Peru: The Amazon Edition

20 Jul

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The Road to the Amazon is Paved With…

36 canyon tunnels. We had to drive down a one-lane highway through 36 canyon tunnels to reach our destination.

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One of the 36 terrifying caves

FAQ:

Q: How does one do this safely?

A: Trick question. One does not do this “safely.” But one is granted an illusion of safety by leaving first thing in the morning, before there is too much traffic, and by laying on the horn the entire time.

 

Q: Well, what if another car comes while you’re driving through?

A: You need to be paying attention and one of you (the gringo) will need to put that baby in reverse and back, back, back it up.

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See what I mean? You can’t hear the horn, but I’m on it.

 

Refreshingly, we made it safe and ‘sound’ to the other side, and man, was it worth it. Look at this view!

 

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The Amazon? More like “The oh-DAMN-azon.”

 

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So, after taking a few more snapshots and listening to a book from audible based in the Amazon, we made it to our lodgings. On the way, we laughed at a land-locked restaurant that served ceviche, or, as they called it “beviche.” Does this stand for “best ceviche” in town? Does the “b” stand for “beuno?” I’ll give the marketing team a B+. It’s about the intrigue; and it definitely kept us talking.

After the beviche, we made it to Tingana, the organic eco-farm where we met locals hard at work and a couple from Argentina..

 

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Tingana.

 

We explored the lush landscape,

 

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Things that will hurt you in the jungle…

 

learned about the different plants,

 

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Things that will heal you from the things that will hurt you in the jungle.

 

watched the experts hard at work, and even got the chance to try some of the fruits. Muy delicioso!

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One of my favorite outings in this neck of the woods—ahem, excuse me, this neck of the jungle— was taking a boat down the river to explore the flora and fauna of the rainforest. We took a boat out during the day, and during the night.

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Half-expecting to see an alligator somewhere in here.

 

 

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Canopy views.

 

 

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Row, row, row your boat…

 

On the night tour: Imagine red, un-blinking eyes staring at you through the trees; animals communicating in the night; an alligator swimming past the boat, its eyes watching its prey (us) intently as it lingers on the surface. Just kidding— there are no alligators in this part of the Amazon. #thankgoodness

But, those red-unblinking eyes…that part is true. We used our headlamps to shine a light and see what animals were lurking; they were predominately spiders and other insects although we did spot a lot of blue heron and other beautiful birds sleeping in the trees (and attracted armies of moths in the process). We were able to get really close because it was so dark and quiet. Birds are so cute when they’re sleeping.

It was a magical Amazonian experience that would have been truly terrifying had we not been with experienced guides.

 


 

Some other highlights from this trip include but are not limited to:

1. Taking a tour of a Peruvian chocolate factory where I had the best chocolate of my life. I do not say this lightly. I don’t mess around with chocolate.

 

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The satisfied smiles of two incredibly happy chocolate eaters.

 

2. Meeting this adorable stray dog.

 

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Can we keep him, please?

 

3. Celebrating mi cumpleaños!! Ben woke me up with some of my favorite fresh fruit, palma de rosa, to be exact. We were also able to find this really massive (and delicious) cake at the nearby market. So we overdosed on cake, but the fruit from the morning balanced everything out… in a sense, it was a really healthy day…

 

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Happy birthday to moi!! Wait, wrong language…

 

Another time, early in this trip, when we made it to a town near Huarez known for its famous ice cream—how could we not stop here? Luckily, there was a group of nuns grabbing a quick cone. They were kind enough to advise us on our flavor choices, and I was baptized in the creamy deliciousness of their recommendations. Ice cream, around the world, is as close to heaven as it gets. Bless you, nuns. Bless you.

After some more wonderful food (including mini avocados without pits), more humbling encounters (including the one with our hostel host in Moyamba, who ended up planting one of the seeds from our palma de rosa and naming the tree after me), and our desperate search to find a cock-of-the-rock bird (a myth, I tell you!), we headed out on a Friday morning.

But the thrills weren’t over yet; while driving and intending to finish up our books on tape (shout out to Trevor Noah’s memoir; we couldn’t have done this without you), we happened upon a 17-piece marching band. They were amazing, so we pulled over to watch them perform. I’m not sure if they were rehearsing or if they were still stuck in their garage-band phase, but we were the band’s only audience. We really enjoyed ourselves, and the lack of onlookers somehow made the whole experience even more special. And hey, when they hit it big, I can say with the confidence of a craft-beer-drinking hipster that I knew about this 17-piece Peruvian band before they were cool.

All in all, this trip was most definitely a success. And to end this post, I’ll give you guys a few takeaways—some tidbits of prime travel knowledge, if you will:

1. If you buy a really cool hat in the Peruvian mountains and show it off in the Peruvian Amazon, don’t expect the locals to know what the hell you’re wearing. (a teaser to the next post)

2. “Tengo ganas” does not mean “I’m excited” in Spanish. It just doesn’t.

Your Amazon woman,
‘mi

One Response to “Peru: The Amazon Edition”

  1. Joan December 15, 2017 at 3:54 pm #

    Wow trip.Great pics. When do write your book?Love reading all you write.XXXOOO,Aunt Joan

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