Thursday, June 25, 2015

today i got up at about 3 because we had to be at the isa office at 4 am. i walked. it was really interesting, there were no cares, no people, no honking, nothing. just the streetlights and my thoughts. i got to the isa office and we left for the airport. we got there, checked our bags and went to our gate. we loaded a bus and loaded the plane on the tarmac. it was a nice plane, another baby but it flew nicely. 
we landed in iquitos, which is the capital of the loreto region. it is also one of largest cities in the world that can only be accessed by boat and plane. right off the bat, after getting off the plane, it was hot and sticky, but manageable. having lived in iowa my whole life, humidity is seldom a problem. we claimed our luggage and went to get on the bus that was driving us to the port city. on our way, we stopped at a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center. we walked in, and saw the turtle pits first; there were some really big and also some small ones. there were a ton in the little pit. then we walked a little more and saw some things on the way. the next animal was a sea otter, she was so cute. i love otters so much. right after the otter, there was a monkey and sloth house. it was full of animals but we didn't see any. however, there was a monkey named diego that they had tried to release multiple times, but failed. he keeps coming back, and enjoys humans a lot. he climbed all over you, tried to take your things, tried to kiss you, everything a crazy monkey could do; he did. we kept moving to the main event, the manatees. the manatees are here because of attempted poaching, killed mothers, boats or other accidents. we washed our hands and went to look. they were beautiful. we grabbed some leaves and got to feed them. they were soft and smooth, but their mouths were like spiders. they grabbed and grabbed with their mouths. they were beautiful. we also saw some macaws, and a baby sloth that was held by one of the workers. this was such a cool place. 
we left for the rest of the ride to the port city, nauta. we stopped when we got to the city, and went to a lagoon in the center of the city. we walked up to a view point/gazebo and got some bread. we were trying to feed the paiche, and we succeeded. they are the biggest fish in the amazon, sometimes 3 or 4 meters long. there were catfish, caimans, lots of turtles, and of course paiches. the paiches were gigantic, i mean some were 6 or more feet, and had bright red scales. there were tons of turtles, a few gigantic ones, and also a caiman. after feeding for a while, we went to the dock and loaded a boat for the amazon river tour and trip to our bungalows. 
we went downstream and met where the marañón and ucayali converge to form the official start of the amazon. it was awesome! gigantic, brown with extremely strong currents. i was a little scared to be honest. not for my life, because i am a strong swimmer but for my stuff; these boats were rickety and not exactly level and would often waver side to side. but we were fine, of course. we went up stream about an hour and a half to our bungalows for the next two nights. it was awesome. there were two little ponds, a meeting place, a dining room and the bungalows; all in the middle of the amazon forest. the bungalows were awesome, nice bathroom, a deck, and 7 beds. the one bad thing was there was only electricity from about 6-10 at night. 
we ate lunch, which was great, then had to wait for the rest of the group to arrive (they missed the flight because they slept in). when they arrived, we split into two groups and went on an evening/night hike. the amazon was wonderful. it was similar to the forests of costa rica, but more extravagant. we didn't see many animals, sadly, but we did hear so many sounds. there were bugs, frogs that could be heard for a mile away, birds, monkeys, fish from the river and everything else you could imagine. it was great to walk through the forest, it was very hilly and extremely dark after the sun went down. it was so dark it was disorientating. we walked for a couple hours then went back for dinner. 
dinner was good, of course the cooks are fabulous. after dinner, most headed to bed soon because we all had an extremely long day. i hit the hay quickly. i woke up once in the night to the rain, and it was like a noise machine, i loved it. i should have recorded it so i could fall asleep to it in the future. 
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