Discovering a new strange place: Part I

July 23rd, 2009 by | Country: Peru | No Comments »

Watching the transformation of the landscape as I ride through the Andes Mountains to the rain forest on the unpaved road, hearing the crickets chirping, watching bright red birds fly through the trees, sailing through the river, and sleeping in rustic lodges are memories that will not be forgotten.  This past week, I spent four days and three nights at Manu, a rain forest reservation.


On the first day, I spent probably about eight hours in the “buggy” van.  Why am I calling it the “buggy” van?  It’s because it looks like a bug!  All of the passengers’ suitcases were placed on top of the van making it look like the van had a shell on the top!  Not to worry, the driver placed a cover on top of the bags to prevent them from getting wet due to the massive humidity in the rain forest.

As I was riding through the mountains, my iPod was going bonkers as it was making clicking noises that sounded as if the hard drive was going dead!  All of a sudden, it stopped working, and I got a blank screen saying, “Contact Apple for iPod Support.”  I though, “Oh great!  The drive is going to be boring without music!  Why does technology have to make life so much more complicated?!  So, I shook the iPod thinking maybe the hard drive was out of place.  Of course, it was still not working.  So, I just stared out the window and admired the beautiful landscapes.  After we made a stop for lunch, I decided to check my iPod thinking that miracles can happen.  Lo and behold, it started working again!  Unreal!  The rest of the ride was very enjoyable as I was able to enjoy listening to soothing music of Norah Jones, Carly Simon, and Edith Piaf while staring at the beautiful landscape and photographing and videotaping the moments!

Just seeing how the landscape transforms is astonishing.  At the beginning of the road trip, I saw very dry mountains with dried brown grasses and very few green plants.  Along the way, I began to see bright lime-green mountains with more plants.  Then toward the end of the road trip, I saw pure green mountains packed with trees and plants!  I also had a taste of the farming communities as we passed by them.  Fortunately, we made a pit stop at one of the farming communities, and I sure did jump out of the van to take a few snapshots!

Please excuse me for the extreme camera shakes!  The roads were EXTREMELY unpaved!

We also made a stop at a bird watching dock where we could watch the birds flying and listen to them tweeting.



Afterwards, we headed to a lodge that was located just on the edge of the rain forest zone.  I almost had a disaster getting to the lodge.  The lodge was located DEEP in the forest, which meant that we had a lot of walking to get there.  It was already dark and there were NO lights by the path to the lodge.  I pulled out one of my two flashlights from my suitcase, and the tour guide took my suitcase.  As I was heading to the lodge, the flashlight was uncooperative!  It would not stay on, and because this flashlight had three levels of lighting, it wouldn’t go on any higher than the first level which is EXTREMELY dim.  There was no way that I could get through the forest without a flashlight!  So, I yelled, “HELP!  My flashlight is broken!”  I yelled a few times -

“HELP!  My flashlight is broken!”
“HELP!  My flashlight is broken!”
“HELP!  My flashlight is broken!”
“HELP!  My flashlight is broken!”

Thankfully two tourists came back and got me.  Fortunately, when I arrived at the lodge, there was electricity, but only for a few hours.  So, at least, I had some time to get settled before finding my other flashlight.

Sleeping in the rain forest was an experience!  There is NO glass on the windows.  Just screens to keep the bugs out!  In fact, I had to sleep with a net hanging over my bed to keep the bugs from stinging me!  I was very grateful to have it as, unfortunately, I seem to have genes that cause my body to taste very good to bugs!


The following morning, we took a stroll.  What amazed me more than just the beautiful landscape was that there was trash all over the place left by previous tourists.  A tourist from Mexico, who is a big-nut advocate for global warming, collected bottles, and I picked up plastic bags.  It was just disturbing as the animals and plants don’t deserve to be left with pollution!


Thereafter, we packed up and headed for another two hours drive to go deeper into the rain forest.

After lunch,  I went for a big splash in the river!  I went white-water rafting, which was unbelievably fun!  Feeling the splashes from the river was very soothing.  On top of that, I admired the beautiful mountains filled with pure green trees and plants.  I felt as if I was living in a scene from the Pocahontas movie where a group of Native Americans paddle on a boat through the river through stunning scenery.

After rafting, the driver and the van met us, and we headed to a boat to sail through the Rio Madres de Dios.  Riding through the river was very relaxing and beautiful.   I felt as if I was traveling inside an advertisement for a Caribbean Islands vacation!

Part II will come tomorrow.

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