In Quito & the Jungle log.

I left my small USB card reader at the security counter in the Lima airport this AM, so no more transfers until I have a chance to buy another… BIG bummer on that one…

Quito is nice, we only checked in to our hotel this evening at 5:30 and head out again tomorrow at 7:00 AM.

We get to spend a couple more days here when we come back from the Galapagos in five days.

Everyone is well and excited!

The full Jungle stay logbook entry:

Saturday, Sept 1, 2007

From the Highlands to the Jungle.

We (finally!) got a chance to sleep in yesterday (Friday) in Cusco. We wandered around the core of the city a bit (not too far for Claudette). I finally got a couple opportunities to upload all of the remaining pics from Costa Rica and about 20% of the shots from Machu Picchu. We bought a few odds and ends (including three small animal carvings) but Claudette drew the line at getting a gorgeous shirt she liked, and at getting some Alpacha slippers for Alex that were only $10.00

The central plaza a two minute walk from our hotel had free wireless internet so we made a bunch of calls and checked in with family and friends. Cusco is a beautiful city of roughly 200,000 that we were told has an economy based entirely on tourism. The street vendors and hawkers grow quickly wearisome and annoying, but one can only continue to say “No Gracious” from dawn to dusk when you are not in your hotel or in a restaurant.

At the airport we had a quick chance to make some more calls and first heard about Grandma Denesik being in the Cross Cancer hospital. The kids and I talked to Grandma Vi a bit and hopefully lifted her spirits from the weight of her mother being so very ill. We will have no outside communication again until September 4 when we fly to Lima.

Our large canoe ride for 45 min. up river was nice and relaxing. We ate a rice & chicken lunch out of a large leaf while stopping frequently to watch and photograph the abundance of wildlife along the river. At the lodge we had a few minutes to get settled in and then went for a walk to a canopy tower they have set up for a spectacular view and bird watching. The 37m stair climb was long and surprisingly had Claudette more freaked than Luke. We eventually convinced her to stand up at the top to check out the remarkable view and get some family pictures.

The lodge itself is very beautiful with about 30 rooms of small diameter vertical bamboo walls and a washroom each. A large opening to the jungle with a bug net over the bed allows for all the sounds of the night jungle to overwhelm the guests. We have a wakeup of 4:00AM!!! so we can head out for a sunrise hike to an oxbow lake with pirranas and caymans (similar to but slightly smaller than alligators).

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Waking up before the birds. It was a crazily busy day. An early morning departure had us on the human powered catamarans at the oxbow lake for sunrise. The emphasis was on a variety of birds for viewing, but we also saw a Cayman and the giant river otters from afar. After returning to the lodge mid-morning, we had a quick snack and headed out to the blind adjacent to the river. We saw some Macaws, but had to wait awhile and were crammed in there with a dozen of the ladies from another tour.

This group of older ladies are a hoot. They are all from BC, either the Vancouver area or Vancouver Island. They are mostly all in their 50’s with one lady’s 20 year old daughter along. They are also on a GAP tour which included doing the Inca trail and hitting a few other areas and sights in Peru.

Our guide is young but very good and enjoys what he is doing very much. The ladies have two guides and our family group of four often join them for a total of three guides. It is funny to see the guides sub-consciously competing with each other to point out the most interesting bugs & animals to the tourists. Our guide was the first one to catch a piranha after the other guide gave up. Then Luke tried along with a couple other ladies for awhile. Luke lost a lot of meat on the hook to the smart nibblers but never did manage to land one.

After supper the kids stayed behind to put themselves to bed while Claudette an I went on the night walk. Our guides led us on the same trails as we traveled in the daytime. They had an abundance of nightlife now though. This included a vast amount and variety of spiders. All kinds of ants were hard at work running too and fro on massive ant highways with paths cleared of debris and guards stationed along the highway.

Tomorrow morning we were supposed to go on an early morning walk to the blind again, but Claudette and I decided to skip that 5:00 AM wakeup call and sleep in until 7:00 AM instead. We need to do a bit of laundry and get the kids and Claudette caught up on their travel journal entries.

Tuesday September 4, 2007

Yesterday we had a nice walk to a gynormous tree about a 45 minute walk from the lodge. It was amazing in girth, and even though it was only about 50m tall (13m higher than the 120 foot tall platform we had climbed on our first day) we couldn’t see the top at all. Our guide is very talented and eager to show us all sorts of sights in his rainforest. Hi is only 21 but has completed a 3 year Lima University degree in tourism and is an avid birder. He was very impressed with our old portable speakers that run on 3 AA batteries, designed for a small battery operated CD player. He wanted to buy it to play bird songs for his guests with his portable audio player. At the end we sold it to him and will buy another, smaller sized one in Australia.

We saw one snake, but thankfully it wasn’t too poisonous and our guide kept us back. Another group had seen a Rainbow Boa snake, which was apparently very beautiful. The snake we saw was an Amazon White Tree Snake and was smallish (about the thickness of a garter snake) and probably just about 1.5 to 1.8m long.

One Response to “In Quito & the Jungle log.”

  1. AJ says:

    We are in Galapagoos… The Isalands!! now.