Up the Amazon and Into the Jungle
Iquitos Travel Blog› entry 7 of 12 › view all entries
Sunrise in Iquitos is gorgeous. Somehow the colors seem different -- hotter, pinker, dreamier, and in the morning, the wilderness seemed more pronounced. The hum of tuk-tuks had dissipated from the night, replaced now by the sounds of birds. A humongous flock, larger than any I've ever seen, were cirlcing the sky, landing on a big tower and flying away from it in waves.
We were collected by the lodge company in the morning, but it was nearly noon before we set out upstream and the great Amazon River. We passed floating houses and long stretches of trees, children swimming, canoes and even spotted pink dolphins. We stopped in a small riverside village while our guide ate lunch, then continued on to the mouth of the Yanayacu River, which flowed down from stretches of virgin jungle, and further on, from the Andes.
We swtiched into a smaller boat to go up the narrow, shallower river. The low season waters were shallow, and times we'd get stuck. For a long stretches, high reeds would reach out from both sides of the boat as the equatorial sun beat down.
Finally, we reached the lodge in the early afternoon. We only had a little time to put our stuff down before we went off to our first activity, a jungle walk through the dense forest behind the lodge. At first the trail was wide, but soon our guide was hacking through with a machete. We had to wear giant mud boots, something none of us California city kids had ever done before.
We saw a giant Ceiba tree, termites, army ants and something called a "Jungle Rat" in a tree. I don't know if that's actually what it was called as our guide didn't speak much English and had a habit of describing all animals by putting the word "Jungle" in front of it ("Look.
The heat was stifling in the afternoon, and I was literally being eaten alive by mosquitos. As rocked in the hammock on the deck of our cabin, the rain started pouring down. It was beautiful.
At night, we went spotting for wildlife on the river. The guides used a giant spotlot to point out sloths and birds. Flying fish kept jumping up and committing suicide into our boat. It was great. Then, the guide pulled over and grabbed a caiman right out of the water. We all got to hold it. It was soooo cute with its little tail that had been nibbed off my pirahnas, all surprised looking and docile. As a side note, I think that alligator steak I ate in Iquitos was actually caiman; it was much more tender than the gator I've had in the glades.
Sleeping in the Amazon for the first time was an experience in itself. First, I could see all the mosquitos and other bugs right above us through the mosquito net roof, after which I noticed a big gaping hole in the net above my bed. 3 peices of duct tape later, we settled down into our beds. That's when Atousa started checking the room for cockroaches. Bad idea. Of course, she spotted them, and they were huge jungle cockroaches at that. I'm pretty sure her screams could be heard throughout the entire lodge, as all of our walls were made out of mosquito netting.