Exploring the Lungs of the Earth
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
28Trip End Jun 05, 2010
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Where I stayed
The Cueva Residence
In the two weeks that we have spent in the jungle we have: seen trees that walk, ran soaking wet through a tropical thunder storm, learned how to wrap tamales, fed baby manatis at a reahbilitation center, helped build a recyled house out of used car parts, seen magnificent blue butterflies the size of an open hand, ate grubs, did a rain dance with half naked members of the Bora Tribe, drank six different kinds of exotic homemade juice, ate (a small portion of) a 600 lb fish, had our auras read by a metaphysics professor, got lost in the ghetto, spent the night in a shamans hut, learned how to drive a motocar, swam in a lake inhabited by 50 foot anacondas and a public peruvian swimming pool (not sure which was more scary), saw freshwater dolphins, were eatin alive by mosquitos, had a conversation with howler monkeys, saw a floating community built on reeds, watched the Simpsons in spanish, learned how to chop down coconuts and open them for drinking, explored a shaman market, got on the news (again), saw rare red headed aligators, played futbol with the locals, held a six foot baby anaconda, and ate more locally made popcicles than I could possibly count..
It would be very hard to accuratly descibe this place, or our experience here, but let me try to paint a picture for you:
We spent the last few days of October floating down the Mariñon River to its confluance with the Amazon River. We spent the days reading and playing cards, stopping in little river towns along the way to drop off and pick up cargo. After beautiful sunsets, we slept on the top deck, swinging in hammocks. Pink freshwater dolphins swam along side the boat. When we arrived in Iquitos, we were greeted with open arms by the Cuevas. Their hospitality and warmth (and the fact that they call me willee) has made me feel like nothing short of family. They cook us delicious fresh food grown on their property, wash our clothes with collected rainwater, gave us beds to sleep in, and everyday have been taking us around the city and surrounding jungle.
The days here are hot and very humid, the nights bring torrential thunder storms. When we are not out exploring, or helping out on the land, we spend our mornings playing chess by the fan, and our afternoons playing futbol at the local park
The jungle is certainly not an easy place to travel. Mosquito bites from head to toe, sweaty nights, and plans frequently spoiled by dramatic weather. It really feels like we have just adapted to the environment here, and now it is time to leave. However, our experience here was incredibly fulfilling. The Amazon is every adventure travelers dream; lush wildlife, unspoiled indigenous communities, and exotic foods. While such a paragon of travel destinations is easy to dissapoint inflated expectations, our time here has surpassed anything that we could have hope. Being able to consider ourselves at home as part of the worlds most diverse ecosystem is truely a blessing, and one that we will hold with us for the duration of our trip.
To avoid the week long boat ride through Perus main coca growing region which is still controlled by the Shinging Path, we have opted to fly out of Iquitos to Lima tommorow. We are headed to an Eco Meditation Ashram an hour north of Lima to clear our heads after all of this jungle madness ( http://ecovolunteer.blogspot.com/2007/12/peru-eco-truly-park.html ), and then heading down the coast, and east to Cuzco. Hoping to make it there by the end of the month. Love to Cali