South America | Peru | Peruvian Amazon | Puerto Maldonado – Jungle food
Well, here I am back in the big city trying to cram the events of the last week or so into 30 mins.
Getting into a bit of a routine now; a typical day goes along the lines of
5:30 Get up (usually having been woken by the howler monkeys)
6:00 Breakfast (two rolls and either an egg or pancake)
7:00 Go for a walk along the jungle trails since it´s the best time to see things out there
10:00 Do a little bit of work (if there´s any to be done – if not read a book or have a chat with someone)
12:00 Feel really hungry, grab a couple of bananas out of the banana hut – unless the tamarin monkeys have got there first
13:30 Bell goes for lunch – many hungry people run towards the dining room. Meals here (nice as they are)are on a about a 4 day rotation.
14:30 More work (or book, chat or watch the birds from the verandah of the bungalow)
16:00 Go for another walk – get to sunset-point at about 17:15, different sunset every day
16:00 Have discussion of hunger pangs with the other resident naturalists. Just manage to hang on until..
19:30 Dinner bell!
20:30 Chat to tourists and staff about any old stuff over a bottle Cusque?a
21:00 Everyone heads bedwards – try to read for a bit but usually pass out after about 5 mins
The morning walks are definitely the highlight of the day – you never know what you´re going to see. One time I spotted a beautiful red, yellow and black (and poisonous) Coral Snake about 1 m from the trail. I was wearing rubber boots so it wouldn´t have harmed me if I stepped on it.
Another time I walked down to the lake where there is a family of Giant River Otters (very rare). As I approached the hide I could hear the otters somewhere close so I entered on all fours and lifed my head far enough to see out. There were 4 otters (which grow to about 2 m in length!) about 15 m from the hide – one eating a big fish (probably one of the pira?as). They must have heard, seen or smelt me because the started making a racket and headed off across the lake (after the one with the fish finished his meal – so they weren´t desperate to get away). Also a couple of days ago I went for a walk and within the space of an hour I came across 4 species of monkeys! Just magical.
But I must stress that I am doing some work here. Things just take a little longer than I am used to. This is because nobody is in a rush to do things. I need some wood to make some platforms for my camera (I promise I will try to explain the project in my next entry!). I spent 4 days trying to find the Lodge carpenter – in vain. He was always away somewhere. In the end I decided to come into town and buy the stuff – bit more effort but at least it gets things done.
On my first day I was offered a bit of advice ‘In the jungle – everything eats everything else, and we are somewhere at the bottom of that food chain’. This is certainly true of the mosquitos who bite you constantly – but it´s something you get used to. I was also warned about the ‘Chiggers’ which are not as easy to ignore. I currently am host to a group of these fellas who are currently munching on my leg. Chiggers are teeny weeny little mite things – almost impossible to see with the naked eye. They live in the grass and jump onto you ankles and starting feeding on the plasma of your skin (so I am told). Hope you´re not eating at the moment. These little buggers itch like mad and you have to resist the urge to scratch them which is an effort. You kill them by dousing them with surgical alcohol at frequent intervals. They start on the ankles but they prefer warmer places – and so they start to move upwards! I need to get them before they get to their goal! They´re a bit of a pain but I feel that I am winning the war on these little critters.
Bet you´re all not so jealous now!