Tuesday, 31 July 2012

week 2 of pumas

So a wee bit more detail on what I'm doing day to day. 

First of all if you wanna find out about the place itself here is the website:


So I'm working with two cats, Luna in the morning and Leeshu in the afternoons. Luna is a 2 year old bi-polar nut bar that rugby tacles any gringo at every opertunity. She's cool, but her mood swings kind of anoy me. Leeshu is a 6 year old dude who knows esactly what he wants and doesn't beat round the bush (no pun intended!). He's massive, about 15kgs more than Luna and 58kgs total. That may not seem like much, but trust me, it's pure muscle! if you give them 2 metres running space they're pretty much gaurenteed to take you to the ground. So its kind of the same routine for all the cats, you walk over to their cage (about 20 minutes walk from camp) and see them at the fence. We spend about half ah hour stroking and petting them through the fence and they pur really loudly! Then when they're good and ready they let you know they want out and you walk into the cage to stap on the rope to their collar. Then you walk them out and keep a keen eye on them while they walk around their designated trails. Depending on their mood, which varys on loads of things, they will either walk, stalk, run, sleep, sulk, complain or jump you. When it rains, leeshu can't be arsed to walk so he just chills in his cage. However Luna loves the rain and she goes ape shit at the gringos walking her and jumps them even more than usual! 

When they jump, they go soft as they're only playing. They keep their claws in and only bite softly. That being said, they often forget that we're not toys so we have to try and stop them from jumping as much as possible as it encourages bad behavour. Also, sometimes they accidently hurt the gringos, so for example my first day walking leeshu he jumped me. Now Lesshu doesn't jump people that often so he's not used to doing it in a way that doesn't hurt the gringos. So when he jumped me his non retractble claw (the forth claw) accidently got stuck into my hand and natural instinct took over so he got frustrated and started scratching at my arm. I only got minor cuts and hopefully I'll end up with some cool scars to show :-)

We get every tuesday off so we usually head to town on a monday night (by hitch) and get drunk on the cheap. We drink this stuff called potable (translates to drinkable) which is 96% alcohol, usually mixed with coke (I should say at this point that we mix it with cola - I am in bolivia after all!). And on that subject it's legal over here to chew on coca leaves so all the bolivians (and a couple of people at the camp) are always stuffing wads of leaves into their mouth so everyone has green teeth! At the camp we currently have 5 gringos, me, Dave (my portarican cat partner) molly, gareth and Nat. there was an isreally guy but he had to leave as he was really ill and a handfull of europeans who left after their schedueled time. There's also a familly who lives here and runs the camp, Carabea, dimetreo and their two daughters. Carabea is a lovely woman who is a devote christian and has a great heart. Dimetreo is about 20 years younger, loves getting drunk and whenever he gets pissed off with his daughters he shouts "PUTA!!!" (Spanish equivelant of cunt) at top volume. It's hillarius to hear from the other side of the camp! 

Errrr, not too sure what to write about other than that. The camp, although basic and over run with mosquitos, is amazing fun and has a great crowd of people staying there. Working with the pumas is cool, but if I'mbeing really honest with myself I'm not really here 'to make a difference' I'm here because I'm sick the travel part of travelling and to save money. Don't get me wrong, I support the cause and respect the animals but there are some proper die hard volunteers here who are lifers and really passionate about the cause. Fair balls to them. 

Patable has kicked in and I'm pissed. Off to get some meat (it's veg only at camp) at this cracking resteraunt. 4 pounds for a delicious suculant steak with all the trimmings. Can't be bad!


Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Working with Pumas

Fuck me, for the first time since my first week of travelling my blog is up to date! Granted I've cheated and just put in the main points but I'm wary that its reaching the end of my trip so people are probably bored of reading this!

So when I bought the ticket from La Paz tp Rurunbaque they told me it would take 12 hours. It took 31. Seriously. Land slide and a crashed truck carrying livestock both blocking the road. The curse of bolivia continued!

Headed to the camp and on my first day of working with the pumas I've got a meaty scar on my hand from where the big bastard accidently got his non retractable claw stuck in my palm. Pretty scary at the time but he was only playing and didn't mean to hurt me... I hope!

Went out last night with the guys from the camp and got pretty drunk. Great crowd here, I'm loving it. And its so nice to do something other than sitting on a bus or site seeing!

Right, gotta hang over to nurse.

Peace out.

La Paz

Checked into the wild rover in La Paz and did what every brit there does, got pissed all day! Stopped into Loki for a bit to catch up with these Aussie girls from Florianopolis. They were working there so got me some cheap drinks :-)

Got stiched up with my bus journey to the Puma Camp I'm at and ended up having to spend an extra day there. Worked out OK as it meant I did the Death Road bike tour. Shite weather though so the views were't too spectacular but still had an awsome day. Nearly came off my bike when I was booking it down a gravil section but managed to keep it shiny side up.... just!


Kicked back in salta for a few days and mainly just walked around the city. Nice place but only if you're there with your girlfriend/wife/family. Looked into doing voluteer work there but decided I didn't want to work in an orphanage so opted to head to this place I'm at instead.....

Sammi Patta

By this stage my spanih was getting ok, I could hold up a conversation with the locals in Gringlish (gringo english) by piecing together the few words I knew and I was starting to enjoy speaking the lingo. Still wasn't enjoying Bolivia though as the burger continued to haunt me.

Then took the most horrific over night bus journey ever to get to Salta. Bad times!

Santa Cruz (Bolivia)

Off the back of the most horrific bus journey arrived in Santa Cruz and checked into the hotel. Went out for a night on the raz with a finish guy called Antti who writes sexy storys for pornos for a living (really interestng guy) and a french couple and got hammered. Ate a dodgey burger from a street vender and spent the next 4 days with food poisining! 


Bought a Samsung Galaxy for a pretty cheap price at the border town then headed to the capital, asuncion. Highlight was wathing the world cup final and at half time getting interviewed for paraguay national TV on what I thought of the game. Managed to use a couple of spanish words so that I didn't look like a total gringo!


There's nothing really I can say to do Iguazu justice, check out my pics on Facebook as I took some really great ones. Amazing place and the best thing I've seen in South America. Standing on the walkway over the devils throat was like being on another planet!


I managed to get into Brazil without getting my passport stamped so I was worried about the flight from Floro to Rio. Worked out fine in the end, they didn't even check my passport.

Went to see Promethuis in 3D the first night which was pretty good. Second night I went out to a bar which had 20 pound entry then unlimited bottles of bud and sex on the beach coctails. Met an awsome girl called Flavia who was studying tourism and spoke really good english. Spent the next 3 days hanging out with her at the beach, visiting christ the redeemer and going to a few markets. 


I spent like 2 weeks in Floro and loved it. I was staying at this sweet ass hostel that had a sister hostel just down the road. Most days I spent either hungover watching football or getting smashed. I went sand boarding a couple of times too but pretty much that's all I did.

The most epic night was when we took the Party bus, which was a converted bus out of the simpsons which as pimped with disco lights and bloody load music, to Pasha. Seriously good night, kind of got a little too hammered and ended up having a weird conversation with the bouncers and this dutch guy about the fact that I'd broken his wine bottle, which I'm pretty sure I didn't, then someho made it back to the hostel. I was woken up at 3pm the next day by the hostel staff asking if I was going to stay another night! It was the best party night of South america and I had a 2 day hangover to offset all that fun!

There was an Aussie guy there who was the king of BBQ´s who showed us how to make the best damn BBQ`d steak and BBQ´d chicken I've ever had. I can't really convey in words how nice it was! He then made a couple more BBQ's and I spent most nights getting pissed on Caprahinas.

Good times.

The final final nail in the coffin

On the journey back to Tacerembo from the Gaucho ranch there was already a wee bit of tension between me and Kate. The plan was to hitch hike to this town in the north west of uruaguay (can't remember what it was called) and from there hitch to Argentina then go our seperate ways. We loosely planned to meet in Bolivia once I´d been to Iguazu and Paraguay but nothing was set in stone. So anyway, we got a lift from the ranch owner back to town to take money out to pay him but on the way there saw about 4 cars going the direction we needed to go so we figured hitching was going to be nion impossible. We checked into the same hostel run by that nice old man again and had a rather awkward conversation about wether we were going to get married and live in Canada or England with the guy. I guesse it was easier to just lie to him and tell him canada as we were sleeping in the same room and it was a pretty christian house (there was a copy of the bible next to our bed!). Now I needed to skype my mum to wish her a happy birthday so I borrowed Kates Ipod touch while she went back to the hostel. After a quick chat with the mother unit I spent about an hour checking out options of wether or not to go to brazil or to go to Iguazu but in the end I decided to stick with the plan Kate and I had made and I headed back to the hostel. And that's when the shit hit the fan. I walked in and I could see she was in a foul mood. I didn't realise at first, but she'd been on the wine so was a little fiesty and very moody. conversation pretty much went like this:

Kate: Can you put my ipod on charge please?
Pete: Ok, where's the charger?
Kate: Dunno
Pete: I can't find it in your bag
Kate: Well look harder
Pete: Ok, you find it then
Kate: Why do you have to be such a fucking dick all the time?!?!

And so it went on. It got more and more heated and dispite my best efforts to de escalate it she was determined to turn it into a full scale arguement. So I took a walk back to the bus station to ask about tickets to Brazil and there were busses running to the border town pretty regularly all evening. I then went for some food and a beer before going back to grab my stuff. I figured I'd make one more effort to resolve things with kate when I got into the room but she continued to hurl abuse at me so I said fuck this, I'm going and off I went to the bus station. And that was the end of that. Since then we've sent a couple of messages to each other but pretty much agreed that we weren't suited to travel together. A shame really, when I think of all the great times we shared but ultimately we were both had too big a personalitys for each other.


Spent 5 days on a gaucho rnch in Northern Uruguay. Best thing I did in South america. Really great owners, great food and great fun riding a horse around all day chasing sheep and cows.

Fell off the horse at one point and the first thing I said to Kate when she asked if I was ok was "yeah, superman´s a pussy!" (Christoper Reeve)