Forgive me, Blogger, it has been three weeks since my last post. I’ve been wandering in the wilderness, sans laptop, with nary a scrap of wifi to leave a trail behind. Let me tell you how it was.
Beyond the frozen Andes…
..a thick cloud cover gradually dissipated to reveal…
…mile upon mile of endless jungle.
No roads. Only the mighty Amazon River and its tributaries winding their way through the hot steamy rainforest like great brown snakes.
We landed in Iquitos, a jungle city accessible only by air or water. Three-wheeled motocarros, motorized rickshaws, were the popular mode of conveyance. Families of five squeezed onto motorbikes to go about their business.
We chose Amazonia Expeditions for its environmental work, and its support of the little villages along the Tahuayo River. Our guide was Orlando. He is the Eighth Natural Wonder of the World, and I will tell you more about that later.
Mario, Orlando’s sidekick, spoke no English, but always knew when an extra hand was needed, or how to make us laugh.
We traveled in this blue motorboat four and a half hours upriver on the Amazon and then the Tahuayo.
At Tahuayo Lodge we switched to a small motorboat…
….picked up supplies…
…and set out for the research center, another two hours away. The jungle was huge, the river was endless. No breadcrumb trail to follow back to civilization; we just went deeper and deeper into the wilderness.
Travel on the Tahuayo River was a more quiet and intimate experience.
Wildlife was easier to view.
We stopped to watch Squirrel Monkeys playing in the trees. Or maybe they stopped to watch us.
Here and there along the riverbank were villages consisting of about a dozen houses built around a village green.
For the Riberenos, the river people, the river was not only their only highway. It was their laundry room…
Their pantry and their lifeline.
At last we arrived at the research center.
My grown kids were in their element, as excited and carefree as I have ever seen them. If you have followed my blog, you already know I am a confessed Travel Weenie. But I am vulnerable to peer pressure (my children, actually), and I try to stretch myself out of my comfort zone. Which is how I ended up in the Amazon Jungle. Frankly, I wilt in the heat, and the thought of spending a week sweating and swatting mosquitoes carrying dengue fever, malaria, and yellow fever, never mind typhus, was daunting. I’m reminded of a Big Bang Theory episode in which Leonard reports on Sheldon’s condition: “He’s paranoid, and he’s established a nest.”
Well, here is my little nest.
And here is a little story–more like show and tell–that I will leave you with until next time. There was a public shower and restroom that we accessed by walking down a long thatch-roofed walkway.
In the bathroom on our first morning at the station, Bea said, “Don’t touch that post, Mom.” “Why not?”I asked. It was backlit, but even looking up close, I saw nothing alarming.
She said, “Take a flash photo.” I ALWAYS have my camera with me, and so I took the shot, and looked at the viewer. This is what I saw. That post was four inches wide, so you can imagine how big that arachnid wallflower was.
Just thinking about this is making me sweat, so I’ll sign off now. Next time, we’ll venture beyond the restroom, and into the jungle to see some of the wildlife–and further challenges–we encountered on our Amazon jungle hikes.
Thanks for stopping by. It feels great to be back!
All words and images c2013NaomiBaltuck
Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Travel Theme: Rivers
Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Photo Challenge: Carefee.
Click here for more interpretations of Ailsa’s Weekly Travel Theme: Big.