Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Samaipata of little feet.

relax there are no kiddies it's just another blog title that's nothing more than a stupid pun. but at least I have a photo of the town.

Our return to Santa Cruz was supposed to be comprised of a few decadent days doing nothing but lounging by the pool and hanging out with the other guests. Like them, we had gotten sucked into the laid back vibe of Santa Cruz and felt no need to rush out especially since we were now staying in a cheaper room. Mother Nature had other ideas and the day after our arrival, the rain clouds rolled in and the temperature dropped 15 degrees. Now it wasn’t just cool it was actually kind of cold, certainly too cold to swim andmuch too cold to visit the waterfalls just outside of the city. So we just hung around the hostel and watched movies while we tried to figure out our next steps. And we weren’t the only ones. Linda was on her way out having just found an apartment for her 6 months in town. Pauline was in her last week of volunteering. Brenno’s vacation was over and it was time to head back to Brazil. Only Stuart and Max were still in no rush. Adrian and I decided to head to Samaipata next. It was supposed to be a picturesque town in the mountains and the first stop on the Che Trail. The Che Trail was a five-day hike that retraced Che’s last steps. While we weren’t up for a five-day hike (we’ve learned) we still wanted to visit the small towns in the mountains where he was captured and killed (well more Adrian than we). Plus, Samaipata was supposed to be a great place to hang out. We made some email enquiries and then asked Pauline if she wanted to join us when she was done volunteering. She was interested but she still had another day of volunteering so she’d email us when she was done to let us know if she was coming.

Rather than take a bus the next day, we remembered the shared taxis (particularly) how much cheaper they were and decided that was the best way to get to Samaipata. It helped that we weren’t in a hurry because shared taxi require patience. We took a taxi to the shared taxi stand and waited 45 minutes for 2 more folks to fill the car. Then we were off. I must have drifted off, only to be woken up when the road changed from paved to unpaved and full of potholes for the last hour. The scenary was spectacular, green hils, deep valleys and misty mountaintops (photo above). I was glad the taxi had to go slowly since it allowed us to take in everything.

At the outskirts of Saimpata, I asked the driver if he could drop us off at the Posada del Sol and he agreed (another plus of taking the taxi rather than the bus). Not that we couldn’t have found it ourselves. Samaipata was a small town and there were only a handful of places to stay but all well-marked. We checked into our room, grabbed a few extra layers to fight the damp chill and then went to town to find a place to eat. Depsite being popular on the backpacker trail there was only one place open. So we had a quick bite to eat and then hurried back to the hostel so we could get under the blankets. We had planned to spend a few days in sleepy Samaipata but with the cold, we decided to leave the next day.

At breakfast we talked to the owners to find out how to get to the first little town on the trail. They told us we were essentially too late to head out that day and in fact to get to the end of the Che trail was all but impossible by public transit. The towns were too small and nothing went there. He offered us a solution though, rather than stay overnight and try to hitch rides, he could help us find a driver for the day who could take us there and bring us back for $100. That was a lot of money (for Bolivia in particular) but Adrian had already jumped up and said yes before we could think it over. And even better the driver/guide only speaks Spanish and that would mean a whole day of translating. Fun. In preparation for this very long day, we did nothing but hang out in the lounge with the fire and the DVD player. Adrian dug up a copy of Che Part 2 and we watched it before heading out for an early dinner and early to bed because tomorrow we’d be getting up at stupid o’clock (4am). We’d chased Jeremy Irons to Conception now it was time to che Benecio del Toro to La Higuera.


Ayngelina said...

$100 is a pretty good deal if you think of all the hassle and time it would be to do it anything other way.

liz and adrian said...

in the end that's what we thought. but it seemed like a lot of money at the time because everything else in Bolivia was so cheap. plus compared to the $300pp the tours wanted for an overnight it was much cheaper