On Friday the 26 July, I was picked up early by the travel agency. Anthony walked me to the boat. Nobody had explained to me that he wouldn’t come with me!confusion when the boat guy asked me if I was to go to Puerto Alegria. I had no idea!After 1,5 hour on a very full boat I was dropped off. Puerto Alegria. The joyful port. Or the Happy port, take your pick.
I was welcomed by Benjamin and Freddy, who was to be my own personal guide. It took awhile before the decision was made in which room they were going to put me. What a lovely surprise, a large room, big double bed with a mosquito net, and a single bed also with a mosquito net! Plenty of space. Simple but functional. I would have liked a few hooks for my towel and clothing, but that was a minor little detail.
After a short break Freddy and I walked into the village,Irapay. There are about eight hundred people living here. The houses are mainly stretched out along the river front. Only one more street running parallel , which is set back a tad. On the 28 of July it is the Peruvian Independence Day. Eight days after Colombia. I was quite surprised that I was now in Peru, since we never crossed a border. I worried for a while that I had left my passport, and the two copies I carry, locked up in the safe at the hotel. Needless worry, as nobody else seemed to bother at all.
At the local primary school the children were practising their Independence March. I am against anything military, but this was quite funny to watch. Especially the lower grades. They weren’t marching in step with each other, which was quite cute!
As it was hot and very humid, I suggested a cold beer to Freddy which he gratefully accepted. The bar was wooden, rustic and deserted. The beer cold, the Peruvian, music blaring, a good time was had by us both.
After a very delicious lunch, I had a mini rest and promptly fell asleep for nearly two hours! Then it was time for real Amazonian explorations! We went Pirahna fishing!! Hm! I quite fancied some of these fish for dinner! My very favourite book is ” Pirahnas don’t eat bananas”, nor do they eat plums! Only BUMS! Of we went in a wooden boat, which had too much water in it for my liking! We saw so many birds! Big green parrots, birds of prey and vultures!
The fish started to bite as soon as the hook and bait were in the water! Shame they only ate the bait and kept refusing the hook!! Suddenly the rain came! So fast, hard refreshing, and on going! Within five minutes I was soaked to the bones. Just in time I managed to store my bag, with iPad, camera and note book, under the life vest! Soon it became cold. When thunder and lightening arrived, I feared a repeat of my Okavanga Delta experience, ( in Botswana) I preferred to go back to the camp!
Shower, cold, and change of clothes, it was dinner time, without fish! After my huge lunch I wasn’t really hungry. My iPad was playing up, and the camera is not recharging! Hm. Didn’t they like the rain? I met up with Manuel and Juan, two young lads, born in Colombia, but raised and living in the USA. We are at the same hostel in Leticia. After dinner, it went dark rapidly. One minute it is light and just like that it is switched off. Freddy and I went looking for caimans there were about eight of them! Could only see the eyes reflected in our spotlights! They were only small, about a meter in length, and sweet water ones, so not very dangerous at all!
I went to bed early, and although I had a nap in the afternoon, fell asleep fast, just listening to the cacophony of sounds emerging from the dark! My last thought was, oh my gosh, I am in the Amazonian jungle! I am so incredibly grateful. How fortunate I am to being able to fulfil all my childhood dreams?
I slept deeply and dreamlessly, unheard of, only waking once for a toilet break. A new day emerged as fast as the night had come! I was up early. The pond near the dining room had new lotus flowers! The flowers only last for 24 hours, but they are stunningly beautiful. The lotus leaves can grow to two meters in diameter, according to Freddy. The largest lotus leaves in the world. I take his word for it! There is now way to fact check his statements as there is no wifi in the jungle!
Today we were going to walk in the jungle. Due to a mix up, I was told to wait for the two lads, we didn’t start our walk until nine o’ clock. It was still just Freddy and me, and we were ready two hours before! Shame, because to see any reasonable bird life, you need to start early. As I got out of the boat, I lost one of my boots, which got stuck in the mud. Quite funny, as I fell backwards trying to pull it out!
Freddy literally had to slash a path through the jungle! It was so overgrown. The first thing we saw were a big family of very small monkeys, the name which I have forgotten. Lots of butterflies, enormous centipedes. A huge tree, over fifteen hundred years old, according to Freddy!
Different medicinal plants. Lots of bird sounds but no birds to be seen.
The walk took over four hours, the lads caught up with us, but since they were walking at full speed, they were quickly out of sight. Back at the camp, we had lunch, a rest, then time for another visit to the village.
One of the guides has a pet Anaconda. Why anybody would want this is beyond me, but anyway we were allowed to hold it! I wasn’t too sure if this was a privilege or a threat!! The guy held the snakes head much too close to my face for my liking!! After we all had a go, holding, looking and snapping pictures, we went to look for the woman with the sloth!
Often baby sloth fall from there mothers, who can’t or won’t go after them, so all these little orphans are left to die! This one was picked up by this woman, who recognised a business opportunity immediately! Charge tourists to hold your baby sloth! Good idea!! It was so incredibly cute! I think it was a little girl, as she kept smiling at Manuel!! When we came back it was time to pack up, go back to the pub and wait for the three o’ clock boat to arrive. Luckily we had cold beer as the boat didn’t show up until five! It had only been two days, but it seemed so much longer. Exhausted, but very, very happy I returned to the hostel.