Amazon Jungle Tour: Part III
The next morning we woke up to a new day. I was hopeful as one great thing I had read about this tour company was the fantastic banana pancake breakfasts they made! Sadly we were met with disappointment yet again as they still had not been able to locate a cook. So instead we had a pineapple (which was good) and some toast along with the leftover spaghetti from the night before. On top of this there was still no guide or boat in sight for us. Not off to a great start.
The tour organizer told us he was going to stay behind and wait for our guide to show up who would hopefully be there at lunchtime. Pablo and I had a quick pow wow discussing what we should do as we had paid way too much money for this tour and hadn’t gotten to do anything yet we wanted to! I specifically wanted to go see the giant floating lily pads, the part of the jungle where the monkeys lived and would come jumping in the boat with you, I wanted to see tropical birds (like toucans and macaws) and a sloth. I hadn’t checked anything off my list so far other than the pink dolphins which we had only seen a tiny glimpse of far in the distance. We were under the impression we’d be able to see them super close to the boat but that hadn’t happened yet either.
On top of this, the next day we would have to start making our back to Iquitos. This really left little time for us to see all these creatures. We decided to tell the tour guy that when our guide arrived at lunch time we would take a quick tour with him to some of the things we wanted to see but then would like to go back to Iquitos that evening and get some of our money back. It just wasn’t worth it to keep wasting so much time sitting around in the middle of the jungle with nothing to do. The way we saw it we could sit around there in the jungle without any fans or a/c, sweating to death with not much to eat or we could head back to Iquitos and have actual meals and a cool place to sit around.
Thankfully the tour guy was very understanding and super apologetic about the whole thing. He kept saying how nothing like this had ever happened before and he knew it was not what we had signed up for or what had been promised to us by the company. He told us he’d speak with the guide when he arrived and make sure all of our details were taken care of without any more issues.
So off we went into the sinking boat yet again for another hike with the Israeli family. I wasn’t too excited as I knew it would be very slow going examining every detail of all the plants along the way. But I was NOT expecting the adventure that would come as well. Most everyone in the group understood at least a little bit of Spanish so we went with Tony who spoke no English but was the guide for the group. He pointed out a great fruit to try that was at the top of a tree. Not to worry, he carried a machete with him and told us he would chop the tree down for everyone to try the fruit. He started hacking away and Pablo told me to keep an eye on the tree as we didn’t know where it was going to fall. Thankfully it did start to fall away from the group but as it came crashing to the ground we realized one of the Israeli aunts was standing right in its path. The tree landed on her head and knocked her to the ground.
You read that right, the tree literally landed on her head and was now laying on top of her on the ground. As we stood there in disbelief her family rushed over, yanked the tree away and pulled her to her feet. She appeared a bit dazed but overall looked like she was ok. This was a true blessing as we were hours away from any hospital and the only medical supplies we had on us were in Pablo’s small med kit he had packed. We offered up some bandaids and asprin but she declined saying she would be ok just needed a few minutes.
This is the moment everyone realized that she not only had a bump on her head but the tree had knocked her down into an army of fire ants. They were now crawling all over her, under her clothing and everywhere. Fire ants are VERY painful when they bite and it wasn’t long until the bites began. They immediately began stripping off her clothes to get rid of the ants and dumping water over her head to wash them away. This seemed to be working but in the process of tearing her clothes off the ants were transferring to everyone else! WHAT A MESS. I stood there in shock not believing this could all actually be happening, but it was!
Eventually the ants were taken care of, the aunt was re-dressed and everyone seemed to be recovering from the ordeal. Tony asked if we wanted to go back to the lodge but the aunt said she would be ok and they all wanted to keep hiking for a bit longer. The rest of the hike was fairly uneventful, mostly just boring again as we trudged through the foliage sweating buckets and not seeing any animals.
Back at the lodge the tour organizer was also shocked to hear the story of what had happened. It really was just the icing on the cake for the whole experience! Our guide and boat still had not shown up but arrived about 30 minutes later, hooray! He rushed out to explain what was going on but then learned that it was not the guide’s boat. The boat he had used to come out to the jungle needed to turn around immediately and head back to Iquitos. This meant we now had a guide but no boat to go anywhere. They told us they would go to the village again and look for a boat for us to use but by then Pablo and I had had enough. Locating the boat would take at least a couple more hours which would put us in late afternoon. I was DONE with sitting around for hours waiting with nothing to do. We were told our only other option was to go back to Iquitos right that minute with this boat and we made the decision to do just that.
The tour company was very apologetic and did everything they could to make it right in the end. The tour organizer guy came back with us so he could explain everything to the head guy. By the time we arrived several hours later to the city they had already reserved and paid for a hotel room for us. And they apologized profusely and refunded us for 2/3 of our money. They asked us how much we thought we should get back and we probably could have asked for it all but we felt that was fair. They had been so polite and attentive trying to make things right for us and had paid for all the transportation for us to get into the jungle and back. So we walked away disappointed with our experience but definitely feeling like we made the right choice in leaving it early. And we have no desire to go back to the jungle ever again.