Thursday, February 15, 2007

From the Desert, to the Amazons, to the Andes...

And such is Peru, a country where you can be relaxing at a desert oasis one day, paddling on the Amazon river the next, and climbing the Andean peaks the day after. During the last two weeks we have been thoroughly enjoying the various climates and ecological zones of Peru.
After Superbowl Sunday in the desert city of Ica, we made our way to Lima where we caught a plane to Iquitos. This Amazonian city is the largest city in the world that can´t be reached by road of any kind, only by boat or by plane. Due to an extraordinary stroke of luck, we got free vouchers to use on the airline LanPeru, which gave us the opportunity to go to the jungle.
After a couple days acclimatizing ourselves to the intense heat and humidity of Iquitos, we booked ourselves an overnight jungle tour, complete with our personal guide and an overnight stay in the jungle lodge. This all sounds very Disney-like, however the experience was far from a fairytale!
The first thing we noticed when we arrived to the lodge 90 km outside of Iquitos were the mosquitoes, which literally came in swarms. Luckily we had purchased plenty of bug repellent (which we applied liberally every 10 minutes). Our guide was a crazy 22-year-old jungle guy who showed us the local flora and fauna. We took jungle walks, canoe rides, went fishing, and visited a local community. During the two days we were there we saw giant poisonous frogs, boa snakes, monkeys, birds of all kinds, tarantulas, giant iguanas, lizards, pink fresh water dolphins, sloths, huge poisonous ants, and many other things I can´t pronounce or remember. I even caught a piranha which Gaizka later ate for lunch!
Though everything was amazing, we were constantly watching our backs to make sure the snakes, frogs, ants, and mosquitoes weren´t following us. We left the jungle having experienced something incredible that we´ll never forget.
After our flight back to Lima, we waited in the airport for a few hours for the arrival of Bert, a friend from Spain who will be travelling with us for the next few weeks. We spent the following 4 days in Lima, visiting with the kids we worked with from Generacion. (I assume most of you know about our volunteering experience from October to December where we worked with street kids in Lima, Gaizka teaching sports and me teaching music...if you don´t know, it´s a story for another time...).
It was great to see the kids again, and hang out with our good friend Pepe for a few hours. Though we were excited to see everyone, we found out that one of the kids had gotten into a bad accident and is in the hospital unconscious. Our prayers and thoughts go out to him...
Two days ago we left Lima and took an overnight bus to the Andean town of Huaraz, where we are currently. Today we took a rather long and bumpy ride on a tourist bus to visit the very interesting ruins a few hours away. After much debate, we´ve decided not to do a long trekking excursion (the weather and money conditions aren´t favorable), so we´ll probably do one more day excursion to some lagunas. We´ll be back someday, and then we´ll tackle a longer trek...
So, as you can see the last two weeks have been amazing, and from here we´ll head north to the beaches of Peru and eventually into Ecuador. We´ll keep you updated!

No comments: