South America | Peru | Peruvian Amazon | Puerto Maldonado – Falling trees, infections and homicidal parrots
I guess with a title like that, you might be thinking that it’s time to leave this place, but no, I’m still enjoying myself in the jungle and I’ve got a busy month ahead finishing the work that I have started.
It was strange going to Cusco and doing the Inca Trail since it was like a holiday but I didn’t feel that I needed one since working in the jungle seems like a holiday to me. It was difficult coming back though because once I was used to taking it easy and relaxing in cafes and bars, returning to the lodge did feel like going back to work. I don’t even want to think what it will feel like going back to my proper job in January!
I also didn’t realise how I had got used to the heat and humidity of the rainforest until I stepped off the plane at Puerto Maldonado once more and the heat hit me.
OK, so what stories from the lodge do I have this time. Things between the management, the guides and myself seem to have settled down a bit – partly because several guides couldn’t take any more and left!
Just before I set off on the Inca Trail, I had some painful looking bites on leg which seemed to have got a bit infected. Not exactly good timing, since full use of my legs was necessary to complete the trek. However, a good dose of over-the-counter antibiotics seemed to keep the leg pain-free for the walk. On my return though, leg became more painful (by the way, I have photos of my leg at the height of the infection if anybody’s interested) and so I though it best to go the hospital and have it looked at in case it was something serious. Giesela insisted on going with me, which I didn’t really want but in the end it turned out to be a good thing since she has a certain way of dealing with situations like this. Her way of entering the hospital was not to go in through the patients entrance and wait in the queue but to walk straight in the emergency entrance, grab the nearest doctor and explain that this guy needs somebody to look at his leg. Well, it worked and within minutes I was lying on an examination table with a couple of doctors peering at my leg. They just prescribed some more antibiotics saying it wasn’t too serious. That night, I woke in my hotel room with a really bad stomach ache. The first thought I had was ‘which dodgy restaurant did I eat in tonight?’ After half an hour kneeling in front of the toilet with no success I lay back done on my bed in a cold sweat. Then I noticed that my fingers and toes were tingling and then various parts of my body started itching and coming out in lumps – at this point I realised it couldn’t have been anything I ate and was a reaction to the prescribed antibiotics. Just when I thought I couldn’t feel much worse I started having difficulty breathing as my throat was swelling up. I was thinking that maybe soon I would have to go down to reception and request an ambulance to the hospital but thankfully the symptoms started to subside and with the help of my walkman to distract my mind, I managed to fall asleep once again. The next day I went back to the hospital (via the emergency entrance) and got a change of prescription.
The next two stories I have are based around my bed. One night I was reading a book before going to sleep when I could hear something in the trees outside , at first I thought it was maybe some nocturnal creatures moving around in the branches but it was a stronger sound than that. After a couple more strange noises, I heard the unmistakable sound of a tree falling down very close to my little wooden bungalow. As I heard the tree falling, my body tensed and my heart decided on a rhythm of its own since this tree could well have be falling towards my bungalow. I braced myself for the impact but thankfully I heard the tree crash to the ground and my bungalow seemed to be in one piece! In the morning I saw that the tree (which was about 20 m tall) had fallen about 10 m behind my bungalow.
A couple of days later, I was sitting on my verandah reading when the homicidal scarlet macaw (Wowee) landed on the banister next to me. Before I could turn round and close my door (because the last thing you want is this evil critter inside your room destroying things) Wowee flew into my room and disappeared under my bed. No amount of reasoning seemed to work with him and after he tried to eat my shoes I tried to gently persuade him to vacate the space under my bed with my machete. This didn’t work and all he did was try to eat my machete. After several minutes of luring him halfway from under the bed, only for him to run back under it, the only person at the lodge who Wowee will pay any attention to, Julian, turned up and chased him onto the verandah.
I’ve got some more photos that I want to put on but I’ve reached my space limit and there doesn’t seem to be an obvious way of deleting older images. If I solve this problem, I’ll let you know.