My friend the sloth
Kirsten and the sloth
As with any trip it can get hard to sleep through the night, even with the help of alcohol and/or sleep aides. Kirsten, Chester and Betty tossed and turned a bit last night, while the “Great Tumbler” Judy slept like a rock. Breakfast was served at 7:45. We made our way to the restaurant and found fresh fruit, cereal, yogurt, breads, eggs, and sausage. Breakfast was good and filling. The four of us ate in the pleasant morning until we were accosted by the local parrot. He is not afraid of people and will eat off your plate if you let him. We did not like this at all and kept trying to shoo him away, which would work for about 30 seconds and then he would fly right back. If he does it again tomorrow we might hit him with a place mat. But at least he says “hello” to you.
Following breakfast we had our first excursion into the Amazon. We departed at 8:30 with about 10 others from the lodge for a trip down the Rio Negro to where it flows into the Amazon River. The trip took us past the city of Manaus, which is quite
urban and developed. The river was smooth and enjoyable. Along the way we spotted grey and pink dolphins. The grey ones are male, and the pink ones are female. They don’t jump around like the ones we have seen in the ocean, but their coloring is breathtaking, none the less. The trip down the river to meet the Amazon was tranquil and on the verge of not very exciting since it was 4 hours of water and green trees and forestry. We did have one guide who would not stop talking the entire 4 hours and we finally figured out he looked like a sloth and moved a bit like one. At the mouth of the Amazon where the Rio Negro and the Solimoes Rivers converge it is quite dramatic. There is quite a difference in the PH and color as one comes from Columbia and the other from the Mountains of Peru which carries the sediment with it. The Rio Negro is dark black and the other river is brown. At the point that they merge to form the Amazon, it is 70 miles across so seems more like a lake than a river.
We did stop for
lunch at a floating restaurant along the river run by locals. Good news was they have functional toilets. Bad news was they flushed directly into the river. How do we know this? The wood floor was not solid and you can see the once calm water stirred up right after you flushed. Then you washed your hands with water right out of the river that you just pissed in. The food was actually very good and plentiful and the beer was cold. After lunch we got into a smaller boat and headed into the swamp/jungle. We did stop at one of the local’s houses floating along the river to see their pet anaconda and sloth. Just the pets you kids are probably asking for. Judy and Betty refused to get out of the boat. Kirsten held the sloth while Chester took pictures and Kirsten analyzed if the deck of the house was actually designed for 15 people as it was now half-way underwater. But as we all got back on the boat, the house raised back up to a safe level.
As we are here right at the end of the rainy season the water is at its highest
If you look close you can see the tail of a caimen.
and it will drop as much as 40 feet during the dry season. This does allow us to get deep into the jungle via boat and see some amazing sights. We saw tons of different birds, plants, trees, flowers, water lilies, and a small caiman and a little green cobra all in the swamp. It was like the Louisiana swamps on steroids. We got back to the lodge and had a bit of time to relax before we headed out for a night trip in the small boat. The stars at night were burning bright . . . deep in the heart of the Amazon. Although it was quite dark and you could not see a lot of the animals, you could hear them like it was a Sharper Image nature sounds machine. We did see the eyes of a number of caimans and a sloth up in the trees.
We returned to the lodge in time for a late dinner, which was quite good as usual. When we returned to our rooms Chester and Kirsten did find a nice frog in the bathroom. Again Chester freaked out and decided it was poisonous. Kirsten had to barricade the door
Meeting of the Waters
2 rivers meet to form the Amazon River
to the bathroom again. Just as everyone was getting ready for bed, the rain started and the deluge ensued, knocking out the generator. Judy was asleep already and didn’t even notice. But just before the power went out, Kirsten was fortunate enough to delete all of Chester’s pictures from the entire day. She still does not know how this happened, but if Chester is going to complain she can download on her computer in the future. Oh that’s right she doesn’t’ bring one.
Also of note, this was a falless day for Judy. First of the trip.
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