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Published: November 17th 2009
Hello Mr Tarantula, what are you doing in our bedroom?
Into the Jungle - Part 2: Back at the lodge
Day 5 (Day 1 back in the lodge)
It was a little disappointing to be back at the lodge, however Nilton assured us that there were many things we could still do based from the lodge and so we agreed to wait till dark and go into the jungle around the lodge again. We took a nap for a few hours since we were up so early to get back to the lodge. Then went out for lunch which was rice and fish (again!). After lunch a group showed up at the lodge, an English couple and a Peruvian couple. So we chatted a bit and waited for dark to fall before we all went into the jungle. I went to our room to get something and found Victor the English/Peruvian couple’s guide in our room with the Peruvian fellow’s video camera out. There was a tarantula (a big one) in the corner of me and Pen’s room! Eeek! We’d taken a nap and were oblivious to the bugger. Fortunately we hadn’t stepped on it. Victor managed to get it on his hand, transferred it to mine before it
Come and play with me
fell off onto my shorts where Pen managed to get a picture before we put it outside. That was pretty cool, but it kind of sucked that we had to just wait around in the lodge for a few more hours, Penny and I hadn’t brought any books, or anything since we thought we’d be hiking and camping. So we spent a lot of time studying Spanish and Nilton’s book on native animals while we were in the lodge. We also made lists of everything we’d seen in the jungle.
Once night had fallen, Nilton, Olympio, and the Victor the other people’s guide took us into the jungle. We saw saw freaky things that came right out of Alien. They are apparently called Spider Scorpions, I don’t know what they are other than freaky. We also found a crab that lives in the mud puddles, and also had young with it! There were a couple of tarantula’s, a scorpion, and we found a green tree snake which was the highlight of the night for me. We went back and chatted for a bit before all going to bed.
Day 6 (Day 2 back in the lodge)
Little river girl, boats are like cars for her
woke up and headed out on the boat to see the river dolphins up close hopefully. We made our way via two boats and one exchange back to the main river where the river dolphins were. We didn’t really get to close to the dolphins, although we saw them all around us, then Nilton and Olympio went into the water to cool off while Pen and I took photo’s, that’s when they got closer they must have been curious! So after they got in, we noticed the dolphins went off again…so I went in and made as many splashes and stupid noises as I could like when I was swimming with the dolphins in New Zealand, while Penny watched as the dolphins came closer again and so she started snapping more photo’s. I have to admit, I was nervous knowing there were dolphins there that I couldn’t see…and didn’t know how close they were. We went with Olympio and Nilton down the river hoping to see monkeys or an iguana. We took the boat past the village but hadn’t seen anything. So we went into the village and Olympio showed us a blow gun he made, it was ceremonial he
Boats get loaded to the brim, and sink to within inches of the river surface.
said. It was pretty cool though. Then we went over to the village jail! It wasn’t a jail so much as a public naughty room. It was raised up on a platform and had a roof, and a bamboo floor. It was all open and had a table in it where the village elder would sit down and have a serious talk with an offender, or anyone who needed guidance. If they were a naughty offender there were two closets made out of bamboo where they had to stay for a while. We were looking around when Olympio gave a shout…he’d seen an iguana!! Amazing! The last piece to our puzzle, a wild iguana! Cool! So we snapped a few pics, saw a sloth as well in another tree and then headed back to the lodge. We sat around for a few hours before dinner, and after dinner Olympio and Nilton said they were going into the town and that they’d be back by 10am tomorrow and we’d go see an old tree! So after dinner we just vegged till bedtime listening to the sounds of the jungle in hammocks by candlelight…not a bad way to kill a few hours,
Star Wars! Or more appropriately, machete wars.
but it would have been better with a book!
Day 7 (Day 3 back in the lodge)
We slept in because we didn’t have anything to do till the afternoon. We had breakfast, then made a little game for the 2 kids that lived at the lodge. We put some stakes in the ground, made little rings out of vines, and all took turns trying to throw the rings onto the stakes. That killed an hour or so till Nilton got back, he said he was a little hung over, so could we leave after lunch for the old tree. So we waited till lunch, then headed out. He didn’t seem to happy! We passed some nuts on the ground, so I asked what kind they were…he said that they were a kind of coconut. He cracked one open and explained there are little worms that live in them…so he pried one out and the vegetarian amongst us ate it. I have to admit I couldn’t chew it and swallow, so I just swallowed it whole. Pen was rather disgusted that I swallowed it whole, I was disgusted by the thought of chewing it, so it was a
A massive snail with a really pretty shell. It was the size of a mouse!
disgusting experience all round….but hey when in Rome etc. They do eat the worms on occasion, but said they’re better for bait for fishing.
We walked on some more through all sorts of jungle vines, big trees, mud puddles and boggy forest floor until we got to a massive, I mean massive tree. It was as wide as a small house, and about 8 stories high? Amazing. It was beautiful to look at. I couldn’t but help wonder how many organisms big and small called it home.
Olympio was there with the boat, but we wanted to walk back. Pen and I did our best to get back on our own, but we did lose our way a few times….good thing Nilton was with us!! Penny’s bionic fish eyes clocked a new subject/specimen. This one was super freaky too. It was a bug of some description, Nilton said he’d never physically seen one before, and reckoned that we were all lucky to see it. He said they sell for around 500 sols in the town, or around 175 dollars American. We got back to the camp, opened up the beer we had ordered a few days before and
Penscott fishing from the canoe
celebrated our last night in the jungle in the hammocks with a couple of cold beer. We also got to talking to Ricardo who was 16 and not at school because his parents couldn’t afford to send him, so instead he cooked and did odd jobs at the lodge. We were speaking to him in Spanish and he said he’d like to be a guide, however he didn’t speak any English which was a pretty big barrier. So we gave him our Spanish/English lonely planet phrase book. Hopefully that kid makes something of himself someday ;o)
Day 8 (Day 4 back in the lodge)
Pen and I woke up late, then went upstream with Nilton, Olympio didn’t come with us, so we said our goodbyes and gave him a small tip of around $5 which he seemed grateful for. Nilton, Pen and I then went upstream with the Canoe, with Pen paddling her guts out in the front and Nilton steering and paddling in the back. We got to an area Nilton reckoned would be good for a walk, and went for our final jungle exploration. I was hoping we’d see another snake…but no luck. We did see
Scott with the results of his prowess as a spear fisher
a leaf cutter nest, and it was massive. It was about 7 feet wide, and 6 feet high and made of dirt and mulch from the leaves they chew up I guess. Unfortunately at this point I was getting blisters from my wellies, so we went back. Once back at the lodge it was roasting hot and mid day so Pen and I went for a swim in the river, and I managed to encourage the local kids to jump in and swim with me. We played a few games and mucked around until I ran out of steam. Round about this time the English couple got back and decided to go for a swim as well. We all headed back in after another 30 mins or so of swimming, and lunch was ready shortly afterwards. After lunch we all packed up, said our goodbyes to the staff, Penny and I gave them a few bits and pieces that we didn’t need and then we were off. We stopped along the way near the river dolphins and Pen and the English bloke got out and went for a swim with Viktor the guide. Nilton was with us and it turned
The river dolphins, pink river dolphins although we definitely saw more pink ones
out half the lodge came with us too, turns out it’s not everyday they get a chance to go into Iquitos. So after about 6 hours of boats, and taxi we were back in Iquitos. We went to the office, picked up our stuff gave Nilton a tip that we weren’t entirely sure he deserved then we went to our hotel and headed out to find somewhere to eat.
Ricardo the guide that originally came out with us offered to show us a few places he recommended, no strings attached so we took him up on his offer. We found “The Iron Bar” which was a restaurant which was made of iron, it was gaudy, and bizarre, but we liked it. We offered to buy him a coffee but he declined and said he’d see us in the morning if we wanted to see the market before we left…so we agreed and said good night. We were deciding what to order when Pen recognised the twang of an Aussie accent. She got talking to a fellow from Darwin who had been in Iquitos for over 6 months doing border runs to stay legal. He was living in an old
hostel with a bunch of other travellers and bums paying almost nothing for rent, but in return having a very leaky roof, no shower, limited toilet facilities and only a few taps with running water. He was earning a bit of money with odd jobs here and there, one of which was to travel a nature reserve to clean caimans (they’re part of the crocodile family). Not gutting, but to actually scrub wild caimans and get the algae off. He also met a native fellow from northern Peru who made jewellery and sold it. So the two of them came to a business arrangement where the native fellow would make jewellery and then the Aussie bloke would ship it back to Oz where a mate sold it at markets and sent the money back. All very interesting. What was more interesting was that the native bloke was sitting at the table next to us drinking a beer and making the jewellery. So inevitably we invited them to our table and chatted for a while over a few beer before Penny couldn’t resist and asked to not only look at all the jewellery, but I swear she bought half of it.
Play little dolphins play
We got to talking about native customs and traditions, and before you know it we were invited to spend a few days with the native fellow in a spirit journey. It would involve Ayahuasca which is a drink produced from a plant of the same name which is used by Shaman to take spiritual journeys. I have to admit I was intrigued, but for better or for worse we only had 2 days before we had to head off to the Galapagos, so it would have been very difficult to free up the time to experience this spiritual journey. Plus, we only met these guys 2 hours ago. So we finished our pizza and beer, said our good byes and headed back to our hotel. Tomorrow…..back to Lima, and off to the Galapagos!
Day 9 Lima
We woke up around 5:30am and were out the door by 6, but there was no sign of Ricardo so we opted to head to the market ourselves. Belin Market was massive. It was also quite dangerous. We had many locals point at my camera and infer that I’d better hold on to it tight. The few that spoke English plainly told
me to hold my camera securely. The mission was to comb the market for an inexpensive, good quality hammock. We spent 30 mins nervously walking up and down dodgy side streets, meat streets with chickens, fish, and pigs in various states of butchery, as well as fruit streets, vegetable streets, and fabric/clothing streets. We eventually found the hammock in a small shop, and bought it for around $8 CAD. We were pretty happy with that, so off we went to track down a tuk tuk (motor bike with seats in the back) and on the way home watched as the tuk tuk in front of us turned a corner and lost his load as it rolled sideways into the street causing a flurry of angry shouts, horn honking, and backed up traffic. We got back to our hotel and went for breakfast where we bumped into the English couple, and Ricardo. So after a pleasant breakfast chatting away we jumped in a taxi to the airport and headed off to Lima leaving the heat and danger of the jungle behind. What an awesome experience though, one we won’t soon forget.
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