Puerto Maldonado and the Amazon
It feels like the longest boat ride but we finally get there. At night we embark on a night walk through the jungle with just our flashlights in our hands. I am terrified in the dark that something creepy will crawl on me. Thoughts of tarantulas and anacondas give me the chills and I can't wait to get back to the lodge. The sky is lit up by a million stars, but it is dark and without our guide we would have never made it back, but somehow he is able to navigate his way back to the lodge. We have a nice dinner of vegetables and rice organically grown in the jungle. It's hard to settle down after coming here from a big city. It is so quiet and all you hear is crickets hissing and bugs crashing into the netting surrounding your room.
Today we board yet another plane for a half an hour flight to Puerto Maldonado on our way to the Amazon rainforest. Puerto Maldonado is a small village on the edge of the Amazon river. Here the main means of transportation is by motorcycle which often involves fitting as many passengers as you would fit into a car onto a single seat motorcycle, I kid you not. Talk about carpooling. We are greeted with a tropical beverage and we hop on a motorized boat which takes us on a 5 hour ride on the Amazon river to the Tambopata Reserve and the Wasai Lodge. Along the way we see many animals along the banks of the river. There are turtles, birds, and little cute land mammals called Capybaras. I also see smoke on the horizon, and our guide confirms the sad truth that the Amazon is being burned by humans. Hundreds of acres per hour are being burned and native trees knocked down and wildlife displaced for the purpose of building cattle ranches for the meat to be later shipped to the US (something to think about next time you sit down to eat a burger). If we don't do something about it now, sadly it's only a matter of time before the Amazon rainforest will be lost.