In the Jungle

Trip Start Apr 23, 2005
Trip End Mar 31, 2006

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

After a day recovering from the Inca trail and celebrating in Cusco, we jumped on a flight to the final destination of the packaged tour - The Amazon basin. I managed to scrounge a window seat and watched as the arid mountains around Cusco gave way to the forest covered peaks like those around Machupichu and then slowly diminish into the humid steamy fog of the Amazon rainforest. I was expecting to see an uninhibited frenzy of green all the way to the horizon, but there was so much moisture in the air, I couldn't see a thing.

We landed, disembarked and walked straight into that wall of humidity. This place is hot and wet! A small bus took us to a drop off point for our luggage and then onto the river where a long thin boat was taking us to our jungle lodge. Most of the scenery had been very agricultural up to that point, so our first contact with wild-life was a bit of a shock. Adam and I were walking down the steps to the small pier when we heard some rustling and a strange shrieking noise from the bushes beside the path. We pulled back the leaves and saw something moving. There was fur and some sort of scaly surface moving around about 20cms from our hands. A frog maybe, but that wouldn't explain the fur. Oh Shit!!!!! I think I yelled as I recoiled from what was now obviously a snake, halfway through eating a small rodent. Having not lived in Australia for 3 years, I wasn't used to them, but that was no excuse and I suffered all the deserved humiliation for my cowardly behavior.

We got onto the boat and headed up the river taking in the scenery on the way, like this boat, similar to the one we were in, but loaded to its gunnels with bananas:

We got out of the boat and after a short walk through the jungle, we arrived at the most amazing lodge. This place was built entirely from wood with raised walkways connecting all the buildings. The rooms were beautiful with one wall opening straight onto the surrounding rainforest. The main building had a resaurant and bar and everything was lit with Kerosene lamps by night. Would have made a very romantic getaway (had the rooms not had such bad privacy). We stowed all our stuff and headed out into the jungle where they had set up a large tower that we could climb up into the canopy with:

A nice dinner and then an earlyish night as we had to get up very early the next morning to visit a lake. I still don't like those really early starts, but sometimes they are definately worth it. This morning we were on the river before dawn and could watch the light slowly grow around us, giving an unreal, almost spooky feel to the place. This picture almost catches the scene:

We got to the lake and were rowed around on a large floating platform which allowed us to see some of the birdlife and go fishing for Piranha. Yup - that's right! Time to get our own back on those flesh eating little buggers. Here's a particularly large one which we took back to the lodge and got the kitchen to cook it up for us (nice fish - very tasty, white meat.

We were supposed to see river otters, but they weren't playing the game that day, so we headed back and spent the rest of the day relaxing at the lodge, followed by a raucous last night of drinking at the lodge.

This was the last night of the tour. Next day we headed back to Lima, via Cusco and said our goodbyes. Glenn and I stayed one more night in Lima before he headed back to Australia. It was hard to say goodbye to Glenn. As much as I have travelled alone, I enjoyed myself a lot more having my partner in crime around. I considered packing up and heading back to London early, but then got over myself and headed up to Huaraz where I wanted to do some trekking and climbing in the Corderilla blanca.
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