Day 11 : Copal Urco (Amazon), Peru

The Amazon River from yet another scary plane ride. We swear we landed right into the Jewel of the Nile movie.... 4 days in the Amazon, a first for both of us

The Amazon.  Ok, We had to abandon our ambitious plans of embarking on the first guests ever - "Virgin Jungle" (or Yungle) trek. It is closed down at the moment.  The weather is a little moody there right now and they couldn't guarantee us 6 days. Puddle jumper planes are only leaving bi-weekly and can't fly out so we'd have to take the slow boat to China  to some way off town even further out ---  and who knows when we would have gotten back. Not to mention giant river whirlpools have been sucking in small boats. Hmmm, a little too  "Jewel of the Nile" for our wee 3 week trip.  We have a beach to hit soon that nothing can keep us from after that Inca Trail  hike! When we landed  in Iquitos - hahaha we swear we landed right into the Jewel of the Nile movie.... 4 days in the Amazon, a first for both of us - this is going to be fun. 

Got off our plane and saw this ... we all know Brian has an "eye for value" - but good god man.



We landed in Iquitos on Dec 20th. Iquitos is called "Peru's Gateway to the Amazon". The Amazon basin begins there and connects to a plethora of other rivers. The basin so large it holds boats the size of tankers.   We started our journey cutting through a small market on the shore on our way to the "marina".  Fresh foods were cooking. Venders were selling last minute items for the journey. And Local residents were talking and playing music. It was so fast we wish we had more time to try some things but it boat was leaving not long after we arrived. 

The locals Street market at the edge of the Harbor. It is at the Base of the Amazon River. LOts of fish, fresh fruit and food stalls.
One of the Food vendor at the street market making fresh grilled fishies.
The kidding. Its huge right?! No roads, so We had to take a boat to our lodge , apx 2 1/2 hours up into an Amazon tributary.

We took a long boat down one of the Amazon's offshoots - the Moman River. After 45 min to an hour we hit our lodge. (The Amazon Rainforest Lodge). We had to share the place with a family and 2 German guys for only a day and a half, but after that we had it all to our selves. Just when you thought you had seen it all......We walked by torch light to our hut...and saw a monkey swinging in front of one of the windows... thought we were seeing things. This was just the start. The lodge has 3 resident macaws, 3 parrots, 4 monkeys (monkeys 1, 2, 3 and Michael Jackson), and one very large tarantula that resides in the rafters of the dining lodge. FREEEEAKY!! We also had a huge rat-squirrel in our room (now we know what Bucket feels like every night before he goes to bed. A 6" long varmint running across the room and scratching in the corner to get out...then back in). Definitely part rat - part squirrel.

The Amazon Basin. As we boated along at a pretty good clip we passed some Locals. It takes them days without a motor to get to market with the things they can sell at the Belan Market. Coal, bananas, black market parrots and monkeys.... whatever they can sell. They just float all the way there
The Lodge's parking lot. Due to the low season we pretty much have the place to ourselves. Just us and 2 guys from Germany who are here for 2 day. Guess its just us again!
Our room. Cold showers only- which is ok, its 98 all the time here. The ledge around the perimeter is where the rat squirrel was - yeeks! We walked intot he room and there it was - eating our bread.
Our Lodge Entrance. The Amazon Rainforest Lodge. The water levels can rise as far up to the platform above. Obviously we are here in the low season. Low water - low attendance.
Good old #9. #9 is new. There is a generator for power that runs only 2 hours a day - and that is from sundown, until 9pm. then light out and its all candles. The water levels can rise this far from the river so there are elavated sidewalks everywhere.
Some of the residents. These 2 were like the mob bosses of the place. they ran off the little green ones all time.
The wiseguy Henchmans. Total trouble. Whistled at girls, messed with the monkeys...spoke spanish of course
This guy, his name is Hector, comes into the dining hut every morning. You can head the screen door open, then slam. Then he climbs up the side of your chair and steels food off your plate. He likes Ham - a lot.

 We woke up day 2 to what sounded like a propeller plane....but was just a GIANT bug. We took a "QUICK"  7 hour hike through the rubber boots, with a machete and local guide with rifle (FloydLoyd style). We had no idea what we were in for. We ate things...many things. We saw wild birds, frogs, spiders, butterflies, lizards and more monkeys. No big things; although we heard one phrase more often than we cared to..."Very dangerous, poison"... about bugs, plants, trees and snakes.  One of the German guys fell into a huge snake hole up to his waist... it even freaked the guide out. He jumped so fast to help him out. We still have no idea of there was a snake in there or not. Anyway, we Learned something new: if you fall into a hole...and flies come out... guess that's a snake hole. Ump -Don't see that every day. Amazing what you'll go through to find a Blood Orchid to bring home to Geoff. (By the way, "Anaconda" was filmed just down river from our lodge Geoff).


Moorish of the Jungle - as Brian sang all day. This is just before we headed out on a junge trek for like 5 hours.
A giant termite nest. Yeeks. If you eat them (which we did) they taste like menthol. Just like a menthol cough drop and they are Used to treat asthma in the Jungle.
Our Local Guide. Uhhhh....someone want to clue us in on what the gun is for? (Floyd Loyd style on the weekends)
We found out you can eat almost anything in the jungle... Ice Cream Beans...yum. 4' long, sweet and actually melt in your mouth.The guy ont he middle s our lodge guide. The 2 other guys are Das Germans.
Um, I believe I ordered the loin cloth with this move...
Chillin, because there isn't anything else to do after that experince - which is just fne. There is a platform of hammoks in the center of the property, so after the hike we we just watched the workers and ate papaya and drank beer.

After day 2 we had the place to ourselves. On our downtime we just hung out, played lots of ping pong, explored the property, played with the resident monkeys and hoped for a swim in the pool.   Seeing it was just us staying there,  the entertainment options were left up to us.  So, we are eating breakfast one morning and Daniel, our Guide, says, "What do you guys want to do today ? Usually we go bird watching , If you haven't decided yet, I need to run an errand for the workers if you want to come with me"   The errand-  a moonshine's bird watching or moonshine - we chose well. The moonshine operation is deep in the bowels of the jungle which was pretty shady haha.   We both got to try a little taster and thought we'd need a tetanus shot after. Un-believable that whole process. This guy looked like a Peruvian Frankenstein.  On the walk into the Jungle we hd to pass through an Indigenous rainforest Village. That was pretty cool. We also went to visit a buddy of his down the river to deliver some sugarcane and  (you guessed it, Moonshine). Then Daniel says "Oh you'll love his pets". Oh geez - can't wait. 

Our nightly ritual: Dinner, hours of ping pong where brian Kicked my butt and lounging on the deck with Cervesas until bedtime.
One of the resident monkeys. This is actually a sweet picture Brian!
Me and Charlie, the baby, having a little fresh pineapple juice. Charlie loves hanging out on everyone.
Partying at the "bar". Us and the "bartender" - who told us, "here just use this pad and jot down what you drink for the next few days - i'll ring you up when you leave." And he left....
Hahaha this is the pool we were hoping to hang out in. Check out the color. So we were laughing about it, sitting on the edge, deciding whether or not to dive in... because its like Lampoons Vacation up in here. All of a sudden we saw something pop up....
ERRAND #1: back jungle moonshine run.
Little Amazon cuties
So Kermie here popped up and scared the crap out of us ...Just like the trash compactor scene out of Star Wars. "What the hell just moved? I think I saw eyes". It actually doesn't look nearly as big in the picture but it was HUGE.
..and THIS is Peruvian Frankenstein cooking up a little moonshine in the middle of nowhere. We did not see this on the tour brochure.
Chief let Bri try his blow dart...his dart hit right above the Chief's too. Now I know if we get stranded in the jungle and A Jajuar wants to play darts Brian can hold his own.
Giant and Giantess with Amazon Tribe of Wee people. This is one of the options yo get to do at the Lodge. It was cool seeing we were te only ones there besides them.
Daniel's buddie's house so we could deliver the hootch and see his "pets".
Sloths are officially the craziest animal on the planet. ther are light as a feather and are super dense feeling, like a sand bag....but light. And they move veeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry slllloooowwwwwwwly
As close as he gets. He hates snakes!!!!!
Yeeeeeeeee.. One of his "pets". Seriously man, you have Sloths? Besides them being freakishly cute - why?
What the... ?Didn't think I'd hold an anaconda today except I couldn't hold it alone. It was so heavy and its one giant muscle when the body moved it takes all your strength to even hold onto it.

Next, fishing for Piranha for dinner. Nice quiet trip down the river..Don't think so. After a rusty, gutty worm filled hook through Marisha's toe, the guide thought it better to visit some buddies in a neighboring village to make use of their private lagoon. Some call it a pool, shower, laundry...some call it a lagoon. No piranhas, but some yummy fish after all. Dinner is served. There are several stories we left out, but will explain when you see the pictures. Enjoy. We did. We're still laughing about the whole experience!

Bri, fishing for Piranha - right before I took the rusty fish hook in the toe. Meanwhile, back at the Lodge, I am franticaly scrubbing my toe with alcohol pads and eating fistfulls of Cipro hoping to God the Tetnus and hepatitus shots I just got weren't from a bad batch.
Yum. Fish dinner and Plantains with every meal. Our favorite. Officially addicted. First the Cocoa leaves, then this.....
No luck on the Piranna, but we did catch a barking fish - which we so wish we got a video of. So we took to fishing in the neighbor's lagoon where Brian did catch dinner.
The giant Tarantula that resides in the rafters of the dining hut. Seriously Yikes. It was HUGE! (look hard and thats WITHOUT a zoom). It is also about 20' up. Just got itchy writing this.

Those few days were a very cool experience. On our way back to Iquitos the boat docked at the village of an Indigenous tribe. A little theatrical at first - but once we started just wandering around they interacted with us instead of trying to perform for us. Much better and way less awkward. 

The Borias Tribe. One the last original Amazon tribes. It is the only "hole-less" tribe with No piercings. The Bora are an indigenous tribe of the Peruvian Amazon.  The Bora speak a Witotan language and comprise approximately 2,000 people. The Bora have an elaborate knowledge of the plant life of the surrounding rainforest. Bows and arrows are the main weapons of the Bora culture used in person to person conflict. The Bora are very divided and politically unorganized.

Real Jaguar pelt. The little boy is sittting on a drumb used to call other tribes (or yaguar pelt)
Aview of the maruina coming back into town. Back to the harbor and into Iquitos.

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