Here we are back again in Lima. I am writing this on the 25th, but will go day by day as it happened.
On the 23rd we left our Cusco hotel at 6.30am for the airport. It was then about 14 degrees celsius. Our flight left at 8.30am. The flight was uneventful and we arrived in Puerto Moldonado at 9.15am. Here it was 38 degrees celcius - quite the difference!!
The sun was shining after eight days of rain!. It is the rainy season after all!!
We got picked up by a well-worn jungle bus. After a 15min. ride to the the GAP office (where we left our big bags) we had a brief tour through the town of about 8000 people.
Our guide, Rocio, told us that the town is growing because plans are to build a bridge across the river Madre de Dios (mother of God) and then to build roads to Bolivia and Brazil.
Puerto Moldonado is the Brazil nut capital of the world.
We drove for about an hour over a very bumpy unpaved road to our boat. We could not drive as far as they usually do because the road had been washed out by the rain.The vegetation along the road was very different again - banana plants, mango trees and palm trees with different fruits. Hibiscus was growing in the wild and bromelia plants blooming.
Our boat was a ''panga'' - a narrow boat about 40ft long (14m.) and 6ft (1.80m.)wide with a long bench seat running along each side. The boat was made of wood with a narrow pointed front and an outboard motor. Fortunately it had a plastic cover as a roof so it kept the sun of our heads. Our boat ride was 1 hour and 40 minutes up the Tambopata river to our eco lodge. It was a relaxing ride with a nice breeze on the river. The river is very wide, fast flowing and muddy. The Tambopata river flows into the Madre de Dios river which eventually flows into the Amazon river.
Along the way we saw a white cayman sunning itself. We saw turtles sunning on logs. We stopped at a clay lick (exposed cliff on the river side)where red and green macaws were feeding and nesting.
We had lunch on the boat - a warm one!
Fried rice with egg, mushrooms and served in a banana leaf. It tasted great. When we were done the ''plate'' went overboard.
Upon arrival at the lodge landing on the Tambopata nature reserve we walked for 20 min. uphill through the jungle to the lodge and we could hear howler monkeys in the distance. We were sweating already! It is very humid and very hot!
The lodge is mostly open but with a roof of course. Our room is fully open to the jungle on one side - only three walls. The beds are covered with mosquito nets and we have to put anything that might attract rodents and possums in a wooden box. Otherwise they may rip open our bags. Floor and walls are open slats - privacy is nonexistent! Our ''door'' is a curtain. Our lighting is kerosene lamps and candles: a very interesting place. And we keep sweating!!
We had a brief nap and woke up to noisy Brown Capuchin monkeys in the trees. At 3pm we went out as a group with our guide for a walk through the jungle to an observation tower above the rain forest canopy. That was sweating! We wore rubber boots and that was a good idea because the trail was muddy with lots of big puddles. At some places there was 15cm of water.
The humidity gets to 100% at night - nothing stays dry. Books and paper becomes soft, clothes start to feel damp and walking you do not stay dry!
Anyone who knows Brian, knows that a towel is a necessity for him on these walks!
Along the way we saw leaf cutter ants, termites, a brown aqouti (pig) and birds.
We had a nice view of the river and the canopy on the observation tower that is 37m. high.
A cold shower sure felt good after that ( no hot water or electricity here).
Dinner is served in a dining hall without walls. The food is delicious and very fresh!