Published: September 1st 2006September 1st 2006
On Sunday we headed to the Lima vs. Cusco soccer game. The guards at the gate weren´t allowing bottled water inside but they let the fans in with mini explosives which they would set off periodically.
We left Cusco after an amazing stay and boarded a 12 seater Cessna for Manu Wildlife Center, which is located 45 minutes east of Cusco by air in the Peruvian Amazon. The landing strip was a patch of grass...that´s when we knew we weren´t in Kansas anymore. The ¨airport¨ was an open air thatched building near the runway and the baggage claim was a wheel barrel. We were welcomed by a pale winged trumpeter, one of the many hundreds of birds we would see in the days ahead.
Our bungalow was located 2 hours away from the airport by boat. It was a beautiful place, however no electricity, which meant we were eating, brushing our teeth and showering by candlelight...very romantic! The walls of the bungalow were screened so at night as we lay in bed we could hear all the sounds of the jungle...and we mean ALL...birds, insects, monkeys, cicadas...it was a orchestra of nature.
Our days existed of waking up each day at 5am to watch the wildlife...it was like being on National Geographics. We saw so many different animals...5 types of monkeys (spider, squirrel, capucin, saddleback tamarin and howler), toucans, macaws, wild pigs (peccaries) and the highlight...the tapir....the
largest land mammal in south america. We´ve never seen anything like it. It is a cross between an anteater and a horse....although they say it comes from the horse family. See pictures and judge for yourself. We set off to see it one night with our head lamps and mosquito netting...we waited and waited for two hours and it finally appeared at the clay lick. The clay lick is a place where many of the animals go to eat clay so that they neutralize the toxins in their stomach. We saw a mother and a baby. However, the next night there was a tapir roaming around our bungalow. We were very lucky to see it twice!
We also saw such a diversity of spiders and insects, that Kasia realized that spider webs are her friends since they´re anti-septic...atleast that´s what she kept repeating to herself every time she walked into one. Spiders in Calgary are nothing compared to the spider-scorpion hybrid we saw! Being here we realized how intricate and integrated the ecosystems are and how much each animal, insect and tree rely on each other. We can only hope that one day our children and our childrens children
Welcome to the jungle
Our plane on the landing strip...
will be able to see this. On a side note, we didn´t really get along with the 3 cockroaches in our bathroom....
Currently we are in Lima enjoying our stay in a beautiful bed and breakfast, that is more like an art gallery than a hotel. The artist is still alive and constantly adding art work to his home. Next stop in Buenos Aires, where we hope to master the art of the tango.
Kasia and Ian
There are more photos below