Day 16 – Snake ahead

In all the years that I have lived in Bolivia, during all my excursions into the jungle – on all that occasions I didn´t see a snake…not once. Not until my last week in Bolivia. Unfortunately, this close encounter ended tragically – for the snake.

According to an unwritten law of  nature, I didn´t see a snake when walking with my camera on hand. The closest that I ever got to taking a picture of a snake in liberty was during a workshop in Rurrenabaque, Bolivia in 2009. Some colleagues and I were trying to fulfill the hard task of destroying a few beers in the evening, when suddenly another one of us entered the room, crying “vibora vibora”. Unfortunately for the snakes, all of them are being qualified as vipers, as none is able to distinguish the poisonous from the harmless ones. And so, even before I shouted “Where? Where?”, mounting a powerful telezoom on my camera (a gentleman keeps a respectful distance to the lady) at the same time, the snake had been cut by the employees of the hotel into small, sushi-fit pieces. The locals learn as kids how to use a machete – and one of the first lessons must be how to end the miserable life of a viper.

Once I tried to find an anaconda in the Bolivian pampas. We even separated us with the guides to search a bigger area – nothing. This day I learned that “put put” may work with a chicken, but it just doesn´t do it with snakes. Of course I´m aware that it wasn´t exactly a scientific approach, but hey, it was worth a shot.

 Even in the jungle every branch stayed what it was – a branch. And exactly that was the reason for the unnecessary and violent death of the titular snake.

It is as follows: If you take branches for snakes several times, it might happen that you´ll take a snake for a branch finally.  So meanwhile the branch in front of me understood its dangerous position and tried to get out of harm’s way (unfortunately crossing the road), my brain needed a few moments no analyze this new information. And it needed a moment more to convert the black branch into a black, panic-stricken snake. But unfortunately, one additional moment converted the question “Is this a snake?” into “Was this a snake?”. I tried an evasive maneuver, but driving with 80 km/h on a narrow, unpaved road, you just mustn´t move the steering wheel too much.

Now, I may be able to say that I saw a snake in liberty in Bolivia, but I´m not really proud about the final result of this encounter.

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