Sunday, November 23, 2014

Return to the Jungle

We were picked up from our hotel in Iquitos by tuk tuk and taken to a boat dock along the Amazon. This would be my second trip to Amazon, the first having been in 2010 in Ecuador. It was a great experience and one i was happy to repeat, feeling like last time i had conquered my fears of daringness and nuclear-sized spiders.

The boat sped us along the brown river until it got narrower and the vegetation closed in, and then, finally about 4 hours later arriving at the Tahyayo Lodge.  It was a welcoming sight, with its thatched roofs peeking out between the trees.

The lodge had common areas: a dining room, a hammock room, and a games room, and the rest was private cabins, some with washrooms and showers and some without.  Everything was high on stilts to accommodate the rainy season when the river rises as much as 15 feet.  The hammock room was the best, as it had lovely views over the river and a tree full of nests of particularly active and boisterous black and yellow birds.

Our room was cozy and had beds protected by mosquito nets, and a bathroom, which had a few too many cockroaches for my liking. The while thing was made of jungle trees so it was enclosed, but still allowed in all of the steamy jungle air and wonderful (and at times frightening) sounds.

Everyone or group who was there got their own guide and we had ours: Tito.  That first night, after dinner, we went on a nightie walk in the jungle. This is an activity i enjoy immensely, despite finding it terrifying. I'm not afraid of animals, but i hate the dark and the jungle at night is pitch black. Having a flashlight makes it manageable but no less scary. We walked for a while. We didn't see too much: a tarantula, a couple of large frogs, and a giant leech (like over 12 inches long). The sounds of the nocturnal creatures were eerie. Finally we packed it in when it began to rain. Back at the cabin, Betty-Lou killed the visible cockroaches and we searched our beds by flashlight before tucking our mosquito nets in around us and settling in for a spotty sleep in the heat and humidity.

It's far from comfortable, but it is an adventure.

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