Monday, June 06, 2005

The Banana family and the Volcanes Lagoon


Having to spend a weekend till we can move into the jungles, me and Tim joined Roi and Noa to visit the Banana family, an Israeli couple living in the wilderness with their 2 year old son, named Nem. After spending two days in the farm and touring the lovely Volcane lagoon, me and Tim returned to Santa Cruz and leaving today to San Ignacio, a little town up north on our way into the jungles.

The days here in tropical Santa Cruz are very nice and cozy. The climate is comfortable (even though a bit humid) and I find my self more relaxing in this town. On Friday, me and Tim joined Roi and Noa and took a bus to Bermejo, a little village two hours ride from Santa Cruz. Well, actually we wanted to take the bus but there were road blocks, so we found out that there is a bus that goes to Santa Martha (which lies on the same road to Bermejo) and from there take another one to Bermejo. We climbed on the bus and after a lovely ride to the south tropical area, we came to a stop in front of the blockade: some burned down tires, huge rocks and people standing looking bored. We took our muchilas and headed toward the other side of the blockade. I snapped a shot of this moment, which was not so smart, when you think about it. In any case, everybody looked indifferent and I went on walking quickly. We found some taxis on the other side (no bus came yet) and finally we managed to grab one that took us an additional one hour ride to Bermejo. There, amid tropical scenery and red rocks rising 200 meter up into the semi cloudy skies, laid the tranquil little village of Bermejo: couple of houses, chickens and nothing more! We took our stuff, and after talking with couple of kids that were playing near the main road, we managed to follow them to a narrow path leading up one of the mountains on the side of the town. Turned out, that the way to the farm was not as easy as we was a very long and steep climb which took out of our of lives us a lot of energy, sweat and 40 mintues. But, it was well worth it!
Lying on the ridge slope, among tropical vegetation and looking toward another mountain, with a valley in between, the little farm consisted of two houses and all the mountain slope. AMAZING! After five minutes of taking some breaths following this climb, we were given some water and we started to get the grip of the people.
Dana and Tal, bth in their mid-late twenty years of their life, have decided to built their home among the tropic mountains in south-middle Bolivia. Self sufficiency, modest living and vegetarian diet are their main goals, and there is not a single man or woman who is not impressed with their effort, ambition and way of life. Nem, their little son, is running around like most children of nature, very curious and very smart. Outside of us four, there were already 8 people in the farm (!), all Israelis, of course. Tim, a very intelligent man, was starting to learn Hebrew in those two days, even though I had to translate for him some of the major derbates over dinner or breakfast (well, he is not superman, after all...). The Israeli people there were very friendly, and i actually met some guy that was learning with me in high school in Petah was very amusing!
The next day we hiked to Lagoon Volcan, a very nice place and a very beatifull lagoon. We hang out there for a couple of hours and then headed back to the farm, enjoying the sun, the tropic climate and the beautifully scenery all over the place.
The next day (Sunday) me and Tim had to do our way back to Santa Cruz, in order to have enough time to reorganize and meet with Avi and Yair, that were waiting for us in Santa Cruz. Going back was a little much more easier. We were joined by two Israeli nice girls named Mika and Inbal, which stayed two nights in the farm, and together we took a bus back to Santa Martha. On the way, as seen in all Bolivia, people were climbing the bus while a down-pour was hitting everybody outside on their head ferociously. That bus was SO stuffed, people were hanging out of the open bus door in the cold air. The road block was still there, with a long line of trucks with merchandise waiting for eternity while people passed by from and to Santa Cruz. We found a cab driver willing to take us back to Santa Cruz for 5 Bolivians each, but as we got into the cab I heard him saying out loud "Una mas, Una mas!"..what the fuck?! He wants to shove additional people into this already filled cab? (usually, only 5 passengers have space in a private car, including the driver. We were already five.) Me and Tim started to argue with him but no way. So we took our stuff and left his miserable cab, only to find a better option: an empty bus just waiting for people to fill in (which cost even less). The drive back was fast and by the time it was 14:30, we were at the hostel.
We saw the third episode of Star Wars (which was nice) and this morning (Monday) we met with Yair, Avi and Yaki (Yakov). Together, and with another Israeli named Nir, we gonna take this night bus to San Ignacio, a 10 hour drive. Long. We bought so much food I guess we wont be hungry for the next week...

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