A few minutes later El Yopal or "Yopalito", as the locals affectionately call the small capital city of one of Colombia's prairie states, is shrinking below us; an accumulation of white buildings, parks, palm-fringed streets and football fields lining torrential Rio Cravo Sur to the city's north.
The river emerges from the Eastern Andes's highlands, flanks the city to one side and branches out into the infinite plains as nutritious lifelines, eventually joining Rio Meta for a trip to the grand Orinoco. The little aircraft's propeller spins eagerly as we fly above wild pastures dotted with fox-tailed palm trees and streaked with gallery forests and rivers. The scenery looks like straight out of a bush adventure.
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