The Jungle!

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April 27th 2012
Published: April 28th 2012
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Hi all,

Just at an internet cafe before we head from Cusco to Puno to Lake titicaca, Isle Del Sol and La Paz! Just returned from Puerto maldonado on an overnight bus so today is our travelling day... Tash seriously thought she was gonna die with the speed these buses turn corners.. In the Andes too!

We arrived at Puerto maldonado a few days ago (can´t remember when, we dont even know what day of the week it is!) and hadnt booked any jungle treks so took a recommendation to Rainforest Treks . The bus station at Maldonado was interesting to say the least with tuk tuks and dogs everywhere. We arrived at the lodge in the morning and luckily they had space to book us onto their 4 day tour of the jungle and they gave us a tasty discount too as we booked directly through them.. We await the arrival of the rest of our group and only one thought enters our mind - we are the youngest in it by FAR which I can honestly say doesnt happen very often these days! We were on the trek with the golden oldies.

We took a 3 hour boat trip down the Tampobata River to our lodge. The ride was impressive - we saw Caiman Alligators, Capybara´s, turtles and loads of Macaws (the ones you might have seen on the programme Earth Flight licking the clay?).

We arrived at the lodge and were simply astounded by how beautiful it was. A MASSIVE open lodge hosting a bar, dining room, chill out areas. hammocks the lot. The accomodation was branched off this main building and were separated by bamboo and a mere curtain as our door but happy days - we had a hammock in the room!!!! No walls, just a balcony out into the jungle.. It was the most amazing setting for relaxation but annoyingly there wasnt a great deal of time for that!

Our first excursion was a jungle trek with our guide Julian who pointed out all sorts of trees, native plants and the odd bird flying by. It was amazingly quiet with a few birds and monkeys making lots of noise. The main tree here was the Brazil nut tree which was an emergent tree and which sheds massive softball sized seed pods which contain up to 20 yummy brazil nuts and only humans and one other rodent species can open them. Our guide opened a pod and shared them out to be eaten at the lodge and Tracy decided to grab a few more knowing how yummy the nuts were and we both had a go at trying to crack open the pods with a machete... Both failed = its hard. We saw millions of ant trails, ants carrying massive bits of leaves, red fire ants and these inch long ants which, if 32 exactly bite you, you will die. Nice. Along the way, the guide grabbed a small sick with leaves at the end and started gently poking in this hole. I initially thought it was termites or something but then he announced that a tarantula lives there... SHIT. He gently poked and shook the stick and both Tracy and I were expecting him to flick the stick at us to just scare us but eventually this massive hairy leg popped out along with this massive bodied tarantula. It took all my willpower to not bolt but managed to take a pic which i will post. Pretty cool to see it in the wild.. We all then climbed a 30meter tower to go above the canopy and saw just how far the jungle spreads too. Amazeballs and so huge... Saw some macaws and some other birds which know nothing about and then ventured down to the humidty of the ground.

We then made our way to an oxbow lake and then back to the lodge but didnt really see much else apart from feeding the piranahs in the lake with our sandwiches. Man they are quick and not something I would wanna be eaten by... They only respond to blood so we were safe but still we didnt fancy a dip.

The golden oldies then had time to rest before lunch whilst tracy and I opted to do a tree climb. Our new guide was good but he needed help from another worker who had absolutely no idea what he was doing... To say we were a tad scared about him was an understatement given that we would be climbing up 32m on ropes and ratchets. Trace went first so that Tash couild have time to do a risk assessment and talk herself into it and Tracy had a minor strop on the way up as her ratchet kept catching on her harness. Its the system where you put your feet into two loops, stand up and then push up a hand held ratchet to gain height. Tough tough work. She eventually got there and peered down at me from the top of the brazil nut tree.. My turn. I couldnt not do it now that Trace had, that is just not cool. I started prettty well and hoisted myself up but mid way I started to get a little bit nervous and strangely thinking about at which height, if I fell would I die... Thankfully I didnt have to answer it but I swearing the jungle blue in my efforts. I got to the top and what a view. We then slid down on the rope handled by the new guy who didnt have a clue but thankfulyy got down safely. A great experience but hard bloody work.

We did other stuff too like visiting a local farm trying all sorts of fruit like chocolate, coffee, star fruit, sugar cane etc... Really good to see it in its natural form. We then got invited to swim in the Tampobata river and never one to decline an invite to water, Tash jumped in. It was warm, very fast flowing and brown from the sediment and eventually tracy joined in after some persuasion. Good times. Went back had another cold shower Tracy was good in them, Tash squealed like a pig everytime... Friggin FREEZING.

Lastly, Trace and I left the golden oldies again to go kayaking which was great fun and we came right up next to a white caiman alligator.. Good times all round. Tarzan has nothing on us...

We then headed back to Puerto Maldonado back to the main lodge. Trace and I spent the day there before getting overnight bus to Cusco then onto Puno near lake titcaca. At the lodge we were wildly entertained by the resident wild monkeys who were tiny and cute and naughty. They were playing with a snake which they dropped in the office which freaked everyone out but was hilarious to see. The monkeys facese were gutted to have dropped it and all perred over the egde to see what they had done. Very very funny....´

Anyway, after 70 mossi bites between us we are now in Puno and will update on our next adventure soon...

Lots of love

Tash and trace


28th April 2012

If you are going to Isla del sol are you going to cocacobana on Bolivian side check out Nemos BAr on main street up from the beach

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