Blogs from Peru, South America - page 8

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South America » Peru » Cusco » Manu National Park May 18th 2014

Safe water - ✔ Bananas - ✔ Extra outboard motor - ✔ Today we take a 6-hr boat ride deeper into Manu Reserve Zone. First we stop for a swim in a hot springs. There we'll meet, Michel, our guide for the remainder of our trip, and pick up four people who will join us. Their English accent sounds familiar...yep, all four from UK. I've been giving Phil a hard time, as he has cranked up the British accent since we landed in Peru. I can only imagine how it will go now! The expression of people separated by a common language came to mind. No sooner than taking off, we pulled over to the river edge to trade bread for Chicha de jora; the Peruvian version of corn beer. They passed it around the boat ... read more
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Typical home - swap bread for "beer"

South America » Peru » Cusco » Manu National Park May 18th 2014

We've settled into our jungle lodging, candle light at night, sharing the toilets and cold showers with the resident black tarantula. Up early for a hike, often before breakfast. Mid-morning hike, lunch and siesta. Late afternoon hike, dinner and then a night hike. The Rainforest is a Fascinating Place! A highlight of our stay here was the time spent on Lake Salvador. Michel had taken the opportunity to sign up two slots on the lake. The previous evening was amazing, but we were wanting to spot the rare giant river otter. We were more than rewarded as the family not only showed up, but performed for us right in front of the boat. We also identified a lot of birds...I've added approx. 125 birds to my list. The afternoon hike was centered around tracking down monkeys ... read more
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Otters feeding on fish

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco » Cusco May 18th 2014

After a breakfast of hot donuts drenched in hot chocolate sauce, we loaded our bags onto the boat. We had an hour and a half boat ride to Puerto Maldonado. The water is a thick brown and looks like hot chocolate. The river side is green upon green with so many types of trees and plants everything begins to blur together. These boats are probably 40-50 feet long, very shallow, canopied in the middle and can carry 20 of us with ease. So they don't go very fast with a medium sized motor on the back. We have to step across the bows of 4 other boats with our bags, when we dock. We've gotten good at balancing over the past two weeks. We take a tuk tuk to the airport and arrive 3 hours early ... read more
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South America » Peru » Puno May 18th 2014

Packing and repacking our bags each day has been a challenge. Today we are leaving the Andes behind us so we are able to get all of our stuff in one duffel and leave the other behind -- much easier! We had a leisurely morning enjoying breakfast and taking pictures on the lawn of the hotel of the llamas and Lake Titicaca. We met a Canadian family with four girls who had just been to the Amazon and loved it! Let the adventure begin! Maria and driver picked us up from our hotel at 10:15 to catch a flight out of Juliaca at 1:15. Although it was only an hour ride, this guide with Kontiki Tours was excellent. We learned a lot about the conflict of the pre-Incas and the black market activity in Juliaca which ... read more
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South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco » Cusco May 17th 2014

In the morning, we all left for Cusco. The busses here run an hour late. We share the aisles with chickens in bags and the sound of chicks. It's a comfortable ride and we get to stop half way and buy rice and chicken from road side ladies for 2 dollars. We arrived in Cusco in the mid afternoon and went searching for hostels. We split up to try different areas looking for cheap and clean. We ended up close to the town centre with 5 to a room and shower attached. There was a courtyard with bar and travel company, the bar is where breakfast was served. Next, we needed to find food. We consulted the guide books and found a nice place with a menu de dia for 17 soles, only about 6 dollars, ... read more
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South America » Peru » Cusco May 17th 2014

Once again Tuesday is the best day of the week. We went back to our ruins and I cut down one and a half big trees, as well as clearing to the ground one entire room. Now we can see the shape of the buildings and the spaces between them, it's not just forest and rock. The transformation seems quite miraculous. When we first came it seemed that we would never be able to uncover this mysterious place and now I can see how the dig will be able to work. It's too bad that the rains have continued and there is no hope for me to be part of the excavation. It makes me want to come back in July when the dig will be in full swing. The walk up is getting easier, although ... read more
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South America » Peru » Cusco » La Convención » Quillabamba May 17th 2014

My last two days at El Establo. We went to help a neighbour clean his road way. This means that we walk up hill slashing all the wild growth on the road side a meter deep with our machetes. I was in heaven, much easier than chopping through thick trees. In the afternoon we learned about mapping archaeology sites. At supper, Americo and Isa made it clear that I shouldn't leave, just bring Jacob here, but the Amazon is calling. A new volunteer just came from there and has the most incredible pictures. The next step promises to be incredible as well. We had to wake early (4:30 am), because on my last day the plan was by chance to go to a completely different ruin. We drove up to the high pass and then unloaded ... read more
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South America » Peru » Cusco » La Convención » Quillabamba May 17th 2014

I spent the weekend at El Establo. Friday morning, we went into Huryo to the Pre Schools. We were there to play with the little ones. The one I went to was a one room dark space with some school supplies, but no instruction, only play. The afternoon was spent gathering new blisters on my hands from dekerneling the dried corn for the chickens. After cob 15, I finally figured out I should be wearing gloves and then all went well. Saturday dawned with rain, rain all night and rain all day. It was a perfect day for reading and sleeping and then reading again, with a few card games thrown in for spice. We were a girls weekend with just 4 volunteers left, Niels had gone to Cusco and we had lost everyone else to ... read more
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When the taxi came to pick me up in the morning,everyone stopped to hug me good bye and wish me well. Again, it is hard to leave, but I had my reunion with Jacob to look forward to. As usual, the bus was an hour late and I sat talking to the store owner at the bus stop in broken Spanish. The ride was the clearest I had had yet. Every turn was spectacular, rippled mountains against the blue and cloud sky. I was late getting to Cusco, but still made it to the main square in time for the projected rendez-vous. Unfortunately, Kim and Jacob were much later still, and so I left before they could meet me thinking that I would go and check if they had left messages. All ended well; we did ... read more
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Each day, we are given a morning and an afternoon activity, with a couple of hours break in the middle of the day. My first day I started with the insect project. There is an entomologist working with projects abroad to make the first Peruvian Amazon Insect Book published. Salvador had been away on holiday for a month and so the lab was a mess. We started by cleaning everything. Then we went out capturing bugs. In the afternoon, Jacob was with me and we went to the second farm area where they have built a platform from which we can observe birds. We saw a vulture, hawks, parrots, macaws, and heard many others, but we really were excited by what we saw on the ground. We saw a non poisonous 3 meter long snake hunting ... read more
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