Sunday, February 5

A most Amazon adventure

I promise I'll start telling you more about our life in London soon. For now, I thought I'd tell you more about our grand tour of South America. Perhaps one of the more exotic places we visited was the Amazon Basin.

Animals at the window
We flew to steamy Puerto Maldonado from Cusco on November 10. The contrast between the Andes and the jungles was obvious from the moment we touched down. Within minutes of walking off our plane we had sweat pouring from very pore, a situation that never changed while we were in the Amazon. I’ve never felt so perpetually damp in my entire life. From Puerto Maldonado we caught a boat up the Rio Tambopata, traveling for almost two hours to reach our jungle lodge.

The lodge was far more luxurious then we expected. Our rooms had windows open to the neighbouring jungles, where you could hear the endless sounds of animals going about their daily lives. I never realised how noisy the jungle is. It's never silent. Crickets chirp, monkeys screech and birds call out. On our second day, while sitting in our room, we watched an agouti wander out of the bush searching for dinner among the scattered leaf litter. The agouti is a short-tailed rodent, about the size of a large cat, but with a distinctive, flat snout.

Don't fall in, the fish bite!
Our first full day we fished for Piranha in a nearby lake on our first full day in the Amazon, then climbed a 125 foot canopy tower to look down on the surrounding jungle and river. It also happened to be the only place in the jungle where you can get a cell phone signal so we called Garry's mother for his birthday. The following day (Garry's birthday) we were up at the crack of dawn to watch parrots and colourful macaws gather by the dozen at a local clay lick. This was an incredible sight that I’ll never forget. To complete the day, our friendly lodge staff sang Happy Birthday to Garry that evening and presented him with a delicious cake.

Our final morning saw us rise at dawn to catch a river boat back into town and then on to the airport for flights to Lima. We'd done Peru! The trip was shaping up to truly be an experience of a lifetime. After five weeks on the road Garry and I were still in good humour and enjoying each other's company. Next stop: Brazil.

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