing a few hours later when everyone was well up for it, apart from those two “heroic” leaders of ours, who could have benefited from a few more hours (or days) in bed. We, on the other hand, raced up the icy cliff face in our crampons, conquering our fear of heights and basking in how healthy we felt. Upon our return to La Paz we were greeted by a massive street carnival, full of colour and music, and started our search for a good Chinese dinner. Unfortunately, Jackie Chan’s was on the other side of the untraversable fiesta. While some settled for street food, Alex, Chloe, Gilly, Ty and Mikey ended up in a swanky restaurant all to themselves in the heart of town. After the long day we were all so tired that the noise (literally on our doorstep) hardly mattered and we all slept like babies.
The next day Pedro and Jim were back to their boisterous selves and ready for a brilliant trip down the World’s Most Dangerous Road. We all put our biking gear on and started our descent, first on tarmac to get used to our bikes, and finally on to gravel. The highlight of the ride was definitely the moment when Gilly overtook Mike and Ty, shouting “hurry up, ladies!” The ride was a success for everyone and we sustained no injuries much to Pete’s relief/surprise. We then chilled with some beers while Gilly and Chloe kept their adrenaline going by doing some zip wires over the v-shaped valley (Ty’s favourite word of the trip!).
From this high the team then went off to Coroico, a lovely hillside pueblo where we lounged by the pool, played pool (Ty even won Sureyya as a slave for four hours!) and witnessed the start of the mosquito invasion; poor Mikey was bitten all over and the scratching continued over into the following rest day, where after a few drinks Ty revealed he had seen all the ladies in the team naked – by this, he meant only their backs, of course!
Following this revelation, we spent 17 hours on “The Silver Ray”, a rickety old bus, on the way to Rurrenebaque, from where we travelled to Jacj Cuisi, a Quest supported animal refuge project site. Here we spent many hours laboriously lugging rocks and sand up a hill to a puma enclosure currently under construction, apart from poor Mikey, who was unable to stand due to swollen mozzie bites and controversially had the first day off under the influence of Piriton prescribed by Dr Izzy. Our shoulders were sore and our necks hurt, but once we started cementing the enclosure in place, we knew we were making a difference. The night there was spent in a luxury den with plastic walls and mozzie nets hanging from the ceiling to protect us from the creepy crawlies, although Chloe did still scream a few times at the cockroaches! Fortunately we didn’t see any snakes, but Alex did see something unearthly with ~26 legs! The highlight was definitely seeing the puma, Lishou, being walked in the jungle – we hope he appreciates his new home! The other highlight was Izzy being unable to add up 3 and 4 (it’s not 9!) maybe that’s why Mike was feeling so dozey…
On the way back to Rurre we picked up a couple of guys whose motocicleta had broken down, as well as another guy who hitched a ride on the roof of our minibus. We spent the afternoon looking at the second hand shops and were even brave enough to buy some retro 80s attire.
We’re back off to the jungle tomorrow for a tour of the Pampas and we can’t wait to ch-ch-check it out… til then, muchos besos, Gilly and Mike x