OMG, so it´s been so LONG since I wrote my last blog, so I hope you´re prepared for a really long one...If you can really be bothered I´ve included all the Cuzco stuff which isn´t really that great, or you can skip down to the **** for the Amazon stuff!
Last time I wrote I´d just managed to fall down a flight of stairs and lose my sleeping bag over the side of a boat in Copacobana... Thankfully I have no more serious losses or injuries to report... the dry cleaning place did a great job with the sleeping bag and now it´s good as new!
So we left Copa and jumped on a bus to Cuzco... or rather we jumped on 3 buses to Cuzco... the first took us to the border of Bolivia and Peru (which seriously had 9 Aussies out of 11 passengers!!!), we then got to carry all our bags across the border and swap to another bus to take us to Puno. When we got off at Puno the guy who´d been accompanying us kind of disappeared so we were all worried we´d been stooged... lol. The good news is that it happens to everyone... he did come back, and even brought our tickets with him! So we got on our FINAL bus to Cuzco which was SO HOT!!!! I felt so sick the whole way there... luckily the bus which was supposed to take from 9:30pm to 6:30am somehow got us there 2 hours early... Lucky til we got to our hostel and had to wait 8.5 hours for a room that is! Alex kindly popped down to say hi at 6am (somewhat confused about the time and how sober he was! lol)
Saturday was the day that Fi was moving on from Cuzco and on to Quito so we had a lovely farewell lunch at the main square where we got to catch up on the adventures with Fi, Alex, Andrew and Damian so far... always some funny stories! That night there was a rock band in the hostel, and Kirbs and I managed to get a bed to share between us! It was great hearing the locals singing English songs with such strong accents... sometimes not really sure if it was in Spanish or English! That night we ended up at a really cute chilled out place called Bullfrog which had cushions on the floor, and all this beautiful artwork on the walls (that we kept knocking off! lol)
The next day we managed to get our own private room, and ate at our favourite place in Cuzco - Jacks! After the massive bus ride and night before it was time for a quiet night in, and I was FAST asleep by midnight!
In Cuzco we´ve really just been chilling out... lol. As you might have noticed... the next day was the last day with the boys before they moved on to Lima, so we just hung out with them, played some pool and hit up the markets... Kirbs and I had lunch at a Peruvian place called Bembo´s which is kind of like their local Maccas but was a concept that two business students came up with... This was also the day that we first discovered that Loki had 4pm movies!!! SWEET! Kirbs and I made it back to Jack´s to dinner as we said hasta luego and a safe onward journey to the boys.
Tuesday was our day to get ourselves motivated and into gear, and Kirbs and I booked our AMAZON ADVENTURE!!!! 5 days in the Amazon just chilling out! We booked to stay in Tambo Jungle Lodge in Tambopata, Puerto Maldonado. As part of our walk to find a tour place and flights, we stumbled on the Temple of the Sun, and the 12 corner stone which represents the 12 precincts of Cuzco... it cost us 5 soles to find that out! lol. We then stoked up with new torches and binoculars and were set to leave the next day!
************ AMAZON ***************
So, the flight to the Amazon was sweet as! So great after such LONG bus rides!!!! So nice to be on and off a vehicle within an hour!!!
When we got into Puerto Maldonado we hit the local market where we got to sample some local produce (nuts and roots....) before we headed down the Madre de Dios river to the lodge... turns out Kirbs and I had our own personal tour guide which was SWEET AS! He was an absolute crack up, and spoke awesome English too!
That afternoon we went on a jungle walk... did I mention that it was between 42-45C everyday?? Freaking GORGEOUS weather!!! VERY hot tho with the humidity!!!! On our walk we saw (and heard) a red howler monkey, and a walking palm tree. OUr guide had the most INCREDIBLE eyesight and also managed to pick out a CHICKEN TARANTULA as well as fireflies... The fireflies were SO cool (as was the tarantula) but the whole time I kind of felt like I was on some setup jungle walk in Disney world or something... so hard to grasp how much stuff there is out there in the wild and how close it all is! I started to get really freaked out as the last person on the path as it instantly went from day to night and I started thinking about all the horror movies I´ve seen! Hahaha. Serves me right I guess! We made it back in one piece though!
The next day we went to Sandoval Lake and completed our 8km walk (or hike...) where once again Julio managed to spot the impossible... we were lucky enough to see 4 of the 6 giant otters that live at the lake (apparently quite rare to see!!!) as well as a Kingfisher, caiman (mini crocs) and HEAPS of turtles and butterflies! As always, I was amazed at how good his eyesight was... he even spotted these TINY bats that we´re on a tree trunk that had me saying `where are they I can´t see them?!?!?!´for AGES!!!
That night we went spotlighting for caiman and also saw some bats and night owls. Julio also explained to Kirbs and I that we were cruda (rare) to the locals... I was adamant that I was only merdio cruda (medium rare) cause I was a bit drker than Kirbs... lol.
On Friday we headed to the Taricaya project where they do rehabilitation work with the animals. From there we did some short walks to check out the animals in rehab (a gorgeous jaguar named Princess was one of them!) and we also saw a woodpecker in the trees!! From there we also did the scariest thing I´ve done this trip... The canopy walk...
It doesn´t sound so bad, but I´ve only recently discovered my fear of heights... lol. So, first you climb up the 3 ladders to get to the iron cable walk way... it´s maybe 50m long, so not so bad... the first 15m are basically straight, so we´re doing fine... you also have to leave a gap of 10m between each of us... and of course the brigde creaks and groans like it´s going to snap every now and again to keep you on your toes... there are mini planks of wood running across which I guess are to help you keep your footing, only quite a few are broken, snapped or missing... So after the first 15m the bridge begins to sweep up, on about a 45 degree angle... well, it would probably be a 45 degree angle only it sweeps up, so the last part is by far the steepest... So we made it to the top, and we´re standing at the top of a tree (the type they call Mother of the Forest cause they are so tall and live so long) when I remember my lesson from the mine... there´s only ever one entrance and exit... we have to go back down the same way... Fantastic... So we start to go back down, and with every step I take I´m convinced I´m about to tip the bridge (or it´s about to snap) and I´m going to fall the 42m straight down to the floor of the jungle... I have NEVER held onto anything so tight in my life as did to the sides of that bridge... It must have taken me 20m to make it back across, I was SO PERTRIFIED that I couldn´t even start to sweat til I made it back to the ground, and when I did my legs were shaking... Hahaha. I guess the good news is that I´ve done it now! Hahaha. Poor Kirbs started to feel sick so we called the day short early and went back to the lodge.
The next day we went into Puerto Maldonado and checked out the town again, before heading back to the lodge for a spot of fishing... I got nothing but fish nibbling the bait off my line, while Kirbs was lucky enough to catch a catfish which we then snacked on for dinner!
On our lst day we were up at 4:30am to check out the claylicks to see the parrots, macaws and parakeets socialising and eating the clay... very cool and surreal. Beautiful to watch them all... that morning we got the plane back to Cuzco after farewelling everyone at the lodge. We had such an amazing time there and the staff were amazing!!! We were so lucky to fluke such a great place! We had 3 course for EVERY meal, and were spoiled rotten for choice.
Now we´re back in Cuzco where we´ve just had a MASSIVE day of shopping... on Friday Matt flies in and then we´re off on the inca trail on Sat for 4 days. We´re then flying to Lima on the 19th where I´ve got 2 more days before Spain!
Hopefully there´ll be one last South American blog before then!
Thanks to everyone who´s been posting on the message board, they always make me laugh or smile or both...
Love you and miss you all lots!