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Manu Jungle Tour, days 3 & 4!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Hola!  Our jungle tour continues…for a style change, here are my journal notes from this part of the trip:

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Manu, Day 3:

A perfect jungle day. Got up @ 4:45, out by 5:20am to attempt to catch the macaws. No luck but did see some other birds and the light on the lick changing.

Peruvian breakfast drinks - coca leaves, chocolate cocoa, coffee

Breakfast – omelets – then we did a 4 hr walk through the trails behind the lodge. We didn’t see a lot of animals but it was still really cool.

I think one thing that helps a lot is that I’m here with a really nice group – Petra & Rene, a very easy-going couple from Austria; Kelly, an ecology student from the UK and Natasha, an illustration major also from the UK. Our guide is Abraham and he is passionate about birds. I see other guides who may have nicer lodges or cooks but they don’t have telescopes and they don’t have Abraham’s eyes and ears and experience.

We’ve seen (and heard) so many things that I never could have seen on my own. So, all during our jungle walk, he pointed out trees and told us their medicinal or cultural purposes and cleared the trail with a machete and took us up and down and around on a ~6km slow walk. We saw a couple birds but mostly just embraced the humid warmth & smells of the forest & little plants & huge plants.

Trees, bananas, tarantula and butterfly from the jungle walk

At one point he took us to an area and said “Want to try the liana?” which turned out to mean vine – as in swinging from vines! We all took a turn, and another, and another, and after hitting the tree on my first 2 attempts, I got it on the 3rd and wow! Was that amazing! So much fun! I didn’t expect it to be so much fun.

After that we went to see the largest tree in the rainforest – the kapok – and had a snack. Drank a lot of water. Down and around and surprise! We dropped in on the neighbors. Down their path to the river, across a rocky shore and there was our boat. Back to base, showered & had lunch (potatoes, beans, fish in a paste of some kind & frid yucca). Felt great to have done a jungle workout. Chatted a while, then took a group vote and chose fishing & swimming for the afternoon. A very short boat ride took us to our spot – a beach with a long shore along the river, a pool collecting water and a separate shallow pool. Very muddy, very fun. The boys (the 2 who ran the boat and our driver, Abraham and Rene) tried fishing; they just caught 1 catfish, then played soccer, 2 on 2 (1 guy waited w/the boat).

Jungle dip

Us girls went swimming, first covering ourselves with the clay mud then washing it off; we went to the 2nd pool – very shallow but very warm – and sat for a bit. The mud was so funny – you never knew if you would stand or sink and it felt so mushy & gooey. Really silly.

It was one of the most relaxing afternoons I’ve had in a while, lounging in a warm pool under a beautiful tropical sky; watching the guys play soccer, everyone moving to their own pace. Time to wander and just not worry about anything. It’s a very calm life here. After a couple hours we headed back, changed, and chatted over snacks til dinner (snacks of fried dough – savory w/cheese and sweet w/banana), then dinner (soup & spaghetti), then more chatting. It really is a very pleasant team and I’m happy to be with so many so who can enjoy looking at a flower or a bird and just soak in this humid pace of life.

The lodge is basic and could use some updating but the host and the daytime activities make up for the room. Could use new pillows & mosquito nets and maybe repaint in the bathroom, but the dining tent is airy and comfy and there’s hot water and a cushioned bench with a view.

Hasta manana – k

Jaguar Tracks

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Day 4 – We got up early again to try to see the macaws.  No luck.  But we did see a jaguar footprint in the sand!

Took the bumpy twisty road back up to Cusco.  Passing cows, goats, sheep, llamas in the road.  No need for fences in this part of the world.

Back to town in the evening.  Reunited with Seth after 4 days, 3 nights apart – the first time we traveled separately in ??? He would have been so bored on the trip.

The jungle trip fulfilled all my jungle imagined imagery: grasses taller than the tallest man, green green green, exotic monkey and bird sounds, plants that can kill or cure you, riverways and unseen eyes watching through the flora.  4 days was a perfect introduction, but I feel I’ve just scratched the surface…

Sacred Valley terraced fields

A presidential election was coming up in Peru, and signs were everywhere - including people's houses.

Llama herding near Cusco - on the drive back from Manu

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Shephard permalink
    Monday, September 26, 2011 6:34 pm

    My favorite photo is the jaguar track! It’s so perfect. 🙂
    ~S

  2. Jen permalink
    Friday, September 30, 2011 4:31 pm

    This is so inspiring. Just the sight of so much nature gets me itching to join you!

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