Peru 05

The Peruvian Amazon, the lazy way...


I know when I first wanted to go to the Amazon: I was sitting on a desk in Mrs. Young's third grade, pretending to paddle a canoe through the "jungle," pretending to see monkeys and macaws. Mrs. Young was not one of my favorite teachers because she was always trying to get me to write in script without curving my left hand above the ruled line, and I was always resisting. But that "trip" to the Amazon has always stayed with me, and when the possibility arose to go to the Amazon as part of a trip to Peru, I jumped at the chance.

Old Lady to the Amazon

In April, before our trip at the end of May, I found that if I was going to go the Amazon, it would have to be on my own; a group pretrip to my Andean visit was cancelled. But I'd been researching the Peruvian Amazon. My son had been there and said that he'd seen Explorama boats scooting all over the place, so I checked out Explorama, corresponded with its genial proprietor Peter Jenson, an American expat who's run it for over 40 years(!). I committed myself to spending six nights on THAT part of my trip. I envisioned taking tours with others from the various lodges, but it turned out that Luis, a seasoned Explorama guide, met me at the airport and more or less took me in charge for the entire time. What luxury!

The heat was ameliorated to a great degree by the frequent trips out onto the water; there's nothing like a breeze in your face to cool you off. Seeing the rain forest from above the trees was an experience I'll never forget - but so was meeting a family in their carefully organized river home, and so was holding the sloth! at the giant water lily stop! I was lucky to be there in the time of lower water, when some of the river passages were low enough to go through. Brief rains came, and made things cooler for a while; there were certainly mosquitoes in abundance and other bugs, but in general bugs don't spook me, so I could just enjoy them.

I really can't be enthusiastic enough about the Explorama lodges and the way they're run. From the primitive one I stayed in the first couple of nights (ExplorNapo, whose wildlife extended from the charming capybara Charlie to the bats in the latrine) to the luxurious CeibaTops, where, after long hot days on the river, I could cool off in a pool or a comfortable bedroom; from the dark-night river exploration to the leisurely ramble across the suspension bridges of the Canopy Walk, they provided me with a wonderful adventure. The food was great, the visits to the villages and homes and school were very interesting, and I came to feel that, just a little, I understood what life must be like there.


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