Amazon Jungle Tour: Part II
Read about part I here: Amazon Jungle Tour Part I
After evacuating our original lodge location, we headed back out into the boats to go 30 minutes further down the river, deeper into the jungle. By this point it was already very late afternoon and I was disappointed we were losing out on so much for our first day. But I was happy to be going to a different lodge!
As we approached the new lodge it definitely looked like an improvement. Still rural, but at least in better condition and a bit cleaner! However, as we drew closer there was no one to be found anywhere. The tour organizer explained there hadn’t been a way to contact them and let them know we were coming so it may be a little while while things were set up. As we pulled up to the dock Pablo looked at me and said, “I feel like we’re in Jurassic Park and a velociraptor is going to come charging out of the jungle any minute!” It was a very accurate description of the look of the new place.
We hung out in the main room area while our tour person wandered around shouting “Hola? Hola?” trying to find someone who worked there. Eventually he did and they went to work on setting up our rooms. Another hour or so passed while we waited with nothing to do. We could have swam in the river, but it was such a thick brown color I did NOT trust what could be hiding in there or have any desire to jump beneath the waters. So we just sat around waiting some more.
Soon updates came through of more problems. Turned out Raul not only owned the other lodge we were going to stay at originally but also the boats. So we now had no means of transportation. Tony, the guide for the other group, was going to go to the village down the river to see if anyone would rent boats for us to use. Raul also had much of the food and the cooks for us. So they were going to also go to village to try to hire a cook for us. Finally, Raul was supposed to be our guide and since he was now out of the picture we had no one to take us around anywhere. They were working on finding a cell phone and reception to make a call back to Iquitos to get a guide for us the next morning.
I was less than thrilled hearing all these updates. Things continued downhill from there as only one boat was able to be located to use. And the boat was so old and run down it was full of holes. This meant constant bailing of water was required when in it to avoid sinking. We got used to having water filling the boat above our ankles at all times and had to switch off turns in scooping it out. We also had to share the boat with the other family since once still hadn’t been found for us.
It also happened to be Saturday night now so all the villagers were out dancing and no one wanted to come work as a cook! The other family didn’t have an issue with this and said they were fine just heating up rice and eating that for dinner. While I didn’t want to be a snob, we had paid a LOT of money for this and one of the things I had read in the reviews was about the great meals provided. I was hungry! I don’t mind cooking myself and doing dishes and everything, but it wasn’t what I had been planning on and was not worth paying so much money for. But that’s what we did, we had plain spaghetti with some chopped up beets we found in the cupboards at this abandoned place and some carrots, onions and tomato that had been brought with us. Tony went out to spear some fish from the river so the others had that as well.
It took quite a while to cook, chop, eat and clean everything. We had only a few knives to work with so it was slow going and I was getting grumpier and grumpier about this whole thing. Tony took us on one walk around the lodge (since the boat situation was still up in the air) and that was cool, but he was the guide for the other family. They were nice and told us we could tag along with them since we didn’t have one, but they were very interested in learning about plants- I wanted to see animals! After stopping every 5 minutes to discuss the history, life cycle, uses and every possible detail of dozens of plants, I was pretty much done. It was dark and I was tired of being hot, sweating, having bugs buzzing, being hungry and having no idea if things would improve the next day. The one positive surprise was that the mosquitoes actually weren’t as bad as I was anticipating. Our bug spray worked well and we had treated our clothes before going as well. While they were buzzing and flying around us, at least we weren’t getting eaten alive!
When we finally got the boat we all crammed into it (taking turns bailing) and took a quick trip towards the village. We did see a giant tarantula on our hike to the village and a cayman as well. The village itself was tiny and there was a huge party with tons of loud music and dancing. We stayed a little while to check it out but it wasn’t really anything I was excited about and we headed back after a bit. We were told the next morning would be better! We should have more food, a cook and our guide there by 8:00am. We climbed into our bed wrapped in mosquito netting, still sweating, but thankful the heat had reduced slightly.