Let me start off by saying that the Amazon is not a kind place. FAR from kind. It’s a hot, humid home for insects the size of your face, animals that want to eat you and muggy water infested with who-knows-what kind of parasites. With that being said, I firmly believe that every human should experience a night in the Amazon jungle. It quickly puts a lot of things into perspective…
It reminds you that comfort is a luxury that many of us take for granted. A shower (hot or freezing cold) is a blessing straight from heaven. A bed is still a bed if it’s a simple foam pad surrounded by a mosquito net. Already-purified water with ice cubes (non existent in Peru) is quite possibly a form of gold….
And last but not least, there is a lot to be learned from silence.
If you ever need time and a quiet place to sit and contemplate life for hours–uninterrupted and completely alone–I suggest making a trek to the Amazon jungle. Just bring your deet!
Let me rewind.
After our return from the Salkantay Trek Patrick and I took a night bus from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado—a little town on the border of the Amazon. *Note to self: NEVER, ever, EVER take a night bus to anywhere. We thought it was a brilliant idea. We’d leave at 9 pm, save money on a hostel for the night, and sleep our peaceful way to the Amazon. Turns out it’s pretty dang hard to sleep when a maniac driver is hauling around tight corners and windy mountain roads. Oh, and it gets better…
We dozed off. I woke up around midnight and the bus wasn’t moving. It was stuffy, stinky and it felt like it was 105 degrees inside the bus. I was surrounded by snoring, farting Latinos and it felt like we were slowly running out of air. When my claustrophobia started to get unbearable, I woke Pat up, and we left the bus. We realized we were in a line of parked buses on the side of the road. There had been a mudslide ahead, and we were stuck waiting until 6 am when someone would come clear it. This meant we had six hours of waiting in that prison of a bus…
We just couldn’t face the stink bus for six more hours. So, we got our blankets (why do they always give you blankets that barely cover your knees?) and made a little nest in the road. Yup. The ultimate test of pride—we slept in the street. (Don’t tell my mom).
I know, way flattering photo right?
You see homeless people “sleeping in the streets,” but do you ever stop to think about how it actually feels to sleep on asphalt? I’ll tell you how if feels so you don’t have to wonder anymore. Asphalt is hard and cold. Not comfortable. Not even close to comfortable. But in that exhausted moment, I was honestly just grateful to have a crappy blanket and some cold asphalt for a bed.
We finally made it. But heck, that was just the beginning of our journey. From Porto Maldonado we took an hour boat ride down a river, then hiked through ankle-deep mud for another hour and a half.
MOM ARE WE THERE YET?
We then had to take a canoe across a giant croc-infested lake to where we’d be staying that night. The canoe ride lasted an eternity. The sun was BRUTAL. It beat down on us, frying our exposed skin, and the humidity made it almost hard to breath. But, after an hour of painfully slow progress with one wooden oar, we made it.
Home sweet home.
We were served an authentic lunch of rice, chicken and egg cooked in a leaf, then went on a (very muddy) hike through the jungle and saw some incredible wildlife. Trees that were more than 500 years old, turtles, monkeys, tarantulas, giant butterflies and even some jaguar footprints.
Ok, let’s talk about the outfit I have going here…lookin good said no one ever when talking about a $3 Hollywood shirt bought from a shop in Peru, stretchy pants, rubber boots and a Dora the Explorer hat. Mmm hmmm, the Amazon brings out my best look I think. 😉
It’s not uncommon to find anacondas swimming around in those marshes. We didn’t see any, but talk about p-a-r-a-n-o-i-d.
The inside of this butterfly is bright blue. The outside is supposed to resemble an owl’s eye on one half, and a snake head on the other. Pretty cool.
Those roots though…
Jaguar footprints. FRESH jaguar footprints.
By this point, the heat was really starting to get to me I think…
I learned a lot from our two days in the Amazon. It’s a brutal but beautiful place, and I’m incredibly grateful we had the chance to experience it.
Before we left Peru, we got to explore Cusco and the surrounding countryside a little bit. I’m so glad we did, because it’s a darling place with lots to see and lots to explore. We rented a motor scooter and spent the day cruisin through the rain.
Just look at that smokin husband of mine…
OK hello there Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Thanks Peru, you’ve been good to us.