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SV’s Amazon Adventure!

Posted on September 24th, 2008 by Sweet Victoria

Although I got back a couple of days ago, I’m just now feeling completely rested.

To sum my trip up – it was a blast! Honest! Travelling there was just a pain and a half though due to one of my planes taking off nearly 5 hours late. I actually came really close to missing the boat down in Peru because of that set back. I will say all of the setbacks really made it that much more of an experience. I spent Saturday night in Mexico City – it was very different being in a place where English is not the primary language. I think I had the toughest time with that. Ya, I had Spanish in school, but it’s really different reading it in a book versus having to understand it in person. The next day, I spent almost 10 hours in Lima airport waiting to catch my next flight. Finally, I made it to my final destination in Peru that afternoon.

Because I was basically a day and a half late for my vacay, I did miss the main river boat. Instead, I took this tiny speed boat from the dock to go catch up to it. All in all, it was about an hour and a half’s ride, but finally I was on the Amazon. After talking to my coordinator back in the States, he said the only reason I actually made it down there was due to the lower levels of the Amazon which forces the river boat to move slower. Thank goodness for the dry season!

I finally made it to the river boat Monday afternoon! I was so tired – really. I have a really hard time sleeping on airplanes but I cannot sleep in airports and in the past 48 hrs, I had been awake for 32. As soon as I checked in and talked to the guides, I crashed for a couple of hours. After the nap, I went to the top side of the boat – it was basically an open area but was covered from the top. There were hammocks and rocking chairs – a place to relax. I met most of the other tourists there. They were all told of my plight and were quite jovial in nature. Super nice people!

The days kinda started to blur once I was there. I did keep a journal – and am referring to it now – but I was just so glad to be there after so much dissapointment. The days were divided like this:

7am Breakfast
830 am Boat excursion (where you take a small boat into tributaries etc) or Rainforest Hike
1pm Lunch
430pm Hike/boat tour/fishing (the activities changed in the afternoon)
7pm Dinner
9pm Late night forest hike or boat excursion

So let’s see…

On Tues morning, I took a small boat excursion into the Rio Tigrello (the Ocelot River). There were soooo mant birds – parrots, parakeets, hawks, herrings. I’m not really a bird person at all, but it was neat to see parakeets fluttering around like black birds do here. LOL I also caught a glimpse of the blue morpho butterfly and a tiny glimpse of a squirrel monkey. After lunch, I chose to do a forest hike – big mistake on my part. The hikes lasted about 2 hours and you wouldn’t believe the mud. In the pictures, you’ll see that the mud literally came up to my knees. In this hike, we were walking on the flood plains of the Amazon – parts that basically are mostly water during the rainy season. The humidity was just awful – everything was always damp. I had the AC in my cabin on all day and on full blast and still, it didn’t even touch the humidity. LOL

Later that evening, I went with the group who chose to do a night hike. It really wasn’t as muddy, but um…it was soooo creepy. All the sounds you here – various insects, frogs etc – oh man. You can’t even see 4 feet in front of you. I tripped soo much that night. Oh and spiders – they are everywhere. We were told to being a flashlight for the night excursions – you really needed them. Did you know that there are millions of spiders in the rainforest? I think I saw every single one. Ugly ones, big ones, tiny ones, bright ones…and all of them delighted in making webs that got stuck in my hair. LOL

On Wednesday, the group finally encountered it’s first reptile! And what a beauty – a 15ft Anaconda. As the boat was moving along, one of the guides noticed the village on the bank. Apparently, the guy had caught the Anaconda trying to eat his chickens or pigs…it wasn’t really clear. Anyway, his plans were to kill the snake and then sell the skin to the traders. Of course, you guys know me…and you knew that this was not going to happen – not while I was there. So, a few other tourists and myself decided to buy the snake for 15 US dollars. That roughly translates to 50 Peruvian Soles – enough to feed his family for a month. They were quite happy to take the offer. We were able to release far away from that village. There were about 10 of us in the small boat that took her upstream and she was sooo stressed out. Once we got her close to the water, however, she drank for what seemed like 10 minutes – blissfully unaware that everyone was watching and taking photos. Finally, she swam into the water and into a small hiding place. I was so happy to just be a part of the rescue.

Later that evening, I opted for the river boat ride instead of the night hike – where guess what – we saw a baby Anaconda! Oh I was loving it! We also saw a kingfisher (type of bird) sleeping and then a type of possum sneaking up on it. Very neat to watch! The other riverboat actually found an Amazon tree boa – you guys know I love my tree snakes! I was able to have the guides take lots of pix of me with it – of it in my cabin. See, they actually brought it to my door. LOL The guides really bent over backwards to ensure everyone was having a great time!

The highlight of the next day was fishing for piranha! It took forever, but I finally caught a red belly piranha. The guides were doing much better than me…catching these huge fish. Segundo – the main guide, caught this absolutely huge white piranha and he showed us the teeth – sooo scary! Oh and after we fished, I went swimming in the Amazon! The current was super strong because we were at a location where one river meets another. We stopped because it’s a great place to watch dolphins – freshwater ones. In the Amazon, there are grey dolphins (which I saw plenty of) and then the more elusive pink dolphins.

Earlier Thursday morning, I opted to take another boat excursion in the morning. This time, I saw neat little creatures called tree bats. I swear, I almost didn’t see them – they blended into the bark so well. I don’t even know how my guide saw them. I’m curious to see if you guys will see them when I post pictures. LOL Again, there were so many different kinds of birds – it sounded like a pet store – so many sounds all at once!

On Friday, Segundo explained that we would have one last jungle walk. What he forgot to mention was that it would take place in the highland forest. They call it “terra firma” because it never floods there. Hiking in the jungle is really hard. You sweat allll the bug spray off in minutes, but I have never sweat so much in my life than on that last hike. When he said highland – he meant it. The trail went up over logs and down hill dramatically. It really wasn’t muddy, but the last hurrah of the journey took my group up this really steep incline. I did have a walking stick, but at the time, I was letting someone else use it. You gotta be really careful when you grab twigs for leverage because you never know whats hiding on them. There were two types of ants that we were warned about – army ants and bullet ants. The former are very territorial of their tree – we had one girl just brush up against a branch they were on and a mass of them just stung her repeatedly. She said the sting was similar to a fire ant. Needless to say, I looked twice before I put my hand anywhere.

That evening, everyone started packing because by Saturday morning at 6am, everyone had to be off the boat.

During Saturday afternoon, several members of the group had opted to take a tour of a market street where we docked. I kinda regret doing that now.  I’ve never really been around poverty before, so it was really hard for me. The houses (read huts) are raised off the ground to accommodate mass flooding during the rainy season. The guide explained it as the Floating City. The market itself smelled horribly…the pollution in the water, the fish in the market, the smell of sewage etc. In the market, all the natives sell everything from freshly caught piranha to apple bananas. We even saw where they sold baby caimen/parakeets/tortoises for what we assume was food. You wouldn’t believe the skin/fur trade. In fact, one lady tried to sell me an ocelot skin for 20 us Dollars. No thanks. I’d rather have it alive..haha

All in all – it was a trip I’ll never forget. I’m really glad to be home now. I felt like I’ve been sick since I left though – eating different foods and drinking coke made with different water. I’m glad to get a good night’s rest! LOL

I’ll be posting pictures in a bit! So keep your eyes peeeeeled!

One Response to “SV’s Amazon Adventure!”

  1. davidbukis Says:

    Hello from Peru , the land of the Incas , Macchu Pichu and Amazonas too 😀 .
    Sorry for my bad english , but i try to do the best what i can 😀

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