Wednesday, May 30, 2007

That Cow Just Hit Our Car

Last week my boss, el Dr. Pepe Salinas, came to El Palmar for a site visit. He came with two of my favorites, Dave-bones and Mark. They arrived wednesday afternoon and brought with them our long-waited for fish nets for the tanks in Salital-Campo Verde. Needless to say, I was excited. Since it has been so cold down here recently, we have been unable to receive our fish from Santa Cruz. Too dangerous to ship them. They´ll get sick and die we are told. So, turning in the nets at least gave us some small victory in this very drawn out project that is now almost completely out of our hands. Anyways, we cruised around and turned in a number of nets, checked out our now totally ready tanks and were happy.
That night we went left for Yacuiba to eat a good steak and head to Agua Blanca and the Chaco Humedo for some other site visits. Early Thursday morning we were on the road. We had to make the highway to Carapari by 730 am before it closed and we got a latish start.
At around 650 something in the am, we were hauling ass down the road when, whoops! here comes a herd of cows! They very suddenly decided to make their way across the road. What to do? Coming in the opposite direction was another car so that escape was closed to us. To the right, the cow herder was standing on the shoulder. So, unless we wanted to kill the man, that route was not an option. Pepe slammed on the breaks, but it was of no use. It was apparent that we were going to hit these cows. Everyone in the Land Cruiser was quiet. We just sort of sat there, numb, apparently not phased by what was sure to be a nasty impact. Pepe, however, saved the day. He swung the car and tried to split in between two cows of the herd, and ended up only clipping one of them with the left side of the grill guard. The cow flipped and spun around in what probably looked like something out of a Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote chase scene and ended up on his side in the middle of the road, collapsed in a cartoonish heap. We kept driving, wanting to avoid all potential conflict with the owner or the cops, but the hood of the car was all bent in and we had to pull over.
We were able to drive the car back to Yacuiba for some basic repairs and on the way back we noticed that the cow we hit was standing on the side of the road with a bloody hip, the owner and the rest of the herd were nowhere in sight.
It did not die. We hit it going probably 50 miles per hour and it did not die. Still, I am sure that he was put down later that day in what was probably a fantastic cookout.
I wish I had a picture to share with ya´ll, but oh well.
We hit a cow. Or, a cow hit us. The most shocking part of this was how little reaction it got out of us. I feel like I have been completely Boliviafied if something like this didn´t even make my stomach flutter. Good? Bad? I don´t know.

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