Tag: Peru

Amazing Amazonian Adventure

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.

Lovely Leticia

The trip to Leticia was fast and easy. I slept all the way! If only I could do this on the long haul flights! The taxi took me to my hostel. I had a four bunk dormitory all for myself. Not bad for twelve dollars! I dropped all my gear, showered and changed and went for a walk. The first thing I saw was the travel agency across the road! I went in to inquire about the boat to Manaus, Brasil. I forgot that I had decided not to do a tour here, I booked and paid for a two day tour. So bank, buying water, long sleeved top that isn’t a thermal one! Most important of all, anti mosquito spray! Bought one with DEET!  I had bought TWO aerogard tropical strength, but used them up on the Galápagos and in Tayrona.

 

My original plan was to leave on Saturday, but it seemed to much of a rush! Couldn’t possibly deal with leaving so fast. Okay, next boat is on Tuesday. Hm! Losing important days here. I had worked out that if I have more than fifteen days left over I WILL go to Suriname! Even for two weeks it is worth it, I reckon! Anyway, the tour was booked, get on with it. Do other travellers have this problem? I work everything out on paper and then there is this inner child that just takes over. I suppose it is because it really doesn’t matter one way or another.

Leticia is in the south east corner of Colombia. It is isolated. The nearest highway is over eight hundred kilometres away. It is splendid in its isolation. Motor bikes fill the streets, as do tuk tuks. There are nightclubs everywhere and I saw a few casinos too. Leticia is right on the border of Brasil and Peru. Hard to believe that just an hour away you can be in the middle of the Amazonian jungle!

I enjoyed an early morning walk to the harbour. Lots of roadworks going on. The vegetable and fish market was open. I was harassed by a motor bike taxi driver. The first time in Colombia! He wanted money, while touching me, I removed his unwanted hand and told him I was not a bank, nor an ATM. He then went out of his way to ” help” me find a coffee shop! Cleaned the table, yelled at the waitress to hurry up, got all exited that I drink my coffee black, just like he does!

In the end, I got fed up, no longer polite, and I firmly told him he could go now. I did notice that at ten o’clock in the morning the man was already smelling of alcohol. As I wandered more, I was offered drugs, thank you dreadlocks, by a very drunken local person. I declined. The bars were already full. Sunday morning ten o’clock. I had seen enough, was tired after my full on two days away and decided to go back to the hostel and work in my diary. I am very far behind.

  I did buy my boat ticket. At sunset time I wandered back to the harbour, the day was winding down. The drunks are now laying all over the streets. Not a pleasant sight.

People watching is my favourite pastime, and watching the comings and goings at a small harbour is interesting. Found a wonderful restaurant, had a zucchini boat filled with vegetables, delicious, and as it was Happy Hour, ordered two zombies! Delicious! One more day in Colombia. It is hard to leave!!

On my last day in Colombia I got up very early to watch the sunrise. Saw thousands of birds, parrots, making a racket in the Central Park. I was in awe! Never seen so many birds in one place! Today was a day of boring stuff such as migration, getting a stamp from the Colombians. Then onwards to Brasil getting an entry stamp from a very unfriendly Federal police man! My last meal was fried piranha !! All set and ready to go!!

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