Now a little something for all our non-german-speakers...
Last weekend Laura and I decided on a short trip into the Peruvian jungle. With destination Iquitos we left Lima on friday. Iquitos lies about 1000km northwest of Lima, in the largest rainforest of the world - the Amazon, and is only reachable via airplane and boat.
We found Lima humid but were surprised, we met the climax of wet, hot air stepping out of the plane in Iquitos. Our first adventure was the ride to the hostel with a mototaxi, Iquitos is bustling with over 17000 of them and at the beginning it's quite scary, but I promise you get used to it (a little!). After leaving our small luggage and washing the dirt (yes it only took 20min in a mototaxi) off our faces we set off for a little snack at the Mercado Central, full of fruits and meats and smoking fires and people trying to get your atention by clapping and whistling (am I a dog or what?)
We quickly left there to visit the famous (well not really, but it should be) Mariposario (butterfly-farm), via boat ride on the Rio Nanay (anabranch of the Amazon). Next to breeding rare butterfly species they also take care and raise orphaned animals out of the jungle like Lolita the tapir or Pedro the puma and a whole bunch of different monkeys. So I was in my element cause as soon as we arrived one of those little guys jumped on my lap, and he was sooooooo cute. The different kinds of butterflies were fascination and as we were in the middle of the encloser is suddenly just poured down with rain, real jungle feeling!
The next day we left quite early for the REAL jungle. It was a 2 hour boat ride on the Amazon with occasional interruptions of grey and pink dolphins swimming close to our boat and a little sloth hanging on a tree. We arrived at the lodge at 11 a.m. and although I was hoping for lunch, first we had to follow our guide for a tour through the dense forest. One step into the jungle and you don't only smell and see it, you also feel it. We were attacked my swarms of mosquitos (Laura was really unlucky) and I had a slave-torturing-ant in my boot after 10 meters (those poor slaves...) Trying to enjoy the flora and the atmosphere and trying to listen to all the stories our guide had to tell of the different plants and their use I quickly decided this wasn't my playground and was happy when headed back to the lodge. Lunch!
Our last day we started with a yummy breakfast, Laura wanted fried bananas and ended up with fried plantane plus vinaigrette, I wanted to enjoy a big piece of chocolate cake and ended up with slight stomach problems. But nothing could stop us and so by 9 o'clock a mototaxi was taking us to Belen. Belen is a very poor part of Iquitos and is actually a swimming slum when the waterlevel of the Amazon rises from February to May. We could only cross the Belen market ducking down, we are definitely too tall for this country! It was all very impressive, but the noise, the smell and the masses of people were a bit too much for me that day. After a little shopping detour at the Mercado Artesanía we zoomed off to Quistacocha, a seemingly peaceful lake near Iquitos. You can only reach the sandbanks of the lake passing through a small zoo of typical Amazonian animals. We spent the afternoon sitting in the sun next to the home of a whole bunch of capybaras, I think I was driving Laura crazy jumping up every few minutes squeeking when I had yet discovered another cute little one. Unfortunately it was our last day, and although we had gotten our full share of jungle feeling it's always a bummer when we have to return to Lima.
But along with my tummy-bug, an ant and about 50 mosquito bites, a small bag full of souvenirs, a slight tan, we also brought back to Lima a great new experience!