Christmas in the Amazon???

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December 28th 2007
Published: January 5th 2008EDIT THIS ENTRY

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 IquitosFlying in to IquitosFlying 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 IquitosMoto Taxis in IquitosMoto 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

Additional photos below
Photos: 57, Displayed: 23


Rip em' Eaters!!!Rip em' Eaters!!!
Rip em' Eaters!!!

We met a nice little anteater at the butterfly farm in Iquitos.
Monkey Washing DishesMonkey Washing Dishes
Monkey Washing Dishes

This monkey seemed to enjoy washing a few dishes before using them at the butterfly farm.
Melanie Commuting to WorkMelanie Commuting to Work
Melanie Commuting to Work

You can see the back of Melanie's head in the moto taxi.
Melanie at Public HospitalMelanie at Public Hospital
Melanie at Public Hospital

Melanie attended infectious disease rounds with Dr. Sihuincha.
Health Post Outside of IquitosHealth Post Outside of Iquitos
Health Post Outside of Iquitos

Zungaracocha is one of the sites included in our study.
Working TogetherWorking Together
Working Together

In Punchara, an area of Iquitos, community members prepare the street for new pavement.
Nap TimeNap Time
Nap Time

A baby in the community of San Juan slumbers in a lumber shop.
Curious or Suspicious?Curious or Suspicious?
Curious or Suspicious?

This little girl in San Juan monitored our every move while we visited her home.
Scene Just Outside of IquitosScene Just Outside of Iquitos
Scene Just Outside of Iquitos

You can see kids playing in the water.
The PanatonThe Panaton
The Panaton

This pastery is very common everywhere in Peru around Christmas time. We tried the chocolate one shown but it tasted like fig newtons.
Mosquito CollectingMosquito Collecting
Mosquito Collecting

Collecting mosquitos for the Dengue Project looked a lot like the Ghostbusters.
Mosquitos Larvae CollectingMosquitos Larvae Collecting
Mosquitos Larvae Collecting

As the Mosquito Collecting Team when around to homes, they also would collect mosquito larvae in any standing water.

11th January 2008

Pancho looks like an anteater/hippo/pig/dog. I've never seen one of those things. I wonder what he evolved from or if other animals evolved from him? He looks rather friendly for an anteater/hippo/pig/dog. Was he someone's pet? Dinner to be? Great pics of the tarantulas, sloths, river otter, snakes, and yourselves. You both seem to be settling in quite nicely! I can't wait to here all of your stories when you get back. Awesome hair Bill! Nice catfish Mel! Peace...

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