After a 4.30am wake up call, Clayton and I headed to Lima apirport for our 7am flight. We arrived starving and coffee depreived so hit up the Dunkin Donuts as soon as we arrived. The server struck up a conversation with me and, after ascertaining that Clayton was not in fact my boyfriend, nor my brother, solomnly decided to give me the hard sell about what a great boyfriend he would be. After finding out that I was in fact an old lady, (practically a grandmother in his eyes) he stuck to his guns and promised me that the 4 year age gap wouldnt make a difference. Obviously, im delighted that we can make it work and look forward to my new life with him. Since i got a free donut out of him on our first meeting, imagine how much sugar i could get gratis once we are married. So yeah, im psyched about this new prospect of mine.
After bading farewell to my new love (Yohan, if anyone is interested) Clayton and I headed through security to get our flight. There were 2 massive glass boxes filled almost to the brim with discarded weapons and confiscated items. You would not belive the s*** that people try to bring through Lima airport. We saw:
A pool cue
Several power drills
A roasting fork
A carving knife
many, many blenders (why oh why!?!)
A Bowie knife
And hundreds upon hundreds of scissors and knives.
It was absolutely brilliant! In the US, you would get arrested for even contemplating bringing those in your carry on, in Peru, its no problem. Some of these items were still in their original wrapping, so no doubt someones Christmas is coming early this year!
Anyway, flight to Iquitos was fine, it was a tiny plane and it made a stop 15 minutes in to another airport to pick up more people (like a flying bus it was) and, bizarrely, considering our flight time thus far, to refuel.
We flew over the Amazon and it was simply stunning, this massive river snaking its way through acres upon acres of green. I took photographs but I dont know if they will do the scene any justice. I doubt it.
Once we landed in Iquitos Clayton got chatting to a jungle guide and we have agreed to do a 4 day 3 night into the Amazon with them. Because its the rainy season we got it at a ridiculously cheap price, its pretty much costing us what Machu Picchu cost in a day, for the whole thing, including transport, food, drinks and lodging. We leave tomorrow in the morning and head up river by boat for a couple of hours and we will visit an Indian village and learn about herbal medicine and meet one of the Shamens , see the giant lily pads (so large a child can sleep on them, although not a Western kid i´m sure) try and see the pink Amazon river dolphin, and go to a hangout famous for tarantulas, eek!
We will also do some bird watching and see if we can see a 2 toed sloth. I really really want to see one, I feel we are kindred spirits. We will also take a shot at Pirhana fishing, whoot! We spend the nights in a thatched hut with no electricity but at least it will have cold water for showers. I left my deoderant back in Cuzco so already im pretty stinky, I decided my razor could use a break too so come the end of this little excursion im going to be smelly and hairy, delightful! What a thoughtful travelling companion I am!
We are currently staying at a nice hotel in Iquitos - we decided to splurge and spend 14 bucks on a place with A/C and a tv, AND hot water! Because we are spending the big bucks on that, we went to a little local restuarant for lunch and got THE biggest meal ever for peanuts. I nearly ordered the dish only for me, so im glad realization kicked it that it was going to be massive - we ended up with a steaming pile of meat, from pigs skin, to chorizo, to chicken and beef and something unidentifiable but bloody good. It came with chips and this bizarre salad that seemed to consist of white ribbons of something that tasted of absolutely nothing but was very moreish all the same. Upon leaving it was pissing it down with rain so now we are nice and soaked. I think this afternoon is going to be sleeping in front of the TV, just as I would at home!
Iquitos is a nice city with a faded glamour about it (thats what I think, Clayton thinks its a dump). It used to be the centre for rubber cultivation, and so a lot of the buildings have a grand old colonial style in a wonderful array of colours, all sadly neglected now. The walls may be peeling and the colours faded but I still think its rather majestic. The promenade along the edge of the river is spilling over with flowers and the view over the river is spectacular. There is a village thats all on stilts and floating houses in the middle of the river, hopefully when we get back from the jungle we will have a chance to check it out. Iquitos is expensive compared to the rest of Peru, because it doesnt have a road leading to it, it is only accessible by air or by boat. However, that doesnt stop it from being home to the ONLY golf course in the Amazon, (pretty impressive when you consider how massive the Amazon is, and how many countries it goes through), so we hope to play a round upon our return.
Well, thats about all my news to report, I imagine my next installment will be post jungle, so im hoping not to come down with Malaria in the meantime.