Explore. Dream. Discover.


Thursday, December 24, 2015

An Epic Catch

You're gonna catch a fish here..

Brandon's words to me after we spotted a huge trout sucking bugs in the pool below. We had stopped for lunch by a river gorge with the most beautiful turquoise water and standing pools that looked atleast 30 feet deep. I watched as the fish darted side to side for food and then reposition itself with every bite. We were maybe 15 feet up on a cliff, there was no way I could land this fish, even if I did hook it. "We'll figure that out later" Brandon said to me. A little apprehensive I lay my cast maybe 10 feet ahead of the fish's nose and let it drift, careful not to spook it. Nothing. Again I try, but unsuccessful. I pull my line up and change the bug while I myself am getting eaten alive by sandflies, a small black bug that leave a welt the size of a pin head but itches over the course of two weeks and then turns to a scar (I never did learn to not scratch). Once again I throw my line in front of the fish and let it drift, but this time the fish darts to the side, and I see his mouth open as he takes my nymph. I set the hook, and smash my foot behind a branch hoping I don't lose my balance. The fight is on for the biggest fish of my life. All I can think to myself is please don't lose this fish.

Ten minutes go by and I'm still high on the gorge cliff, playing the fish as he shoots deep into the pool. I feel brandon behind me brush an army of sandflies off me, I'm definitely loosing that battle right now, but I don't care, I'll deal with the welts later. I finally tire the fish, and Brandon has been gone for a while now, searching for a way down to the water. With a little team work and a lot of luck, we make our way down to the waters edge, I could've sworn that was a gift from god. How on earth did we find our way down here?! With adrenaline pumping through my body I'm on hyper mode and I can't stop shaking, we nearly fall into the river, camera, rod and all, and I still haven't pulled out my fish. I take a breath calm my nerves, and reach for the fish, got him! SHIT the rod! Down in the water it goes. The colorful rainbow stares at me bug eyed, still stunned by the battle. I recompose, salvage the rod, and pose for a few pictures before releasing the beautiful beast back to his waters.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

How Not to Enter Bolivia

In our experience of traveling thus far, we have had very few problems with boarder crossings. Whether we fly in or enter via bus, Americans typically get in with out fuss. Bolivia was another story. Being unprepared for our upcoming "adventure" we hop on to our bus from Peru to Bolivia, making sure we were of course with a reputable company that would't rob us or take us somewhere we didn't want to go (yes that happens). After a one hour ride on a somewhat smooth but windy road we approach the area to stamp out of Peru. Piece of cake. I show my passport, give the officer a smile and I'm out in a flash. Now all I need to do is walk the half mile to the Bolivian boarder and get stamped in. I hurl my bag over my shoulders and take off on the road lined with stalls selling trinkets and souvenirs, and a lot of food. Brandon and I stop and grab a bite to eat just as we step into Bolivia as we were so excited to try some new Bolivian cuisine. This was the first and unfortunately not the last time we ate Bolivian street food; enter food poisoning..

Joining the line to get stamped in we are approached by an officer that asked if we were Americans. "Yes" we reply sheepishly unsure of why that matters. He pulls us out of line and tells us to wait in the corner. We do as told and wait for the next 20 minutes. After no one new approaches us, we go to find help. Thankfully we see some other Americans who were just stamped in, indicating to us the numerous documents they showed the immigrations officer, my eyes grow wide as I realize we have none of these.

We get back in line and are pulled out again, this time put in a new line where other Americans were just finishing the process. It's now my turn and I cowardly step up to the officer and give the best "Hola, Como esta!" I can. He takes my passport, unamused and asks for my documents (onward flight ticket, hotel reservation, copy of passport, copy of yellow fever vaccination...). I pull out my phone with an old hotel reservation on it hoping he won't notice, but he won't even give it a glance. "Must be printed" strike one, I think to myself. "Ticket for onward flight" he states, again looking for additional documentation. I try to explain (in Spanish) that I'm not leaving the country via plane, which is why I don't have an onward ticket. He scours at me "no ticket no entry." strike two. By this time I'm more than frazzled, digging in my bag looking for something I know isn't there, shaking a bit uncontrollably. I try to compose and attempt to ask what I'm supposed to do, but emotions take over and I break down. We can't be stranded here; there's no lodging, no transportation, we were literally in the middle on nowhere! Shit. Again, attempting to speak in between crys, I plead with the officer, now in English, hoping he'll take pity on me. I start getting money out. Maybe he'll see that I have money and he'll let me in. However trying to bribe your way in is useless when you only have enough cash to cover the cost of the Visa. strike three.

Without going into more detail we did finally make it into Bolivia, via a lot of tears, and somehow sympathy from an unamused immigrations officer... and we were welcomed into the country with the worst case of travelers diarrhea we have ever had.