233891

#73112

C Porche
Participant

Travelling to and from Bolivia and Ecuador for an Office of Inspector General review of counter narcotics programs implemented in the region has been without compare . I had the opportunity to see parts of the countries that included tropical rainforest ( I have seen a tapir on a bamboo pole for some’s dinner near Las Esmareldas, Ecuador), the beautiful beaches of Manta, Ecuador, the coca markets of La Paz ( the leaf: the true funk can not be described) and the confiscated bricks at the police museum. We observed the photos of all the original and not so orignal ways folks tried to smuggle illegal narcotics over. Travelling was exciting and dramatic, the ride in a cargo plane through the Yungas in the air ( Bolivia), sitting as a passenger traversing the most dangerous roads to inspect the coca fields terraced along side the mountains and in helicopter (with open windows and not so secure seatbelts). The fields were to be subject to eradication. We spent our off day on the equator at the middle of the world( the natives were more accurate than the European experts in picking out the lines so years later accounting for their computational error the Mayans were closer on point). One can see their ancient markers from the restaurant dotting the terrain. I will never forget riding in a small plane and landing in a field- looking down on the descent asking where is the strip and the pilot telling me ( I was wearing an oxygen mask for the unpressurized plane) we will land near the red bulls eye on a green field. When we departed we needed to leave the back open to get enuf lift to depart from the wild wild west of Ecuador. I can not forget the helicopter rides to survey the detected fields and the back of the Amazon Basin in Bolivia which looked like something from land of the lost. Any moment one could imagine a long necked dinosaur rising slowly out of the water. Lake Titicaca was intriguing. The altitude was not easy to adjust to. The fish ribs were great in Cochebamba, Bolivia but the landscape was tremendous. I also ran into Bolivian President Banzer at the Bolivian arts and craft conference on site on the day before I departed. This was 16 days in the field.