Adventure / South America / Travel / Uncategorized

The Amazon Jungle

This was the day was when we were leaving for the jungle!!  I was excited – the Amazon Jungle was one reason why I wanted to go to South America.  Hubs and I were the only passengers heading the Muyuna Lodge that day – we had the boat to ourselves.   An hour and half by boat, then we had to walk about 30 minutes along the banks of the river off-shoot of the main river Amazon, and get into a metal dingy.  We had to do this because the off-shoot river was so low.  Our guide Moises (Moses) said it’s the lowest he has seen the river in 30 years.  

Muyuna Lodge was a lovely jungle logde, nice grounds, fully fly-screened rooms and meals area, hammocks around the place and one on our back balcony.  Yes, it was nice, in a rustic jungle way.

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After an average lunch, we had a siesta.  At 3.30pm, Hubs was too tired to meet Moises for our hike, so I went solo.  I wore leggins with my gum boots, thinking I’d be comfortable.  What a huge monumental mistake!  There were clouds of mosquitoes in the jungle and I was brushing them off my legs – and they were biting me through my leggins.  It was a bit hard to enjoy seeing a monkey in a tree 30m away when I was being eaten to death.  

Hubs and I had already made it clear to Moises that seeing snakes and particularly spiders was not on our agenda.  I mean, who the f—k wants to go hunting for tarantulas in the middle of the night?  Only someone crazy – not me!!

Anyway, as he and I were hiking through the jungle, he stopped and started giggling, and then says, “i don’t want to show you this, but look there,” and points to a tree about 10m away.  On the trunk of the tree was a huge hairy ugly tarantula, bigger than my hand – eeeewwww – I promptly told Moises that this is as close as I want to get and I don’t really want to see another one of those.  He thought it was funny.  Yeah, hilarious.  Not.  Thank God it was still on the tree and not moving – that really would have freaked me out!

We saw some pigmy monkeys, a couple of macaws, some cappuccino monkeys, and 45million mosquitoes.  The animals were all far away and it was hard to see them. I couldn’t help but feel disappointed that we didn’t see more given we were hiking for almost two hours. 

At dinner we met some of the other guests staying at the lodge.  After dinner it was time for a night cruise.  On our two hour cruise we saw two herons and one cane toad.  A cane toad – oh my God.  We did not travel half way around the world to see a frigging cane toad!!   I couldn’t believe it. Neither could Hubs.  She was so disappointed and was expecting to see as many animals, if not more, than she had seen in the Amazon Basin in Rurrenbacque in Bolivia.   

The next morning nice and early we went on a canoe trip to see monkeys and birds.  Again, we saw some birds, but not hundreds like I was expecting.  Only a few.  And there were a few ruffles in the tree tops where there were monkeys.  Again, it was pretty disappointing and I don’t think it was worth getting up at 6am for.

After breakfast Hubs and I went for a hike in a different spot with Moises the machette man. We named our guide the machette man because he always carried a machette with him and seemed to like to hack into things – like vines, branches that weren’t really in the way, that sort of thing.  Moises was so funny when walking through the jungle…we were told not to speak too loud.  He would almost creep into the jungle and every so often stop, almost crouching, to listen to the jungle.  It was hilarious and Hubs and I had to do all we could to not crack up laughing!  Again, we didn’t see much, and the mosquitoes were not as bas as they were the day before, thank GOD. 

About an hour into the hike, I was getting dizzy, feeling nauseous, and my tummy was feeling decidedly upset.  I ignored it for as long as I could, then about 30minutes later I told Moises i wasn’t well.  We went back to the Lodge and I was sick and had the runs badly.  I felt terrible.  I went straight to bed and missed lunch.  Moised brought me some dehydration liquid to drink and I rested for about 5 hours. 

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I didn’t want to miss out on piranha fishing, so I took a tablet and soldiered on.  Fishing for piranhas was heaps of fun, even if I was feeling ill.  Hubs and I caught about 5 or 6 each.  When we got back to the lodge, the chef cooked them up and we had them for dinner!   After dinner I went straight to bed – was feeling too average and wanted to rest and recover.  Hubs went out on another disappointing night boat trip and didn’t see anything – only the glowing eyes of a caiman (like a crocodile).

We swam in the Amazon river and we also saw pink dolphins!!  Finally!!  I saw a pink dolphin.   They are not as cute as the bottle nose ocean dolphins and look like mutants really.  But we saw several of them, which means I can rest easy. Swimming in the Amazon was nice – and we weren’t in the piranha invested part of the river either. 

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The next three days were more of the same – boat trips, spotting the occasional monkey, hawks, birds, and loads of butterflies.  Every day we were drenching ourselves in strong DEET insect repellent and doing all we could not to get bitten.   We did see 3 or 4 sloths, only one of them was climbing.  What strange looking creatures they are!  We went piranha fishing again and I caught the biggest fish of the group – it was huge!!  Hubs and I liked Piranha fishing. I also like piranha eating, but Hubs didn’t.

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We did another hike to see the giant water lillies – and that was really nice. We also hiked to see the prehistoric birds and again, that was nice but we were so far away.  It was almost impossible to take photos of the wildlife because we were always so far away from it. 

Poor Hubs got eaten alive and her bites flared up quite a bit – so she was always itching and scratching and feeling uncomfortable. I got eaten too, but my bites didn’t cause me the discomfort they caused her.

We met some lovely people at the lodge – team NZ – they were fun.  The big kiwi guy was a lot of fun and so easy to put shit on. Hubs and I had a great time giving him heaps – and he was a good sport and took it all in good fun.  Team England were lovely, Team USA were as camp as a row of tents and a good laugh, and Team Wales were really nice. Yeah, we were pretty lucky to be around a good bunch.

One night when Hubs and had once again opted out of going on a canoe ride after dinner to see nada, we played Texas poker with Team USA. It was great fun!  And I was really good at it, always having a massive pile of chips in front of me and lending the others chips when they ran out.  Including Hubs.  But as she kept threatening to do – she actually did make a come back, a good come back. Luckily it was getting late and the game was abandoned before she could really start claiming to be the richest! 

By our fifth day in the jungle, we were over it. I was so so so sick of that nasty insect repellent being on my skin all the time, sick of getting bitten, sick of cold showers, and just wanted to be back in the sanctuary of Walter’s place in Iquitos.

Back to Iquitos

Ah, yes.  Back to the peace and quiet of Fitzcarraldo’s oasis.  I really liked it there, I like Walter, I liked Pablo, I liked the food, I liked the cold beer and I liked the space.   Walter had steak in stock, so that made our decision easy on what to do that night – we were staying in to eat this legendary steak we had heard so much about!! 

The steak was worth the wait. OMG it was so delicious and juicy and the salsa verde he served with it was just sensational.  We had dinner with Pablo and I was enjoying a few beers.   It was a great night.

I forgot to add in my last entry that when we left Fitzcarraldo, Walter didn’t want us to fix up the bill.  He just said in his laid back way, “ah do it when you get back, we’ll do one final bill at the end.”   That never happens anywhere!  Hubs and I found it amusing and we were also pleased that Walter trusted us enough to say that.  Cool.

The next day, our last day in Iquitos, I took Hubs to the Butterfly Farm and animal sanctuary so she could get an animal fix, since that didn’t really happen in the jungle.  It was still really nice, but there were about 10 other tourists there occupying the time of the guides.  It was fun to see the monkeys again and have them play with my velcro shoes. 

In the afternoon Hubs and I went and played golf – the only golf course in the Amazon Jungle.   We were so excited to be finally going to play golf!!! 

It was a mission to get there.  The ad in the paper that says it is 20 minutes from the centre of Iquitos is a lie!!  It’s more like 40 minutes, and for us it took 1.5 hours since our motokar driver got hideously lost.  It’s not that much fun sitting in the back of a tuc-tuc  for an hour on gravel roads that are like corrugated iron!  I was so grumpy with him – he said he knew where he was going – grrrrr.

We got to the golf course and had to hunt to find any staff.  Once we had paid, hired some clubs and agreed on a caddy to carry mine for me – Hubs got a trolley so she was ok.  They only had one trolley…

The first hole was scratchy, like most of my first holes.  Our shots got better as we warmed up.  But each time i stopped to line up for a shot, ants would attack me and I got so many bites all over my feet and ankles.  Grrrr.  The grass was also long, so it was hard to find our balls.  Generally, the condition of the course was pretty average.  It has so much potential to be lovely – the club house is lovely, but I suspect it costs too much to keep the course up to scratch.

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Because of our crap tuc tuc driver we arrived late and decided to abandon play after the 7th hole – as the sun was setting. I was sick of being bitten, sick of losing balls, and generally not really enjoying myself!  We went back to Fitzcarraldo, our jungle oasis, had showers and again had steak for dinner.  YUM YUM YUM.  Best steak I have had since Florence.   Pablo was sick and not able to join us which was a shame.

I felt really sad leaving Fitzcarraldo the next day – I had enjoyed my stay there so much.  Walter was such a character, Pablo was fun to hang out with, and we always ate so well.  Not to mention the nice setting and ice cold beer!!

Bye bye Iquitos.  Next stop Cuzco and Machu Picchu!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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