Exploring Puerto Moldonado

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June 15th 2016
Published: July 29th 2017
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600 breakfast leave 630.

Today we had an excursion to some lake. We took the boat 10-15 minutes then the walk was 2 km. It took about an hour and a half with stops. We split into 2 groups. I stayed with Julio.

Julio found a suspected tarantula hole and got a small plant to make vibrations and lure it out. He put us all in position and told us to stay still. No moving, no screaming. He got it out and one of the girls screamed and jumped so it ran back in. He tried again and got it out but again but it only came out very quickly before running back into its hole. Long enough for everyone to get a good look but not long enough for anyone to get good photos.

Todays interesting tarantula facts. I learnt that their main enemy is the wasp. Apparently female wasps fly in and sting the tarantulas making them a bit disoriented. The wasp then lay their eggs inside the spider and tarantula wakes up feeling fine. The wasp babies are born inside the tarantula eating it from the inside first eating all the non-essential organs to keep the spider alive as long as possible before exploding (Julios words) their way out when they turn into wasps. Poor little tarantulas.

Apparently some have adapted to share their homes with some poisonous frogs. The frogs keep the wasps away and the tarantula offers the frog protection from other predators.

We found a tree of fire ants and Julio explained how they used to be used as punishment for cheating wives. If they were unfaithful the women were tied to a tree of fire ants. Too many bites could kill then but generally it was just incredibly painful.

Julio also said as a child as part of the boys jungle initiation they would have to hold their hand on a tree of fire ants for 4 minutes without screaming or crying. If you did this you were able to go into the jungle and hunt with your father. If you could not do it you had to stay home with you mum and sisters.

He then got himself stung by an ant and asked us if we wanted to try. Matt and Ash went first then myself and Kelly. It took about 3 ants before I got bitten. I was like OMG even the ants are rejecting me. Julio kept asking if I had been stung. I was like I'd know if I had wouldn't I. Just when I was in the process of saying maybe I am just tougher then the two boys one finally got me. The bite is sharp and then he said the pain will come in 5 minutes. It's sort of like a hot needle/stinging nettle feeling. Then it stays and throbs for 5 - 10 minutes before stopping. One was a bit of fun but I understand that it would be torture to be continuously bitten. We also ate termites.

At the lake we jumped on a very slow moving barge. They boys had to paddle with a massive oar. It was tiny lake like a dam/billabong sort of thing. Nothing can get out it does not lead to any other water ways. Julio said black caymans live their however we don't see any. We did see an electric eel and and he got it to zap 2 times. We were throwing bread to small fish were eating it when one of the small fish got attacked and eaten by a bigger tiger fish. Poor little guy – we so caused that death by distracting him.

We walked to an old strangler ficus which was hollow. The tree it had taken over had died so you could climb inside. Its was really cool. The group climbed all over the tree and some climbed up the strong vines. I have no arm strength and don't do well with heights so I wasn't going to try that.

Next was one of the huge trees where we walked around and got a group picture. It's also known as elephant tree as the bark looks a little like elephant skin.

On our way back on the barge we threw biscuits in the water to feed the piranhas. Some had the reddest eyes you could see as they approached. Kinda cool.

Back at camp I had a 20 minutes nap before lunch.

Lunch was a special request by Andreas for food typical of the Amazon area. I can't remember the correct name but it was what I ate in the village in the Amazon. Rice olives egg chicken wrapped in a plant leaf. The serving size was huge and delicious. I really enjoy that thing.

I planned on an afternoon nap again however we ended up in a long battle of heads up boys v girls. Was a lot of fun. We played 4 round until Andreas phone died. I wasn't drinking but the rest got pretty drunk.

After that we had a talk about caymans and then went on a cayman spotting trip. Got pretty close and saw 4 cayman. They didn't catch them like our last trip however.

Dinner was beef rice and Yuka. I was next to Julio at dinner and showing him pictures from my trips some of the monkeys I saw my last Amazon trip. He said some of them like those really tiny ones are not in this region so he had never seen them.

He also started talking about Sharmans and Ayahuasca and what it does, how tourists die, how to use it, his experiences etc as well as some other local legends. Interesting

He also told me some local legends. One was about man who is mostly man but one leg is an animal leg and each foot faces different direction so he cant be tracked and you don't know which way it's walking and he wanders the Amazon.

Another non legend - he said bones of a 2 ft tall sloth were found and no one is sure if these giant sloths still possibly exist somewhere because so much Amazon still remains untouchable.

Ayahuasca he said he first did when he was 18 to learn about the trees and Amazon medicines etc. He said it started off trippy all these snakes with 5 heads trying to attack and then trees talking to him. But he learnt a lot about the Amazon and how it can be used in medicine from the experience. He said people die in this transformation part of they don't take it seriously and /or have a good sharman. He said he wants to go back now he is 24 to learn more about the Amazon and meaning of life.

He said you need to prepare and take it seriously. Lots of tourists think they will get high and book online with no preparation and then several die each year.

Julio said they can see your future but he only wants questions answered not future as he does not want to know his destiny and be worried. He said he knew someone who saw a bus accident off cliff near Cusco they saw their Niece die and they told her not to go but she did and the bus ended up off a cliff and 24 people died including her. He said you can't change fate and he doesnt want to see what is in store or how he may die if he looks towards the future.

He said another person saw their daughter at 17 and when she reached that age apparently vision was exactly as she was. It's all very interesting. He got really excited that I play soccer too and said so rare for girls in Peru to play they choose to play volley ball instead. He said some European girls came and played one day and were better then half the staff and they were all so surprised. We talked till it was only us and Ash at the bar but when Ash went to bed I said goodnight and went to bed also. Could have spoken all night. I find it all really interesting and learnt so much about their beliefs and ways of life.


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