Happy Holidays to everyone and we hope you are well! As I mentioned in the last entry, Melanie needed to go to Iquitos for three weeks to work on her Dengue Fever project. I met up with her on the 13th of December and she finished her work on the 21st. We decided that we might as well stay for an extra five days to do a little jungle excursion for the holidays.
Iquitos is a city of over 400,000 people and it is the largest city in the world that you cannot reach by road. It felt more like a small city of 30,000 with the largest buildings being hotels. Since everything needs to be literally "shipped" in or flown in, most people use motorcycles and mototaxis as modes of transportation. Also, it is located four degrees south of the Equator, so as you might imagine, it is quite warm and humid.
For her work days, Melanie was involved in home visits, passive and active surveillance for febrile diseases such as Dengue Fever, and infectious disease rounds at a public hospital. She was very busy and she felt it was a tremendous experience. I used the time to
Flying in to Iquitos
This is the view from my the airplane window about 15 minutes before landing.
improve my Spanish independently. Also, I was able to spend one day riding along with a mosquito collecting crew for another Dengue study, which was very interesting.
We set up a 4 day/3 night jungle trip for the last few days in Iquitos. There are several options to choose from but we decided to set up a more rustic experience. When I say rustic, I mean we did not have electricity and shared our open-air bungalows with lots of friendly, non-human, living things. We did some walks in the jungle as well as canoe floats up and down tributaries of the Amazon River. Some of the animals that we saw on the trip were pink river dolphins, sloths, wooly monkeys, bullet ants, tarantulas, macaw parrots, a river otter, a tapir, a coral snake, as well as ton of insects and birds. It was strange on a little hike just randomly spotting a tarantula about the size of my hand hanging out on the side of a tree about 20 feet up. It was difficult getting the words out of my mouth to tell Melanie and the guide!
We are now happy to be back in Lima and we
Moto Taxis in Iquitos
Street scene from our hotel in Iquitos. It was very refreshing to see rain for a change.
spent New Years' with a group of friends at a beach party south of Lima.
Feliz Año Nuevo!!! Dos mil ocho!!!
Melanie and Bill
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