Day 56 June 12

Countries 7    Hotels 26    Cars 37

Flights 13:flying time 48.39 hours

Rickshaws 4    Buses 8    Elephant 1    Boat 3

Cog-wheel train 2    Cable cars 6    Subway 4    Ferry 2

Minibus 33      Coach 2    Catamaran 1    Funicular 3

Pick up truck 1    Land Cruiser 8    Hydrofoil 4

Llama 1    Cycle Taxi 1    Train 3    Motorised Canoe 2

I left Cuzco this morning for my flight to Puerto Maldonado, it was a bit chaotic at the airport as they changed the boarding gate at the last minute and didn’t announce it in any language I could understand.  The airport at Puerto Maldonado is tiny, and it’s in the jungle.  I took these photos as we came in to land, I was sitting by the  wing so they are not great but it does show one of the rivers tributaries and the miles of jungle.

I was put on a mini bus that seemed to be made for children as the aisle was only about eight inches wide, and it was full, and it was hot.  I was beginning to think ‘what on earth have I done’ as we drove along to the ‘port’ to catch the boat to the lodge.  The ‘port’ that is what they called it, is just a wooden jetty really, with several long motorised boats bobbing about.  The luggage was taken off the roof of the teeny mini bus and loaded onto the boat.  Then we all got on the narrow boat and motored off to the lodge.

The river is a muddy colour  and there is nothing but jungle to see, and I was still thinking bloody hell this is going to be awful.  Well this changed when I got to the lodge, it’s wonderful.  My Cabana has everything I need, it’s very comfy.  When we landed, we were all taken to the main lodge where we checked in and then had a rather yummy lunch.  The staff here can’t do enough for you.

At 3.30 we had to go to the echo lodge where we were put into small groups with a guide and we went off into the jungle for a walk.  The guide told us about the types of trees and I saw some small monkeys. This place really is in the jungle.

I then had afternoon coffee, yes they seem to feed us a lot here, and then went to have a nap. They turn the electricity off here between 3 and 6 in the afternoon. For each tour we all meet in the echo lodge and then go to the boats. The sun sets at five here so by six it is pitch black, there are torches in the rooms which help one see where one is going in the dark.  The night trail started at six and involved sitting in the motorised boat while the guide watched the river bank for signs of animals. We saw some rather small caiman, but the highlight of the hour trip was two capybara, feeding.  Capybara are the largest rodent in the world, they are quite cute, and weren’t the least bothered by a long boat full of people photographing it.  No photos because I didn’t think I brought my phone with me so didn’t take any.

Back at the lodge three American sisters, who arrived here on the same boat as me, invited me to sit with them for dinner, they are lovely, and seem to think I talk funny! Breakfast and lunch here are buffet style, dinner is waiter service and three courses.  There is also a cocktail list, happy hour is from 6 to 7 and we had all been given a voucher for a free pisco sour. The Americans had not tried this part of the local culture so the pisco sours were sampled before dinner.  They have a great sense of humour, basically my humour and I had a very good evening. The lodge is fab, I love it.

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