Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

My Photo

I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Three days in the saddle

Hi Everyone,
Well I am in Tupiza Bolivia, I got back yesterday after going on a 3 day two night horse treck through the dessert country of South East bolivia. The scenery is fantastic it is high dessert country that reminds you of all those old Clint Eastwood/Sergio Leone Spaghetti westerns. The colors of the mountains are nothing short of fantastic. Beautiful Blues Purples reds oranges greys of all shades. There were 3 riders two woman an english woman named Jo who is 29 and a dutch woman named marianna who is 39 and me an American man who is 49. And our guide Ishmael a 21 year old Bolivian Indian, who was an excellent horseman and a good guide. He does not speak any english which was a drag for English Jo who does not speak any spanish but not a problem for me or for Marianna. My spanish is much better here in Bolivia than it was in Argentina where I relly had a hard time with the accent. I had an easy time of it in Chile too but I am really starting to speak and mainly to understand much better now than in the past.
Of the three horses, mine was the fastest and the most spirited. His name is Laguno and he is a 6 year old pony of dark brown color with a black mane and a splash of white on his forehead. He has white coloring just above all 4 of his hoofs. he is a real friendly and nice horse. Not skittish, but definately full of spunk. He has a peronality disorder, where in he just hated to look at another horeses tail!! We had to be the lead horse always!! He also didnt really much care for any other horse being along side him. Walking was not his idea of a good time either. I had to rein him in quite a bit. He wanted to canter and gallop all the time. Most of the time I didnt mind, especially not on the first day. I havent been horse riding in some time and it was definately fun to be on a nice frisky horse. But lets face it, I am not a kid anymore and three days in the saddle and I dont believe I have a single muscle that doesnt ache. My butt was killing me and my thighs too are all tweaked. But worst of all is my lower back. All that bouncing up and down in a hard saddle is no bueno for a guy my age.Also we were supposed to be given leg protectors but the first day they only had two pair, so I rode without. Bad Luck. No boots, no leathers, big problem. We rode for about 6 or 7 hours and my calves were bruised and had two raw patches like two silver dollar sized pizzas. Ouch. Lugano threw a shoe about an hour out of our first nights rest spot so the next morning Ishmael rode off early to get a new one and came back with a nice set of leather leg protectors for me as well as the shoe for Lugano.What a relief!
On the first day we went mostly through mountain formations and beautiful rock formations and a few ghost towns where once many many miners dug for gold silver and tin. Now there are mostly abandoned mud buildings and a few campesinos living in the towns, not much more. Still they have a certain eary beauty and it was really cool to think that 100 years ago Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid were raiding these very same towns. We saw many nice birds: eagles, vultures and herons some smaller birds as well which Isahmael identified but I dont remember thier names. We stayed the night (actually both nights) in a family home turned into a hospedaje in a little former mining town now 80% abandoned that had no restaurant, bar or market of any significance, The señora of the casa cooked dinner for us of fried eggs rice and potatoes with a salad of tomatoe cucumber and purple onion. It was real good and we were real hungry. We went to the market led there by her son Enrique who is 6 years old and bought a couple of bottles of vino tinto and a lolly pop for Enrique and all in all it was a fine evening.
Next day we woke early and I helped Ishmael replace Luganos shoe and then we rode off mainly through dried river beds and also criss crossing the Rio San Juan de Oro many times. Sometimes in as deep as just below our saddles. It was really beautiful. This river begins in Chile and goes through Bolivia where it then turns south and onward to Argentina for a couple of hundred kilometers before emptying into another river and giving up its name. We were in an extreme valley of red stone mountain walls where we were meant to spot Condors but we did not. (Bummer). Ishmael thought it may have been too windy. We did come upon a flock of beautiful pistachio colored parakeets about maybe 90 or 100 of them in a couple of trees. I think it was the first time I have ever seen these birds not in a cage in somebodys living room. The whole area is just stunningly beautiful, Giant suguaro cactus, all kinds of beautiful dessert flowers, Tiny little pueblos where all the little kids run out and yell "hola" as we pass. Just a great three days.
The third day I was hurtin´ for certain. My back was really aching and my calves were a lovely violet purple color. I switched horses with Jo who decided to join a differnt group which was one rider and one guide who were to be out for another day, so she was out for 4 days instead of three. I spent the third day on a more mellow 8 year old horse and it was a big help especially for my back. So now it is the day after at about 10 o´clock at night and last night and today I have been on codein and muscle relaxers and ibuprophen and I feel more or less as good as new. Spent the day lolling around the pool in my hotel, reading a great book by Saul Bello called "Henderson the Rainmaker" and making a reservation on the Saturday night train to Uyuni and a reservation at a hospedaje that some Canadien travelers recommended to me which is right across from the train station. Which is pretty sweet because my train(the only one of the day) pulls in at midnight. Bad time of night to start looking for a room!!
No clue what I will be doing until then but thats the way my life is. My hotel is called Mitru and it is just swell. My private room with an excellent hot shower costs 25Bolivianos per night (8.08 bolivianos=1.00 US dollar so my room is just over 3 bucks a night)and it includes breakfast. I love the swimming pool and they have a real good book exchange.Life is sweet here in Tupiza Bolivia.
Peace and happiness to all of you.
Ciao for now


Post a Comment

<< Home