Thursday, March 25, 2010

Our Amazonian Escapade - Part 1

We finally made it to the last leg of our tour, Puerto Maldonado and the Amazonian rainforest. To be honest, while creating the itinerary, I was slightly nervous about this part of the trip, as I just didn't know what to expect. I had never stayed in a very wild place before, and this definitely was a first. I am actually glad that I went without expectations because I ended up being pleasantly (and sometimes unpleasantly) surprised by what I saw and experienced.

We caught our flight from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado in the early morning and were to be picked up by a staff member from our Amazonian lodge, Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica. All this while, we had really enjoyed the cool climate in Peru (18-20 degrees), and had gotten used to the beautiful weather. Well, as soon as we stepped off our plane, an all too familiar feeling of discomfort came. I could immediately feel the same type of humidity from back home in Singapore, and the temperature was around 30 degrees. At first glance, Puerto Maldonado bore an uncanny resemblance to a typical Indian city, with three-wheeler autos, bicycle rickshaws, scooters, banana trees, small shops on the road sides, and locals walking around. We were welcomed by the very friendly Lindel, who accompanied us on our boat ride to our lodge and gave us freshly made banana chips (again, another similarity with India!). Our lodge itself was situated away from the city, and was within the Amazonian rainforest.

The boat ride to our lodge was fantastic. We were sailing on a high speed boat on the Madre de Dios, and truly enjoyed the breeze and tender splashes of water. As we approached the lodge, my heart started beating faster, and I couldn't help praying to God that I wouldn't encounter any lizards or creepy creatures like that. Our skipper dropped us off at our lodge, and I was surprised to see how beautiful and well managed the site was! The hospitality was also remarkable, as we were warmly welcomed by the staff and offered complimentary passionfruit drinks as we checked-in. We were then taken to our little chalet (cabana in Spanish, which was located close to the river. The cabin was beautiful, and I could really feel that this was how a real holiday should be.

There are some things about the lodge that I need to explain about. The Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica lodge is an environment-friendly lodge that works towards preserving nature. Therefore, most places on site have no electricity, and during the night hours, people walk around with lanterns or torches, and the dining area is also very dim with candles and laterns (romantic, eh!). All cabins are protected by mosquito nets to prevent being bitten by strange creatures. There are no locks and keys provided, so make sure you don't bring any valuable items when you go there. There are also animals such as rodents and birds hanging around the lodge, and in our case, there was even a snake hiding under somebody's cabin (yikes!!!). There are no telephones in the cabins, so if urgent attention is required, all you have to do is blow on the whistle they give you, or run to the reception area.

So, as you can see, this place is quite different from any other hotels I have stayed at before. We were assured by the staff that it was very safe, but still, I felt a bit uneasy and dreaded the night time. Well, the first night, we came across some animal's "waste" in our bathroom, which was pretty massive in size. We immediately got the staff to clear that out. The following morning, while taking a shower (took one as fast as I could), something fell on me, and I screamed and David came running from the bed to check on me. It turned out to be just a moth!!! Hahahaha. And finally, one evening, I was on my own in the cabin, taking a nap, as David wanted to go out for some night adventure. Imagine my horror when I woke up to find a frog in the bathroom! I immediately gathered my torch and a shawl, dashed to the gift shop and tried to explain that I desperately wanted someone to get rid of the frog. The gift shop girl also screamed and said she was scared of frogs (she lives and works there!!!). She got the housekeeping staff to go to our room and "check" on the frog. I must say they were amused over my reaction of seeing a frog in the room! I refused to go back to my cabin and decided to wait in the dining area for David to come back. No way was I going to go through that all over again, by myself! Once David came back, we had a nice dinner and headed back to our cabin. The frog was gone (Thank God!), but we huddled together to sleep on a single bed to feel more secure. David too, didn't feel very comfortable with these strange things, so we were on the constant lookout for each other the whole time :).

You can watch the video of our Amazonian home right here:

For those of you receiving email updates, you can watch the video by clicking this link:

I will write about our excursions in the rainforest in my next entry. Do look out for it!


David said...

You forgot to mention that the snake was supposed to be 4 meters long... I must say the experience was unique and the staff excellent... I will remember this forever !!! A must do...

banoo said...

Your Amazon experience, especially with Frog is more thrilling and I can understand your feelings....frogs/lizards...why God created such creatures! I cannot stand ......before Jayaprabha was renovated, I was greeted by frogs daily in the then Lorong H! Good narration...
I am sure that one day I also would explore these rehions....

Ravipa said...

Good to know that David is scared of cockroaches too! Welcome to the family. Narration made me feel like being there myself. And video is good - i like the fast motion - again walking us through the experience. What an abode to be in enjoying a vacation. Banu and I once spent a night like that in Hampi. And for rodents, frogs et all, they have been our companions all our life and continue to till date....


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