I don't have a great overall shot of Trinidad, Bolivia, but here are some views of little things that all added up to an unexpected good visit to a city in the Amazon that I would likely never have dreamed of visiting if it had been easy to get to. It's not as difficult as I made it into, but the trip is hard for most even going north east from Bolivia's largest city, Santa Cruz. I did it the really hard way, and, being the only tourist in town for a week or so, had a lovely time sitting back and enjoying the view, sometimes of robins with yellow breasts, sometimes of hippie chickens, sometimes of hidden bluebirds in thick jungle swamp. In all, Trinidad, few people's favourite city, was good to me.
Now, whether this chicken is actually a hippie or not I can't really say. He had so many feathers it just came to me that he probably is.
The centre of the city is cut across many places by rivers large and small and mostly dry in the dry season. But inside the mass of foliage one finds much life.
Somewhere in the weeds I found a dozen turkey sized tropical blue birds, all of them feasting on frogs and stuff. It was nice enough for me to just sit a bit and relax under the shade trees.
It would be much different in the rainy season if I had to cross the wooden bridge, it being pretty rotten, and the fall could lead to a date with anacondas or caymans. One doesn't see then many dogs or cats in the outer areas of the city, still swampy even in the dry season, as I found out while trying to cut across a yard to a road turned out to exist only in the clear logic of my mind.
Later in my travels I met a couple of people who had been to Trinidad, and they said they disliked it much. There is little there for the average tourist, and perhap little more for the average backpacker. But the area has, for me, its attractions, like the view from my hotel room.
Much of the beauty of Bolivia, and particularly of Trinidad, is the unbounded freedom I found there. We Modernists, I think, take our lives as residents of free nations as gospel, thinking we live in free countries of free people.
This is less arguable by the day, of course, but when one is confronted with real personal freedom, as is the case particularly in the Amazon areas of Bolivia, it makes the ugly and petty infantalisation taking place by the moment in the north so glaring that one is tempted to say, "Adios, minder bastards."
The photo above is of a petrol station, if you will, a lady selling gasoline by the
Coke bottle on the street. There is no riot taking place out of sight, it's just one woman making some money selling fuel to the multitude of motorcyclists zooming past, none of them wearing helmets, few having licences from the state confirming to the traffic police that the rider is qualified to ride the bike, and just get the hell out of our lives and let us live. Need gas? Buy gas. What does the government have to do with it? In the streets of Trinidad, not a thing.
That might not make rainbows, but it perks up my life a lot.
Not that the place is perfect. It was simple to find a good meal and a clean room and a nice place for coffee, but there is the problem of making a living, which for the locals is tougher than for the traveller who really has options. To make a go of it in Trinidad one has to hustle hard, resorting to advertising to attract customers from the equally hungry competition. It works for me.
Not that I complain about the State generally. Oft times the State is all that stands between the masses and the masses of other places who would be quite happy to eat the locals were it not for the military.
In this part of the Amazon, those protecting the nation from predatory neighbours, regardless of the style of predation, come out on boats and horseback. This is frontier territory, and the metrosexuals of Modernity in danger of getting their manti-hose in knots would do well to stay home.
I got a cap from the Horseback Military. Yee-haw!
And if anyone were to think that just because Bolivia is a poor nation in the middle of little, I can say I had the pleasure of meeting one of the toughest commando officers in Latin America. The Nazi-style helmet doesn't do the Infantry justice. The man and his men do.
Yes, I definitely like Bolivia, and even the government doesn't totally piss me off, though I can think of many things that shouldn't do that would make the place closer to excellent. But the public health campaigns are as good as one can hope for. Clean water is a serious issue too many don't understand, and if it takes a government campaign to make people a bit more aware, then more government. Grrrr.
I eventually met the Other Tourist, as I write about in the travel book version of this account, and along with the Swiss traveller and the Uruguayan anarcho-terrorist hippies and assorted locals we went to the outskirts of Trinidad and camped out while waiting for a riverboat to take us up the Rio Maromore, as I have posted on previously. Here is a shot of the city of Almacen from which we left for the trip to Guayaramarin.
Previously we have seen cayman skin cover restaurant seats and the locals' interest in dairy products and so on. Mostly, the suburb depends on river barges and freight. This is not so like the boat we were on. This one is pretty, as would be a short visit to Puerto Almacen. Reality, not so nice. You wouldn't want to live in a house like the one below. Though it might be better in the rainy season than the muck where others find somehow some way to survive without a house at all.
In short, Puerto Almacen is not so cool. But it does have it's moments.
More on Trinidad and the river trip to Guayaramarin as I find another wifi connection later.