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The Peruvian Amazon - October 2022

Updated: Jan 16, 2023

Well, I finally made it to the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest in Northeastern Peru. This was a very dramatic trip for me as it was the first time I had traveled alone in over two years and was not at all sure how I would handle this after my recovery. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised. I started out by catching a redeye flight out of Los Angeles LAX for a 9 hour flight to Lima Peru. Then a 6 hour layover in Lima where I boarded a 2 hour flight to the jungle border town of Iquitos Peru. Here I stayed overnight at the Victoria Regia Hotel a very nice modern hotel I might add. That first night we took a stroll through downtown Iquitos with our guide, Victor. Victor would stay with us for the entire 10 day trip. Iquitos is a sort of wild city on the very edge of the rainforest and is only accessible by plane or river boat.

On the Left above is a view of Iquitos from my hotel room and to the right, these are called Tuk-Tuks and are the primary mode of transportation in Iquitos. There are very few cars.

The next morning we boarded a small boat for a two hour ride down the Amazon River to our lodge which was right on the banks of the river in the middle of the jungle.

My lodge hut room was one of the closest to the jungle. These had no windows or air conditioning they were just had screens on the windows and otherwise open to the jungle. Power from a generator was available several times a day for a few hours. Otherwise this was quite nice considering where we were.

The sounds at night of the insects, frogs, and who knows what animals, were just so loud! being from Southern California where we just have no insects this seemed deafening at first. However, after I got used to it this was like music to my ears and actually quite relaxing.

Each day we would take some time to hike through the nearby Jungle led by our guide, Victor, and what an amazing experience that was to just get immersed in nature. As my friend Connie would say "it's the greatest expression of life on earth!" and that it is. The healing power of this place I noticed immediately. My early afternoon fatigue disappeared and my vision improved dramatically. I could see clearly all the way to the opposite bank of the river. I wonder if this had to do with the oxygen level in this place as I was told there was ~ 20% more oxygen where we were compared to back home in LA.

On day two we had an opportunity to plant a tree during one of our short hikes. In the photo below, my friend Connie Grauds and I are standing in front of a "Walking Palm Tree" or Socratea exorrhiza. These trees are purportedly able to walk or rather move up to 65 feet in one year to seek out the best sunlight. See this link.

On day three, in addition to our jungle hike we visited a local village of the Yagua Tribe. These indigenous people were very gracious and hospitable sharing with us their culture.

During this visit I noticed a sharp contrast between the older generations and the very young that are being taught in classrooms. I would call these a people in transition from the old ways to the new. I had the opportunity to visit the younger kids in their schoolhouse. The yellow boat dropping off the kids is, of course, the Amazon School Bus! What a treat that was! If you notice the kids climbing up the river bank, this was low river season and the river rises and falls approximately 40 feet during the year. It actually rises to about 4-5 feet above the top of this bank. To account for this every hut home building is raised and built on stilts. In the photos below you will notice the schoolhouses are just frame and boards. The cutouts have no windows or screens and there is no electricity or AC. I will add that it was so refreshing to see these kids we all so happy and cheerful and that with no modern electronic games or TV.

In the photo below I was thrilled and a bit concerned when one of the Yagua Tribe kids handed me their pet baby sloth to hold. I was very hesitant at first when I saw the claws on this thing but it turned out to be very very docile. Or maybe it was being unnoticeably, very aggressive, and attacking me but only at sloth speed! : )

In summary, it was a wonderful rainforest immersion trip and I got to experience some short jungle hikes too. I even got used to being wet all the time due to the humidity and heat and with no AC. Can't wait to go back!

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