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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Jungle-the real report


Getting out of Lima was a bit more involved than it should have been.  Sleeping on a cold tile floor was next to impossible.  The hallway where we were looked like a giant slumber party.  Everyone had there 3 ft of space, and LOTS of people were (maybe 50) were in the same hall sleeping, or trying to.  We were mostly too cold. 

Then, when the ticket office opened at 4:00 AM, we were told again we had to pay in US cash.  Didn´t have a great deal on us, so he told us to go to the ATM and get some.  Couldn´t get through.  So, we paid and then kept trying so we´d have a little cash on us. Nope, nope, nope.  Finally, we decided there was a problem with the airport electronics, and decided to wait until we got somewhere else.  I went to buy some water, and my credit card was DENIED!  REJECTED!  I didn´t understand, as I called the card company two weeks ago and let them know our travel dates.    So, I tried calling the ¨collect from other countries¨ phone number--3 times from a pay phone, and each time they refused our call.  Talk about PO´d! 

Our flight was delayed an hour and a half because their radar sucks and there was a storm in Cuzco.  Other airlines were still going the same place, but since we were saving a few bucks, and almost died the night before, we weren´t too upset. 

So, I unblocked my phone, and called the credit card company on the US toll free number.  Wonder how much THAT will cost.  Anyway, some one finally answered me, and started asking about all the ATM´s I was trying to access.  Yes, all mine.  I asked why I bothered calling a couple of weeks ago; she looked back and found where I had, but said the representative hadn´t done it correctly.  She fixed it, we got some US and Soles and all is well again. 

Because of the delay, I sat with a family in the gate area-Peruvian, both children (girl 13 and boy 11) spoke English, and we had a good time talking.  She wanted to know a lot, and the boy liked the games I had on my iPhone. 

Arrived early afternoon in Puerto Maldonado, and the jungle turned out to be a unique experience.  I am so glad we did this!  First of all, we were a group of 6--2 young Gaelic teachers from Ireland, and a young Dutch couple-she is a nurse and he is a Dutch Marine.  There are 1 year into a 3 year stint in Aruba.  We all got along wonderfully, and everyone had great senses of humor, and in no time we were all insulting and teasing each other. 

Food was great, mosquito's bad, very hot and humid, electricity only 4 hours a day, 6-10 PM  that last hour was wasted on us.

Walking Palm
The first afternoon there, we took a jungle walk by the lodge, and our guide (Plinio, who would stay with us for the entire time in the jungle) knew a lot about the animals, trees and plants.  It was dark before we got back, so it was slow going, too.  We saw howler monkeys, tarantula. lots of gorgeous birds.

Next morning we left at 7:00 and went up the river to Lake Sodoval, a preserve.  3 mile walk in, then took a canoe abound the lake, saw caimen, giant otters, spider monkeys, birds, and I´m sure something else I don´t remember.  Another 3 miles out, boat back to the lodge. 

Lunch, nap, and met at 4:00 to go further upstream to monkey island.  Sandy beach, lots of fun.  There were several kinds of monkeys, and our guide brought some fruit for us to give them.  They were a little skittish, but pretty funny.  They´d take stuff out of our hand, run away right above our heads, and throw the peelings on us.  Then the teenage monkeys got greedy.  If they saw more fruit, the´d keep grabbing until they had one piece in their mouth and more in each hand.  I really enjoyed it, but have NO pictures, because both of my camera batteries died, and the charger didn´t work with the converter.  I WILL get pics, however, as my new Irish and Dutch children will send me some. We waited there until dark, then slowly boated back the the lodge looking for caimen (saw a lot) and looked for the giant rodent that I don´t remember what is called.  Someone else showed us pictures today in the airport of the ugly thing.  It looked somewhat like a big Guinea pig, a pig and a rat.  Size-wise it was about as big as a hog.  Gross!

This morning, we had to leave at 4:30 for a 1 1/2 hour boat ride to a parrot clay lick.  It was really different.  They wouldn´t eat the clay until there were hundreds of them, and they all flew into the trees, then take off all at once. Got pictures since I tried plugging in my stuff without the converters, and they worked.  Go figure.

That´s all for tonight.  Tomorrow we´re going for a day tour to the sacred valley, and a huge market at Pisac.  Guess where all our souvenirs will be from?

Rest well, I know I will!

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