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Leaving the Serere

Written on: Thursday December 27th, 2007

A journal entry from: Kevin and Julie's RTW

Location: Rurrenabaque, Bolivia 

Author: Julie 

Hola! 

We woke up early this morning for our 8 AM check-in time with Amazonas airlines. On the way out we stopped and picked up our clean clothes. We took the shuttle to the airport only half an hour late which is a lot better than we had expected. We were almost 100% sure that our flight would have been cancelled for the day because of the cloudy skies. At the airport, we checked-in, paid our airport taxes of 14bs prepared to wait. We had noticed that they had loaded two very large batteries on the shuttle. We had joked that they were the batteries for the airplane. On arrival we actually watched them wheel them to the landing strip. The plane was not there yet so we sat down and waited for it. 

An hour later it arrived. The batteries were wheeled out to the plane and left there. Oh boy! We boarded with a few other passengers and I prepared for the same bad, bumpy trip that we had on the way there. Kevin swears he saw them use the batteries to start the plane. Great, it wasn?t a joke after all! We strapped ourselves in and the plane taxied down the runway. We were quickly airborne and before the thick clouds swallowed us I saw Rurre and its brown river below us one last time. The first half of the flight was bumpy but the same as we had before so I relaxed a bit knowing how it would be. But, then that?s when it hit us. We had to fly through one rainstorm after another. I?ve never experienced such bad turbulence in my life. We were bumped left, right, up and down. We were all scared and holding on to our seats white knuckled. One of the passengers was consoling his girlfriend and had untied his seatbelt when we hit a bad patch of turbulence and was ejected out of his seat and banged his head on the ceiling. Luckily, he wasn?t injured and was able to laugh it off. It was the longest thirty minutes of our lives. Looking down during a short break of smooth flying, I looked out of my window and in between cloud breaks I could see the top of snow capped mountains only a couple thousand feet below. The flight had us fly from Rurre at sea-level to La Paz at 4000 meters, which required the pilots to fly up and over the chain of mountains that surrounded La Paz, in a rainstorm. When we landed and walk out of the plane, all of us had shaky legs. Mark said he could see the pilots wiping their foreheads as they flew from one thunder cloud to another. I can?t believe they actually attempt this flight six times a day. I swear I will never get on another plane that has propellers or has seating for less than a minimum of 100 people. I?m going to fly big or I?m going to stay home. 

Once our nerves had calmed down and our hands had stopped shaking, we collected our bags and took a taxi back to Hotel Naira where we had stayed previously. I wanted to check in at Arty?s but they were still closed for the holiday season. Our room had a nice comfortable bed, lots of blankets and a TV with all the movie channels. We would be spending the next few days relaxing in La Paz and getting ready for the next leg of our trip.  

 

From Lynda G Martin on Jan 13th, 2008

Wow Julie and Kevin both of you are rocking cool. Your aunt is very proud of you both ..Love you