Ian & Claire's Adventure
Day 1 We left our hostel at the crack of dawn to meet up with our new comrades for the long trip over the Andes into the Manu Reserve which is part of the Amazon basin. It had been lashing it down with rain ever since the sun festival and we were told that there was freak weather at eth moment. When we saw the beast that was to take us there we weren't too concerned (see photos). All was fine until we started to climb up into the Andes when it started to get colder and colder. We stopped for a breather at the pre-inka burial site called the Chullpas high in the hills but it was short lived as it was already damn cold. High on the Andean trail before dropping down into the jungle the rain turned to snow, proper English winter snow, passing Xmas trees on the way. Noe, one of the two guides for the trip, had never seen this in the 4 years that he had been a guide and had only seen snow once in his life when he was 8 years old. Dry season my ass. This was the doing of the Patagonian cold front which was meant to be good luck for seeing mammals feeding and drinking by the river. More like an Arctic front. Very funny. We stopped briefly lower down for lunch in a proper little rural community called Paucartambo. A good taste of the food to come. Suddenly we were hit by fog as we stopped at eth entrance to Manu at the aptly named cloud forest. We nipped out to catch a glimpse of the rainforest below but the clouds were below us and we only managed to see Lamas wandering our in the mist. Odd. Once we dropped below the clouds the rainforest opened up below us to an amazing sight. Exactly how you imagine it but with much scarier roads. A cliff on one side and a cliff drop on the other. We dropped a few thousand feet on these really rough roads but luckily our driver had been doing this for 40 years and we had tires like tractor tires. We arrived late; well pitch black to our lodge in San Pedro. A wooden platform with wooden beds, each with its own mosquito net. We had a really nice hearty meal and headed straight tout back onto the trail to look for night life. Thankfully uneventful. I don't think anyone was prepared at that point to see what there really is out there. Claire stayed awake most of the night with the noises but despite my spider paranoia, I slept like a rainforest log.