Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Round 4 - Amazon part 1

The Amazon Jungle was probably the most surprising part of our trip. We knew that Machu Pichu would be amazing and we knew the beach would feel great, but I don't think we were prepared for the life we would see in the Amazon Jungle. The minute we stepped off the plane we knew we were in a very unique place. It was humid and refreshing at the same time. We spent our first night in Iquitos, which was this lively town full of Mototaxi's and people. As we were driving into town, a downpour soaked our bags and our bodies and I loved every minute of it. We stayed in a backpacker hostel for one night and also celebrated my 30th in Iquitos. We found good company in a french guy who had been travelling for several months. Good drink, food and live music. Good stuff.

The next morning, our guide picked us up at our hostel. We ended up riding up river about 45 minutes to a refuge. Our time their would include lodging, food, nature walks, etc. Below is a picture of our mosquito free hut with a toilet(no door though)!

As soon as we put our bags down, we ate and were on our way to our first nature walk. There was so much to see. I warned our guide that the one thing that I was afraid of was tarantula's. On our first walk out, he stops and says, "I don't want to you to worry..... Don't look over there." After he said, don't worry, I thought for sure the the tarantula was on my back. It wasn't. It was over on a tree and I actually got pretty close to take a picture. It had a friend about 4 feet lower on the same tree. One picture was enough for me.It seemed like everywhere we went, there was something amazing and picture worthy. I found myself thinking about how we were in such a small area and how huge the the Amazon Basin really is. Just in a few square feet there were several types of life and to think about all the life that was existing(and still is existing) in the entire Amazon Basin was just overwhelming.
Louis (our guide in the picture below) took us to the Yagua Village. Most of these folks spoke very little Spanish and had their own language. There have been articles about undiscovered tribes and I can confidently say that this indigenous tribe was not one of those. They seemed to have a relationship with our jungle lodge and had charms and crafts ready for us to purchase. They were so nice, especially the males. The Second male in charge said that if Heather and I moved to the village that we would be "well-nourished". He was very flirtatious. We later learned that polygamy was common in the villages. I have some other photos of the women in this village. I wish I could say that they seemed as happy as the males, but their faces told a different story.

When we weren't eating or trekking, we passed time with card playing. The locals taught Heather a new game and we played that for the rest of the trip. Even more entertaining was a puppy called fastidio. This is translated as 'annoying'. This little puppy was a bit of a whiner, but we never saw any of that. Probably because anytime he came near us, we spoiled him by holding him and kissing him. He was SO SWEET!!
Jungle lodge by Candlelight. There was no power.

When people ask me what my favorite part of the trip was, I think it was probably when I held the three toed sloth. It was so heavy... and slow... and noisy in a cute kind of way..... I couldn't get enough of this guy. They put him down and he made a run for it. It took him about 4 minutes to get 7 feet. I wish I had video of him, and maybe I'll find some online. He was great.
Sophisticated fishing techniques. You have to tap the surface to attract the fish our guide said. Then, pull really fast when you feel a bite. Our captain nearly caught one, but for the most part we were completely unsuccessful. I enjoyed it anyways.
The following video clip was from one of our canoe excursions. Actually it was our first excursion and Heather and I were really excited to be there.

The clouds were amazing.

Too much for one blog. More to come.

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