A review of Sunday, June 20, 2010Four tour guides and a driver of Rainforest Expeditions picked us up from the airport, put our luggage on top of the bus and took us to the office (about a 15-minute ride from the airport) for welcome drinks (cocona juice). We rested and left our big luggage, the luggage we would not need for the next five days, there.

Four tour guides and a driver of Rainforest Expeditions picked us up from the airport, put our luggage on top of the bus and took us to the office (about a 15-minute ride from the airport) for welcome drinks (cocona juice).

Our first boat ride in Peru. The boat ride to our lodge was about 2.5 hours, and we ate fried rice.

Our first boat ride in Peru. The boat ride to our lodge was about 2.5 hours, and we ate fried rice.

The rice was inside banana leaves, so we were able to throw our trash in the river. I love that the people try to have biodegradable products.

The rice was inside banana leaves, so we were able to throw our trash in the river. I love that the people try to have biodegradable products.

It was dark when we arrived to our lodge, but lines of kerosene lamps beautifully lit it.

It was dark when we arrived to our lodge, but lines of kerosene lamps beautifully lit it.

We left the hotel around 9 a.m. and dragged our luggage through the small streets of Cuzco to where the bus was waiting for us. My luggage was top-heavy, and it flipped over eight times. We also had llamas in our way.

Rafael and his wife met us at the airport with our tickets, and we took a last picture with them. Rafael was thankful for the tip and the OU hats. He wore the OU hat immediately!

Our flight from Cuzco to Puerto Maldonado was about 30 minutes, and we saw beautiful views while flying.

Four tour guides and a driver of Rainforest Expeditions picked us up from the airport, put our luggage on top of the bus and took us to the office (about a 15-minute ride from the airport) for welcome drinks (cocona juice). We rested and left our big luggage, the luggage we would not need for the next five days, there.

Next, we took a 45-minute bus ride to the dock while munching on our snacks (banana chips, sugar-coated Brazilian nuts, an orange and cocona juice) and listening to a tour guide inform us about Puerto Maldonado.

We picked someone up on the way to the dock. I offered to let the man sit by me. He was very nice, and I practiced Spanish with him. He told me his name is Pedro and that he’s from the area. He later helped us load our bags on to the boat.

The boat ride to our lodge was about 2.5 hours, and we ate fried rice. The rice was inside banana leaves, so we were able to throw our trash in the river. I love that the people try to have biodegradable products.

There are three lodges along the Tambopatha River owned by Rainforest Expeditions; ours is called Refugio Amazonas, and it is the second lodge.

We stopped a few times to look at caimans, turtles, birds, capybaras (the largest living rodent in the world; looks like a giant guinea pig) and howler monkeys. We also stopped at the National Tambopatha Reservation to register, pay fees and get our passports stamped (the stamp is not mandatory; just for fun).

I can’t believe I am in the Amazon! It was neat to see our lodge at night surrounded by kerosene lamps. I was excited to see what it would look like in the morning.

Our rooms have mosquito nets and only three walls…this means pumas, snakes and other critters may be cuddling with me tonight! We put our snacks and medicine in a vault so we don’t attract animals. Our showers are all-around see-through with no hot water–talk about embracing nature!

We had cream of tomato soup, tallarines saltado de lomo, yucca fries and rice and milk pudding by candlelight prepared by our lodge in the Amazon. I find it amazing that our food is cooked with stone pots and coal, our towels are handwashed, we use kerosene lamps and candles…but we have Wi-Fi at certain hours. Welcome to the 21st century in the Amazon!

We went hunting for caimans in a canoe-like boat in pure darkness finding some baby caimans! As we hiked to the dock, we encountered many spiders the size of my hand! Welcome to the Amazon?

Our lodge and my first night in the Amazon: We have only three walls in our room, and they’re made of bamboo and thin with no doors or windows; showers have clear curtains, toilet stalls have curtains; hot and humid; no electricity or hot water; bugs and bats: candles with a broken lighter; I heard snoring, talking, animal noises throughout the night; I sprayed my mosquito net with 40% deet bug spray while in it and couldn’t breath. Just a few of the many Amazon adventures!

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