Hola again from Bolivia…. I mentioned in my previous writing that bugs and insects have been a normal part of my  life here in the jungle of Ixiamas.  I wrote also that I was beaten by giant ants and wasp.  To continue with my story. One time, I was cleaning my room; suddenly I noticed a tarantula crawling on my window. In my surprise, I screamed. “Aaah!”

Well, I have seen several tarantulas around Internado, I was just startled to see it right in my room, that I didn’t realized I screamed. Then just the other weekend, some of us went hiking to the falls and I came back with sores and bug bites all over my legs and arms.

Almost every night, Bolivar the cat, would be on the ledge of the hall on the third floor, waiting for  a prey.  His supper is usually a variety of all kinds of bugs and insects, of different sizes, color and shape. One evening I was by the hall of the third floor where my room is. I was quietly reading a book, Bolivar suddenly jumped out from the air behind me! On his mouth was a small creature crying “iiik! Iiik!” At first I thought it was a tarantula, I could not see clearly as the light was not bright enough. With the “iiik!” sound, I recognized it  must be a small bat. Bolivar played with it before he chewed on it, right before my eyes. I was yelling. “Bolivar don’t eat it here, go away. Enjoy your feast somewhere!”

Anyway, in fairness,  I have not seen such beautiful birds and butterflies as much as I have seen it here in Ixiamas.

A Hike to the Falls

The other weekend, as the kids took off for a short break from school, Rachel, Mateo with a couple of kids visited an American family who live in beautiful prairie land in the middle of the forest. Every weekend we wait for them in town as they sell fresh milk, cheese and other stuff from their farm on their horse buggy. It is always been a joy every time I see them on their buggy with their goodies. I feel like being back in time, like the year of 1800’s.

Oh, how I love going to their house in the middle of a beautiful pastureland. It is a rough and rugged road through the woods driving to their place, but it is always worth the trip.

The trek began from their field in the middle of the forest.  It was a team of 3 Americans, 2 Bolivianos, 3 kids, me and 6 dogs. (Two of the dogs are from Internado). Our guides, the Bailers, the young guy came with his hunting rifle and hunting knife.   We passed many tall, small and old trees, bushes, ferns, and all kinds of wild flower, grass and plants. The kids treaded the forest like deer, they went fast. However, the Internado older folks were all careful and slow with our paces and strides as we went under and over some huge, old fallen trees and logs. Then the trail wound up to a river and stream. We continued hiking and treading over big rocks, some are mossy and slippery. I was all careful not to get my hiking shoes wet, but there was no way to keep it dry. When I can’t climb through the rocks, and between small stones, I just walked right in the water,  and didn’t care that my hiking shoes are all wet. We  stop once in a while to drink from the cool water of the stream. We stop and rested on some huge rocks after an hour hike as we passed a tall and high falls, with little water cascading down to a small stream at the bottom.  I asked our guide, Marvin,  “ Is this the fall? It’s beautiful”.  He said, yes it‘s one of the Falls, but there‘s more we are just half way. . I was already feeling exhausted, but hearing it was only half-way, meaning another hour of hike. We moved on and continued to follow the river trail.

I noticed the small dogs struggled as I heard them cry and yelp whenever they could not go over some high trails. One of us would help them to climb up, or just carry them. A few times I saw Snicker, the Internado small dog, slid down  from the big  rocks. Some of the bigger dogs just swam straight to the stream as they follow us.  Some of us adults had slid down the slippery and mossy rocks. Then, I whenever I look at our guides, they were patiently waiting for us, as they would be sitting and relaxing over the huge rocks. (In fairness they have been going to that trail for the last 7 years.) They literally grew up playing and hiking in that trail. When we got to the end of the trail and saw this gorgeous and breath taking falls right in the heart of the jungle, I forgot all the exhaustion and from the hike. It was about 20 feet tall falls  with plenty and clear water flowing from the top  down to a small looking-like a -lagoon that is connected to the river and stream. The water was clear and clean. I was praising God for the beauty of His creation!

However of all the time to capture the gorgeous scenery,, lo and behold, my camera was not working! Earlier in the trail I tripped over a huge rock and my camera went down to the  water. ooouch, I was not hurt but I cried for my camera. (As of now my camera is working after drying it, thank God!)
Our hosts and the other guide Lila, brought picnic lunch for us. We all ate a good lunch by the falls, and went all swimming and playing in the water after.
Then we had to hike back so it won’t be dark on the trail. It was another 2 hours hike back.
I tried to go  faster so our guide won’t be so bored waiting  for us. One time I noticed  the young guy, holding his hunting knife and a peace of small wood on his hands, while we were all struggling treading the trail.  No matter how I tried to go faster, I still was not able to catch up with them. After the two hours hike we got back to the woods, and  just before we turned to return to the prairieland of our guide, the young gentleman showed us a piece of wood. It was a carving of a spoon (like a dining spoon)!  We were all so impressed that he was able to make a spoon wood carving during our stops as he waited for us!
When we came back to the Internado, I was all tired and wet and I had bug bites on my legs and arms. However, I was so happy as it was one the best hike I had and it was  more challenging than the rest of the jungle tours I had in Bolivia. I really enjoyed that hike  though and was thankful to Our Lord  for that special trip. To our past Interns, I’m sorry guys you missed the fun and this adventure.