South America | Peru | Peruvian Amazon | Puerto Maldonado – ¡Me encanta Ace of Base!
Once again, here I am full of Pizza ! It´s 11pm, not sure what time they kick people out of the internet cafe. Guess I´ll find out at some point. Before the pizza I went to the cinema here for the first time. I watched “Garfield – La Pelicula” in Spanish of course. I have to admit to understanding almost none of it – but I can blame that on the cruddy sound system. However, it´s not exactly the kind of film where it is necessary to understand the words. Observed a strange ritual after the film finished – after everybody had spilled out out onto the streets, most of the young boys pissed in the road – even though there were toilets in the cinema!
Things have been fairly calm at the lodge and people seem to be getting on OK (apart from the guides writing to head office asking for the head guide to be replaced!). After the guides not being happy about us Resident Naturalists talking to the visitors, some have come up to us and apologised and said they didn´t agree. I even did an evening talk about the ants of the rainforest to a group of tourists and the guides seemed pleased. I came to the forest looking forward to seeing the array of spectacular birds such as the Macaws and Toucans and also to see the Primates as well. I never expected to get so excited by the ants but I couldn´t help it. When you come across the leaf cutting ants or the army ants; it´s so fascinatng to watch them. As one of my audience said the other night “Back home the ants are boring but here they´re really interesting”
That reminds me, the latest thing to bite me is as yet unidentified. I was woken last night by a sharp stabbing pain under my thumb nail. Half asleep, I tried to shine my torch underneath the nail and could just make out a small blob. I couldn´t get to it without pulling a bit of nail off and then could dig it out wih another nail. Whatever it was I dropped it on the floor and went back to sleep. In the morning, curiosity got the better of me (as usual)and I looked around on the floor for the mangled remains. These I found and have been put into plastic tube to be identified at a later date.
Over at the local community (across the river from the lodge) it was somebody´s birthday so a group of us from the lodge went over to check out the party. The houses are over there are perfect for parties since they basically consist of a dancefloor on stilts (with a separate room for the beds). I was expecting a bit of traditional music or maybe some salsa. I wasn´t quite prepared for the early-90s dance music that was blasting out of the hi-fi. All the old favourites were there: Rhythm is a Dancer, Mr Vain, What is Love and All that she wants! I was invited up to dance by several people so I got to demonstrate my freestyle flailing (as some people refer to it – but the kinder ones describe it as enthusiastic) which seemed to entertain everyone. I was chatting with one of the local girls and I asked her (in Spanish of course) if she like the music ” I love Ace of Base ” was the reply. Not a response I would expect to hear anywhere – let alone in a small forest community in the Amazon.
Am currently in trouble with Immigration. When I got my visa extension, I didn´t quite complete the process. What I was supposed to do was go to the immigration office, recieve an invoice that I then had to go to the bank (the other side of town) to pay and then return to the office to get my passport stamped. I failed to do the last part – I can´t remember her saying anything abou returning. I´ve got to see them at 830 in the morning to try and sort it out. Since I have the receipt for the payment of the invoice. you would think that it should be a simple matter – but I´m sure that they can make it more complicated. Will let you know how it goes for this illegal immigrant.
OK the photos. If you´re new to this diary, note that it takes a few days for the images to be accepted by the website.
The first picture has been requested and is the amazing sunset that we saw from the boat on Lake Cocococha a couple of diary entries ago. Next we have a bit of a tour around the lodge since I realised that I haven´t shown any images of the lodge yet. The first one is a view of the dining room – taken with the fisheye lens that is one of the toys I have to play with for my project. The there´s another view of the dining room, the bungalow that I stay in and my balcony – which is also a great place to watch the wildlife. Then we have another shot of the lodge pe(s)t Willy, with one of his favourite foods, teabags (with previous Resident Naturalist Marcia in background). Other favourite foods of Willy include; buttons, glasses, earings and anything else that shouldn´t become detached but will with a tug of the beak. Lastly is the other Macaw seen at the lodge, Wowee. Beautiful bird – in much better condition than Willy since he can fly and therfore doesn´t have to drag his feathers everywhere he goes. However, this bird is a bit crazy (some would even say evil) and will try and bite anyone who comes within 20 yards of him (except for one of the guys who works in the kitchen – who he seems to like).