So when we last left you all, we had finally arrived at our second lodge…Erika Lodge on the Madre de Dios River and had gone on an interesting night walk through the jungle.
Overnight it rained a considerable amount so when we headed to the trail the next morning we found that a large section of it had been completely washed away. No worries though…our intrepid guides just pulled out their machetes and hacked us a new one! The first activity slated for us on that third morning was a jungle canopy tour via ziplines. For those who don’t know what a zipline is…basically you get harnessed in and attached to a cable then you “fly” from one platform to the next high in the trees. Here we are before our first flight:
And here we are individually arriving at one of the platforms:
We spent the afternoons wandering around the grounds of the lodge, taking naps, taking pictures…and spotting some more critters. Early one morning we saw a spider monkey swinging around outside our rooms…again, I’m cheating a bit on the pictures as the photo would have been too far to see anything and I’ve lifted this photo from a different website. Also…various bugs, flowers and other critters taken by both me and Lindsay.
This crazy bird (A Blue-throated Guan) showed up every afternoon for a snack of popcorn
On the final full day before heading back to Cusco we got up really early again (4 am) to make it to a local parrot clay lick. What is a clay lick, you might ask? Well…it’s just as it sounds…a large cliff made of clay where parrots land and “feed” early every morning. Apparently the clay contains all sorts of nutrients and minerals that are imperative for the parrots’ digestion and general good health. A picture is below (again, stolen).
The parrot clay lick
One of our guides returning from a fishing expedition
All too soon it was time to head back to Cusco so we got up early on Friday morning and boarded a bus for the long journey back. Things were going well…indeed we were ahead of schedule, when we ran into Calamity #1…this landslide:
Apparently it had happened the night before around 6 pm and as it was now 9 am the next day they had quite a crew working on clearing it. Estimates were frequently given at ”one more hour”….3 hours later the landslide (and a huge tree that came with it) were cleared and we were once again on our way.
Or so we thought. Forty minutes after finally progressing past the landslide…we achieved Calamity #2…a tire blew on our bus:
No worries…as it was lunch time, our guide got out the lunches that were packed for us back at the lodge. They were so adorable…and I’ve been slacking so much on food pictures lately…that I took a picture for you guys. Yep, that’s a banana leaf…the second picture shows what was in it. It was really, really good.
It seems that our driver was experienced at changing flats so soon we were on our way again. This time we made it out of the rainforest…out of the cloud forest and back into the Sacred Valley of the Incas before Calamity #3 struck…unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of this one but I think you can all use your imagination for the following scene: two buses and a mountain road only wide enough for one of them. After we all disembarked (just in case he went over the cliff?) the driver was able to back up and eventually maneuver around the other bus ultimately making it back to Cusco in the early evening unscathed.
OK, I’m light on text today but I’m in a hurry as I need to get to my Spanish class, run errands and head out for a night on the town for New Year’s Eve. Coming soon…how I spent my Christmas and New Year’s Eve, a little about my current location of Arequipa and finally you’ll get to meet the kids I’ve been working with in the orphanage. Also, I have a few more jungle critter pictures to include and since the next post might be lacking a bit, I’ll include them on the next post later this week. Happy New Year’s to all!
Sunrise in the jungle