The chocolate river of the Amazonas

[Above] Life by the Amazon is very different. The river is the road; the canoes are the vehicles.

[Above and below] Across the narrow river at Rurrenabaque is another, smaller village called San Buenaventura. Between 6am and midnight there are boats constantly taking people from side to side. The people often load their groceries, merchandise, motorbikes and whatever else they can onto the modest canoe.

[Below] Reynaldo, my guide into the Bolivian pampas. He was a really kind man and a master of the canoe.

[Below] One of the features of a Pampas tour is the possibility of swimming with the pink dolphins. These fresh-water dolphins aren't quite as social as the dolphins in the sea but they still keep all the piranhas and caimans away. Even still, I decided not to jump into the water. It wasn't the piranhas or the caimans I was worried about but the microscopic parasites which can swim into your urethra, where they continue to live and grow. Ouch! I'm not certain the dolphins can keep them away.

[Below] A turtle orgy.

[Below] Piranha teeth. On the second day we went fishing for piranhas using a hook and line wound around a rectangle of wood. The trick was to slowly bring in the line and when you felt it tense you had to pull it hard and quick to hook the fish. Technically I caught seven piranhas. Unfortunately, every time I yanked them in they went flying into the side of the boat and fell off the line. This happened five times, including the one time I yanked a piranha into my groin. I should be happy it fell down and out of the boat rather than biting onto my own personal bait.

[Below] I did manage to successfully catch two piranhas. I'm claiming that the one below is potentially the smallest piranha in the world!

[Below] I was quite happy when I finally caught one that could be eaten.

[Below] Reynaldo said it would probably taste better after it was cooked.

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