It’s a beautiful day as Trisha and I leave Dallas and 60 degrees heading for the summertime warmth in Peru. Our flight leaves at 5:00 pm and arrives at 1:00 am but we are flying business class so it will go by quickly. Our hotel is across from the airport in Lima.
On Sunday morning we got up early for breakfast and met our guide and group in the lobby. Our tour of Lima was excellent and we ate sea bass at a museum restaurant before heading to the airport for our flight to Iquito and then the bus to our ship.
On Monday morning Trisha woke me up at 5:30 am excited about the day and not certain of the time. I slept for another hour and then we met everyone in the lounge for our introduction to the ship and our schedule.
After breakfast we put on our rubber boots and climbed into skiffs for our jungle trip. For a couple of hours we explored the wild and found snakes, including an Anaconda, tarantulas, poisonous frogs, butterflies, huge snails and ants. We completed the trip through the forest at a gigantic tree where we took a group photo.
After returning to the ship, eating lunch, and relaxing for a couple of hours, we climbed into the skiffs once again and spent three hours traveling the river shoreline taking photos of birds, Iguana’s, pink dolphins and other wildlife.
We returned to the ship and relaxed in the outdoor rooftop lounge and getting to know each other better. One couple, healthy as good be, surprised us when we learned they had been married for 66 years and were 88 and 89 years old.
Dinner was at 7:30 and as usual, the food was special and very good. Tomorrow is New Years Eve and we have been promised a special evening celebration.
On Tuesday morning we got up early, had breakfast, and then boarded skiffs for our forest tour. We saw monkeys including the pocket monkey – the worlds smallest primate, spiders, a rubber tree, wasp nests, and spent a considerable time walking on suspension bridges across forest valleys.
After lunch we rested and then boarded skiffs to explore the river and photograph birds, monkeys, iguana’s, and other wildlife. The weather was perfect and our guides were excellent.
This was New Years eve so our ship’s crew prepared us for a midnight celebration. In Peru it is a custom to burn a puppet of yourself to signify that you are renewed going into the New Year. So, at midnight we watched our crew burn a puppet and they also surprised us with fireworks on the river.
Because of the late night celebration we slept in on Wednesday morning and after a relaxing breakfast we headed into the village where we learned just how advanced native villages were becoming and how an organization, supported by National Geographic called Murco Peru was helping villagers in so many ways.
The children in the village were excited to see us and many held our hands as we walked through the village and explored their way of life. The village had its own pharmacy and evangelical church. I was very surprised to see electricity in use, concrete sidewalks, and a pretty advanced educational system. Trisha contracted a flu bug & was surprised when the village shaman offered her some jungle moonshine remedy. Of course she accepted.
After returning to our ship for lunch and a lecture we headed out to a lake to swim with the pink dolphins. Although we only saw a few dolphins the water was warm and clean and we enjoyed the swim. Then we headed out again to photograph birds and wildlife around the shorrline in our skiffs. We saw many bird species and monkeys as well.
After dinner back on the shop we watched a movie about the extreme seasonal changes in the Amazon and the adaptations that plant and animal life had undergone.
The weather was perfect all day and we could not have asked for a netter day. It has, however, been a hard adjustment for me given the total lack of access to the internet, email, facebook etc.
We got up very early on Thursday morning, boarded our skiffs, and headed out to a lake where we got to see hundreds of egrets feeding in a very small pocket of water where fish were evidently very abundant. It was a most amazing experience being surrounded by so many large birds and that was the highlight of the trip so far.
After returning for lunch and a demo on towel art by the crew followed by an introduction and tasting of the fruits of Peru, we boarded our skiffs again late in the afternoon and explored the forests in the flooded areas of the nearby lakes.
We got to see large lily pads, cayman’s, tons of birds and experience the depths of the Amazon forests in the closest way possible given the normal seasonable flooding.
We left after dark and watched as bats came out and fished the streams as we returned to our ship for another excellent peruvian dinner.
On Friday morning we awoke early and headed out immediately on our skiffs for early morning bird and wildlife watching several miles from our ship. After an hour or so pur guides tied the three skiffs together on the river bank and then they served us a very nice luxury breakfast complete with cutlery and white gloves.
We then visited a village of about 20 families and purchased some local art and keepsakes before returning to the ship for lunch and a nap. It was amazing to see a satellite dish and TV and generator in the village. How times have changed.
Mid afternoon we hopped onto our skiffs and went to another village to watch a local soccer match between the children with two kids from our group joining the teams on a muddy field.
We then took a very long skiff ride into the forests to see more monkeys, birds and wildlife with a stop for a swim on a stormy and rainy afternoon.
On Saturday we woke up to an Amazon rainstorm which continued until the afternoon. So, we all visited on the upper deck, read in our rooms and enjoyed the local adult refreshments including bloodymary’s. Our bartender, Christian, taught us how to make a Pico sour.
When the rain finally quit we boarded our skiffs and enjoyed seeing pink dolphins in the river and monkey’s in the trees.
After a really good BBQ dinner the staff band played local music for us and we all danced with two of them dressed up in local tribal clothing. We went to bed very early as wakeup call Sunday morning (our last day) will be 5:45 am.
We boarded our skiffs at 6:15 am Sunday morning and saw many very friendly monkies along the shoreline in the trees. You can tell an Amazon monkey as (unlike Africa and Asia monkey’s) they have long tails and stay in the trees.
After returning to the Delphin 2 for breakfast we left again to visit a local village where we explored, learned about their food and medicines and then visited the village market which opened after their church service.
Packing up to leave was difficult. This has been a memorable trip and traveling with my sister has been a special treat. The crew and guides and weather and the sights and sounds of the Amazon are a special memory as well.
After our last lunch we boarded our skiffs for the last time and rode to our bus for a 90 minute ride to a aquarium in Iquito where we saw manatees being rescued as well as monkeys and otters.
After our plane ride back to Lima we said goodbye to all of our new friends and guides before retiring to our hotel.
Our new guide leader called late and provided our boarding passes and instructions for the next step of our journey; a trip to the Cusco, a city at 11,000 feet above sea level.
We arrived in Cusco on Monday around noon and were greeted by our guide, Jessie Chavez who took us on a tour of the city. Our Novatel Hotel accomadations were very nice and they served a ginger squash soup that was delicious.
After our tour we went to the Monostary Hotel dining room where we enjoyed a great dinner with live music. The quinoa salad was spectacular. We were the only persons in the restaurant and so the service was great.
We got to sleep in on Wednesday morning. Jesse and driver picked us up around 9:30 am and we went on an all-day tour through the mountain valleys featuring several stops in small towns and a buffet lunch where we tried Alpaca for the first time. The photo opportunities were outstanding and at one point we were at an altitude of about 13,000 feet. It rained on and off but the temperature was perfect for travel. We returned for a very nice dinner off the square in Cusco after a nice walk. The shops are all open here and full of shoppers.
On Thursday we awoke early and rode the Hiram Walker train to Machu Picchu where we rode a bus to the top of the mountains and met a guide who took us on an excellent tour. The train trip was very memorable as well with live music, fabulous food and white glove service. We arrived home late the same day and were very tired. 10:00 pm so the streets were full of shoppers.
On Friday we flew back to Lima and our guide took us a brief tour of Lima and some close-by Inca ruins finished by a seafood dinner at a beautiful beach restaurant watching the sunset. We were then taken to the airport for our post midnight flight back to Dallas.
So many memories…..