Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Welcome to the Jungle!

August 27, 2012

The next morning, we get up pretty early and head down for a continental breakfast and get ready to meet Mark and Dane to get to the airport. Mark and Dane are two American tourists whom we meet during the trail and they happen to be doing the same trip we are. We pile into the van and chat up our driver and learn the colours in Spanish... azul--like the sky. Rojo like the matador's blanket. Verde like the rainforest we're going to see. Blanco like the snow capped glacier mountains. Negro like the fertile soils. And amarillo like the Inca Cola of my previous day's lunch.

The trip is short and when we arrive, I anticipate humidity and heat--there is little of either. The airport is small and we find our check point person and pile into a Winnebago and start on our trip to the lodge. Our first stop was at the gate of the airport as we see two people zipping by, to make a U-y and one of them jumping off and climbing into the Winnebago. This is our jungle guide: Ricardo.

He briefs us that we will be heading to the Tambopata eco-lodge's office to drop off our bags in secured storage and bring another duffel with us, into the jungle. We quickly make the exchange and pile back into the Winnebago. The drive over to the port is bumpy and dusty. We are experiencing their dry season and it hasn't rained in so long that the large umbrella-like leaves are coated in red dust from the roads.

We're told that the only way to arrive at our final destination of Puerto Maldonado is by boat: jungle boat. In this video, we're also getting our lunches. NB the volume when you're watching. **unedited video**


I'm looking mighty bad-ass in my orange PFD.

The river is over 400km long and flows from the eastern Andes into the great Amazon River and is also less than 60km from the boarder of Bolivia. This area of the rainforest is some of the most pristine and wild.

The boats don't travel in a straight line as the river is shallow in some parts and we have to avoid becoming a river projectile. But, many of the boats are zipping by at full speed ahead! NB of the volume while watching. **unedited video**

Our first stop is the check point to the Tambopata National Reserve where we sign in and get our passports stamped.

After this, we head back onto the boat and continue on our way. We stop to see some wildlife such as the caiman, turtles and monkeys.

When we arrive at the eco-lodge, we're provided a brief orientation, an evening itinerary and an introduction to some of our happy lodge friends: Banana, Homer and Mimo. Some rescues which have become residents of the lodge. AW and I head to our lodge to check it out and get settled in. The sounds of the jungle are all around us.

Following dinner, we head out on a night walk to see all the night life. Not the "night life" that we're used to... it's become a bug walk. I mentioned I didn't like camping, right? While the primary reason is the bathroom situation, the second (which is often tied with first) is the bug situation. I.hate.bugs.

While this is not my favourite activity to start the jungle trip, we do get to learn about all the creepy crawly critters that come out at night. Spiders, ants, flies... The jungle is teeming with life even in the dark! And, the sounds of the jungle haven't stopped, despite the sun going down. I wonder how I"m going to sleep tonight...

No comments:

Post a Comment