Thursday, July 30, 2015

Amazon Bound

We are finishing up our month in Peru and Ecuador ~ we are jungle-bound, 
and just getting there is an adventure in itself.

We are flying from Cuzco, and we land in the little airport in Puerto Maldonano, where the luggage is pushed by hand through the window.

It's hot.  And it's humid.  We are instantly sweltering. 

As we step outside, there are several modes of transportation, 
and I wonder which will be ours??


Or maybe this?

Or these?

No, what a relief, it's this one.  The Jag.  The one with air conditioning and actual windows and doors.

It's our last bit of coolness for days to come.  

We are just a short distance from our "base" camp, where we will stow our luggage.  

Because part of  the journey is by long-boat, we are only allowed to take a back-pack to camp;  (I'm so thankful that I've hauled mine around for the last four weeks ~ to seven cities in two different countries!); or they supply big canvas duffel bags.
Mr. C must have forgotten to tell me that part.

It's all open-air concept ~ and did I mention how hot and humid it is???   Being so sticky makes changing into "jungle clothes"  (complete with layers of  sun screen and bug spray) all the more difficult; then it's back into the van and we're off.

They hand out a snack for the first leg of the journey in these cool little baskets.

It's fried plantain chips, glazed Brazil nuts, and a banana.

We make our way on this dirt road for the next hour or two; 
it's all looking pretty primitive.  

This whole complex, we are told, is composed of squatters.  The government owned the land, and when they cleared the rain forest here, this whole bunch of squatters got together, banded together, and just moved in.  We were told that the officials backed off from trying to throw them out ~ after they were met with strong resistance ~ which included machetes!

We pass by mile after mile of papaya groves.   

And we admire the hard work of the papaya pickers.  Have I mentioned how friggin'  hot and humid it is out there right now?!?

We see mother's doing their laundry and bathing their children in the muddy rivers. We see people going about their daily lives.

The road narrows; and then narrows again;

Till, finally, we are down to a dirt path.

And at last we arrive at the river "base" camp.

Where there's water and toilets, at least.

After allowing a few minutes for supplies and what little "luggage" we are not lugging ourselves to be unloaded, we make our way to the dock.

Hmmmm.......I wonder why Mr. C is carrying two backpacks....

And now we load into our long-boat for a couple of hours ride up-river to the lodge.  These things are tipsy, by the way.  Really tipsy.

It's first-class service, though, because lunch is included on this river cruise ~ and it's all wrapped up neatly in a banana leaf, which looks like this.  
I think it's terribly clever.  No dishes to wash or throw away.  
Can't get much "greener" than a banana leaf.

It's delicious fried rice with veggies.

 And nobody is turning it down.

Almost immediately we are seeing wild creatures along the river banks.  We spot this white caiman (a species of crocodile) within minutes.  
He looks like he's posing for us, don't you think?  
I guess they'll be no swimming for me.

We read about the butterflies who drink the tears of these turtles..... but I didn't expect to see them ~ evidently they are attracted to the tears of the turtles because sodium is a mineral that is scant in the western Amazon.   Sure enough, Turtle #1 on the right is hosting a butterfly or two, even as we pass by.

And we're finally here!

Just up these stairs.  Somebody said there was 167 of them.  
Maybe it was 67.  Felt like 167 in the heat.....

And down the jungle path. 

Across the slatted bridges 

Up some more stairs

And at last we arrive at the Posada Amazonas Lodge.  
I'm excited about the nice cool towels and cool beverage that they're offering.

I'd be more excited about some air conditioning.  

But there's no time to waste worrying about it.  We have to unpack our back-packs, attend an orientation, don our rubber boots, 
and head off into the jungle for our first excursion.  

It looks to be a very full 1st day in the Jungle.

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