I’m posting a bit out of order here, but with the wifi all over the place it’s easiest for me to just do it this way. So while I may not be able to post about the first week in Iquitos for a bit, you all can at least get a feel for where the AmazonCares team is here for week two.
After the first week of what can only be explained as pure unadulterated good hard work, we were all more than happy to head down to the dock of the Explorama Lodge and head down the Amazon for our two days of rest before doing it all over again. Bidding adieu to the hustle and bustle of Iquitos with one last sputtering ride in a motocart, we pulled into dock and waited for the boat.
We spent the early part of the week on a tributary of the Amazon called the Itaya River, so it was exciting to segue from the smaller waters to the deep brown waters of the mighty Amazon herself. It’s hard to explain the breadth of the river- looking from one bank to another felt as though you were looking across the shores of a lake.
I settled in for the three hour boat ride with my hat over my face and pretended I was Indiana Jones for a bit. No anacondas to be seen but the week is still young. At the end of the ride, we rounded a corner and pulled up to the ExplorNapo Lodge.
Despite being a city so remote it is not accessible by car, Iquitos was still at its heart a city. This- this is the rainforest. As soon as we stepped off the dock and inhaled the damp smell of wet wood and a hundred thousand plants closed about you, I felt like I had entered another world. If you’ve ever been to Disneyland and sat in line for the Jungle Cruise, you know the exact smell I am talking about. Except this time it’s for real.
As we entered the main lodge, we heard a high pitched “Hola! HOLA!” from the railing. It was this little guy:
Animal lover that he is, Dr. Mahaney wasted no time getting the bird onto his arm for a lovely photo opp. When I wandered over, he tried to pass the bird over to me, but he dug his claws into Patrick’s arm and refused to come see me. He must KNOW how I feel about avians. When I tried again he leaned down, grabbed a beakful of Patrick, and chomped. Better him than me I suppose.
After we dropped off our bags, I headed into the rainforest with June (one of the vet techs from Australia) and Nikka (vet volunteer and dog trainer from Tennessee). I saw no fer de lance snakes. They are out there, though. I looked down the whole time.
The lodge is amazing. Wandering through the grounds under thatch-covered pathways listening to the calls of a hundred varied birds, I decided this was a place I could get used to.
Surely you can understand why.
After lunch, we were told we could head to the ReNu Peru medicinal garden for a presentation by a shaman from a local tribe about the medicinal plants of the Amazon. It was an experience none of us would forget.