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.
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.
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.
Freaky Amazonian Turkeys
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 rainforest...in 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).
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 run...it'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.
Charlie the resident monkey
Charlie gets physical
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!
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.