Steve's Adventures in South America
I bought a one-way ticket to Venezuela and I'm not coming back until my tube of toothpaste runs out...

Jazz Club

Crack Trainers!

We feel the need to do something constructive today so after an Apple Pie breakfast we head out to Madidi Travel to book a Jungle trip. There we meet and have a good chat with Rosa Maria Ruiz, the well spoken founder who helped set up and get recognition for the a href=""Madidi National Park*/a*. Booking was a long and timely process, mainly due to the useless, nay brainless, fat girl behind the desk who had to make lots of phone calls to answer every little question:

"Can we fly out in the morning?"

(She makes a phone call) Bring... Bring... \

"Yeah, there's a flight in the morning."

"At what time?" \

(She makes a phone call) Bring... Bring... \


"Are there 3 seats available?" \

(She makes a phone call) Bring... Bring... \

"No, it's full."

"Is there another flight?" \

(She makes a phone call) Bring... Bring... \


"What time is it?" \

(She makes a phone call) Bring... Bring... \

...etc and so on...

And then she couldn't work out how to use the Credit Card swipey machine. After making 5 dud impressions of all our cards we stepped in and showed her how. Grrrr...

Despite the forecast being rain for the next few days, today is a beautiful sunny day (unlike rainy yesterday) so we decide to chance the weather and The Death Road tomorrow. We choose B-Side Adventures for Sean (being a Mountain Biker enthusiast) is really impressed with their Overbuilt Iron Horse bikes - full front & rear suspension with 7" of travel, front and back 8" disk brakes, etc... For some reason booking this and filling in the paper work also took a long time.

The afternoon is spent looking for camping shops. I want to replace my pack towel and Sean's after a pair of zip-off trousers. There are none - just a couple of specialist climbing shops. I also look for a Cambio to change a Traveller's Cheque. It's Saturday, they're all closed.

Clean Shaven Hairless Steve

Around the hostel are around 12 hairdressers / barbers all back to back. Whenever I walk past with my long unkempt shaggy hair and a bushy beard they'd all go crazy and start waving and shouting at me! On the way back I sucome, pick one and get a cut throat shave and a haircut for 20 Bs (£1.20). I asked for an inch to be cut off but get scalped instead! I've not had short back'n'sides for almost a decade! Sean & Monika are amazed at my transformation and reckon I look 5 years younger and my pulling power has increased 10 fold! I'm not convinced but think I may keep the look for Timbo'n'Corrine's Wedding in July anyway.

Sean, Monika and I have dinner at the Sol y Lunar Bar where I was last night. The food was very nice. Then I go out on my todd again to try and find some lively bars - it is Saturday night after all! In particular I'm after an ex-pat place called Mondos. I don't find it but I do find Boom-E-Rang, a bar with a live Bossanova band and lots of couples grooving to it. I drink at the bar watching the talented dance floor divas.

Later I discover Theolinus Jazz Club which initially looked quite full until everyone emigrated to the stage to form a 16 strong band! The first song sounded a little sloppy but the rest (once they'd warmed up) were fantastic! The conductor was a half cast stereotypical jazz enthusiast complete with flat cap! The band enjoyed themselves and it was well worth the 20 Bs cover charge. I note a couple from the Boomerang walk in, the guy takes to the stage and takes over the drums. The next song he has a go on the piano! Clearly a well loved, talented lad. The bar waitress looked as though she worked in an American diner complete with long blonde curly hair. I realised I thought she looked cute when I couldn't speak to her straight!

On the way back, along 20 de October I happen across some seedy, unmarked, pink neon establishments with rough looking bouncers outside. Bed for 03:00.

Posted by Steve Eynon