In May 2013 I signed up for a seven day trip down the Rio Mamoré river. I landed up on a small cargo boat with Bolivian crew and two other gringo tourists, ready to see the heart of Amazon Basin in Bolivia. An introduction to the trip can be found in the first part of Rio Mamoré Drama, some thoughts on the boat itself are in the second part.
Our captain started the boat early in the morning. I woke up to mysterious fog and got this strange feeling, the one you can get watching “Apocalypse Now” movie. Couple of hours later, inspired by a whole thing, I started to read “Heart of the Darkness” by Joseph Conrad.
You land up on a small boat which moves slowly. There is a river bank far on the left, another river bank far on the right, you can’t see much. Sitting on the front of the boat, chilling in the full sun and having basically no responsibilities, attractions or internet first feels euphoric. You enter this specific mindset where your minds frees from everyday affairs. For me it was valuable and introspective experience, to be able to stop for a while, see my past and future travels in a different light.
Everyday life on a small boat can be pretty boring though. The only entertainment we had was chatting, chewing coca leaves, playing guitar, reading books and chess of course. Carlos was definitely a local master, almost unbeatable number one on the boat.
One of the biggest attractions was visiting Puerto Siles, where after four days on the boat we could eventually feel the earth, buy candies and coca leaves.
Being a kid on a boat like that is totally different to what we know. Here’s what kind of toys Tongo could get.