I didnt realize just how long its been, wow.
alright, i left the animal reserve with an aussie named gemma. we headed to santa cruz, which apparently a lot of people think is beautiful, but its really just another big city with no character. hot, dirty...not great. but we managed not to spend too much money, although we also didnt see 3-D movies, go to aqualand or anything else we planned. after a few days we headed off towards a town called samipata (which has not ATM) but we stopped off at a farm called gingers paradise.
It was started by an american guy married to a bolivian and their 3 children. you can pay a certain amount and just hang out, or pay a little less and work with them for a few hours in the morning. but the farm is all organic, and they are almost completely self-sustainable. they grow almost all their own food, solar panals create electricity, a wood fired oven makes food and hot water, its quite amazing. it would have been cool to stay longer (money and time gave us only 3 days there) because i think there is a lot to be learned from the family. and the day before we arrived they had a baby monkey given to them, so i kinda helped them figure out what kind of food it needed and when and all that.
then it was off to samipata, the place people say will be the biggest hotspot in bolivia soon. the only problem: almost all the awesome things to see and do--ruines, waterfalls, treks, jungle...--are taxi rides away from the town, and with no ATM (and being poor travellers in general) we werent able to do much. although we did take a shared taxi to some waterfalls the last day, only to find that these normally deserted and serene falls were teeming with the local bolivians yelling and playing soccer and volleyball, since it was may 1, they all had holiday. so not quite as nice as it could have been, but at least we got round to doing something.
from there headed back to santa cruz for a bus to la paz, and gemma waited an extra day for her bus to sucre. although when i got to the santa cruz bus station, i realized why gemma couldnt get a ticket for that night--may 1st--and had to wait an extra day. apparently nobody wants to work on that day, even though they celebrated it not on monday, like the rest of the world, but on friday (they already dont work on saturday or sunday) and kept the celebration going on monday and tuesday, so everything shut down for almost 5 days. that included the buses. not one bus was in the massive santa cruz terminal. so i stayed an extra night and left the next day.
been in la paz for a few days now, and im leaving tomorrow morning for puno. they have a sunday night thing here called cholita wrestling, and its bolivian women and men doing WWE style fake wrestling. quite funny, i have some decent pictures and videos of that. but at the wrestling they were handing out surgeons masks "so you dont get swine flu". but even people in bolivia are making precautions if they run tourists buisness and everywhere you see posters saying "beat the swine flu, we now have updated airborne disease defense systems with our tour
group." its hilarious.
anyway, tomorrow starts the many day bus journey to colombia. i dont know how much internet access ill have, but ill try and get an update out at some point, i dont really know how long its gonna take me to get there. oh, land border crossings, im excited...