Monday, October 10, 2011

The Complete (Abridged) Peru Journal: Day 2

This was a big day! A lot of writing; I tried to cut it down to only the highlights. Lots of pictures, too.

StarPerú puddle-jumper
I’m on a boat.  Really.  We’re headed down the Madre de Dios River on our way to the lodge where we’re going to stay in the jungle.  I think, riding down this magnificent river with impossible amounts of foliage on both sides, after eating lunch off a banana leaf, it has finally sunk in that I’m actually in Peru.  It’s awesome.

Today started at four again, although to be fair, I didn’t roll out of bed until forty-five minutes or so later.  Our flight (one hour via a StarPerú puddle-jumper) stopped in Cuzco before taking us all the way to Puerto Maldonado (which is proving very difficult to pronounce, for whatever reason).

Favorite Airplane
Our tour guide Esteban met us at the airport—if such a term can be used—with another sign.  We waited about fifteen minutes for the rest of our tour group, who came in on the next flight.  I ran across the parking lot to spend part of that time taking pictures of this awesome plane.  It was very old and really small, and it made for some pretty fantastic photos.  “Favorite Plane” wasn’t a category I’d ever given much thought to, but now I’ve got one.  According to Esteban, it carried Mormon missionaries to the country, which was both a good and bad thing for the natives.  We then took a fortyish-minute bus ride down the scariest dirt road I’ve ever seen, across several bridges reminiscent of a Busch Gardens safari ride where the bridge gives out and you have to be “rescued.”  None of these bridges gave out, miraculously.  What were really interesting were all of the unfinished bridges we saw along the way.  Apparently builders got big ideas, started the bridges, then decided to take the money and abandon the project.  I said that when I became an engineer, I would come back and finish all the bridges.
Notice the guy with the cooler

We’ve been warned about naked natives who live deep in the jungle and will shoot you with arrows for fear of disease if you get too close.  That’s one thing Pepto Bismol won’t protect against, I guess.

We have one flashlight among the five of us for this jungle night walk, and discovered that we may not have the Deet.  But it might be in my suitcase.  Let’s hope!

Well, the good news is we found the Deet.  The bad news is now I smell like bug spray.  Grosstastic.  We haven’t been shot by natives, which I supposed also qualifies as good news.  We keep passing empty canoes on the banks, though, each of which presumably held passengers at one point.  Every time we pass one I inform everyone that they were shot by natives.  It’s not completely accurate, I know, but the notion that they may also have been eaten by piranhas is probably too much for our group...

We’re at the hotel now.  We didn’t get shot by natives.  There’s no air conditioning, but there is toilet paper.  Earlier today, at a stop on the river where we got out passports stamped, I had to use some of my Charmin-On-the-Go.

The entrance to the lodge and some boats
Our cabin has a great view of the river.  I’m out on the porch now because the light inside is already too low.  We have candles, but we’ve been warned to blow them out once we go to bed lest we burn the wooden cabin down.  We also have mosquito nets for our beds, which I find more worrying than comforting, to be perfectly honest.

The night walk was fun for the first half.  We saw a tarantula, which freaked everyone out.  And tons of vines in all crazy shapes and huge trees.  It was just like in the movies, just a lot darker.  I got bitten by two mysterious Amazonian insects, the second of which was a normal-looking ant.  He may also have been the first.  I hope so.

It's gonna eat me!
We were asked to conserve water in the shower, which wasn’t difficult because the two choices are “off” and “freezing.”  I do feel better now, though.  Guess what time tomorrow starts?  Four! Again.


  1. This is fantastic. It's like you were on a great adventure!!! There are natives lurking somewhere waiting to shoot you, really? OMG!

    LOL at Charmin-on-the-go. HAHA! That's a really frikin wild adventure. I really don't like spiders so I hope you killed the spider right away or at least tortured it a little. Hehehe I'm evil.

    Wow, I can't believe I missed out on your Peru travel posts. I have been too busy. Looking forward to the next one! =]

  2. Hi Oliver! No worries, you haven't missed out on anything. There will be LOTS more of these to come. Yes, we did go to Machu Picchu. I actually uploaded pics from a hotel in Lima back in June. They're on the "Photos" page if you want to take a look. I'll also post more photos with each day, of course. I'm so glad you're enjoying the journal!

  3. I am enjoying your pictures and your posts. Sounds like an amazing place except for the lack of the things we take for granted here in America, like clean water. I would still go just to enjoy this beautiful place. Can't wait to read more about your adventure. Charmin on the go....good idea!