29 October 2007


After spending some time on the road it was nice to arrive in Ipita. For the next few days we would relax, wash my clothes by hand, take bucket showers, and hike around the town in search of new birds.

Chapare would be our constant source of entertainment and frustration while I was here. He's a loveable dog that surprisingly knows fun tricks. He can sit, lie down, shake, roll over (sometimes) and even stay (though for only about a minute). He also is quite the mischief maker. He tried to bring a goat skull into the bedroom multiple times even though he knew he wasn't supposed to and his knack for biting for no reason was a little disturbing. I think he's just a campo dog that needs to get his wildness out. Above is a picture taken of Chapare after he had a nice bath in the mud laguna. Despite his shortcomings, I came to really love Chapare, and I consider him a great companion for Ruppie while she's in Bolivia.

Each day we would wake up, lounge about the room playing the guitar, eat lunch with the family, and then go for an afternoon hike. The Chaco is a really interesting area full of cacti and big trees like the one above. The roads are dusty, the cows are defiant, and the people are very friendly. Everywhere we went there was a chorus of "Emily, Emily! Chapare sit!" All the people in Ipita know Chapare and the kids like to yell English commands to him.

One of the best hikes we did was to the top of the TV antenna tower hill. This place gives you a great view of the whole city. The large plaza is in the center and is mostly devoid of plant life due to Rupp's pigs (or I should say her family's pigs). The large structure near the plaza is the covered basketball court where they have school assemblies. Rupp's counterpart, Pedro, works at the school and he was one of the friendliest men I met while in her site. Really, the whole town of Ipita is quite charming and I'm glad that she's in such a nice place for the next 2 years.

Even though Ipita isn't the most exciting place in the world it was definitely a fun part of my trip. I loved seeing Rupp's site, meeting her family, and just playing with Chapare. I will never forget our breakfast of homemade brownies and strawberry soda (Misky), our night of playing cards and trying to teach Don Richard the rules of speed, and drinking poro on the back porch. Before I left I managed to snap a picture with her host sisters and the neighbor children (above).

If you want to know where to find Ruppie, just swing by the Pension and she should be out back drinking mate and chatting it up with the locals. Oh and that yellow box in front of the restaurant is an ice cream freezer. I think it's very fitting that the ice cream loving girl manages to live at the only place that sells ice cream in town.

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