Recently I decided it would be jolly fun to travel to the jungle! I should Elaborate though, I would be taking a 20 hour bus and then a 5 day cargo ship to get to the jungle. Maybe jolly fun wasn’t quite what I got, but it was an adventure to say the least. After a slightly nauseating 20 hour bus ride over the Andes, I arrived in Pucallpa where I was going to catch the cargo ship. I quickly realized asking where the “bote” was, wan’t going to get me very far, and the the name for this specific sort of boat was a “lancha”. This trip, I was warned, is not typically done by travelers, and that I might stick out a bit… Understatement of the year. Of the 250 passengers, not counting the many babies, 2 of us were not native Peruvians. As soon as I got on the ship, and until I left, almost every 250 plus pairs of eyes were on me. I was a bit uncomfortable at first, but seeing as I had to be here for the next 5 days I embraced it. I developed a few strategies for the staring masses. Often times they were just staring at me with a giant smiles, and I would smile back, but when it was an awkward jaw on the floor “I think I see a UFO stare” I would stare back as hard as I could, initiating a contest of sorts until they either realized how awkward it felt to be ogled at and looked away… Or we both simultaneously broke out in laughter, which occurred most often. I later learned from a friend I made on the boat, that it’s not that I am foreign, it’s actually my hair that people are finding so interesting to stare at!
The boat provided 2-3 meals a day, I guess that depended on how the chef’s day was going, and 2 types of sleeping arrangements were available. I opted for the cheaper and more popular option, which is to string my hammock up on the deck. It was an amazing thing to see hundreds of people, men, women, and tiny children, all hanging around in hammocks!
The top deck had an amazing breeze, and fewer people. The company was delightful, and the families welcoming. Seeing as no one spoke English, it was a perfect time to practice my Spanish! I spent the 5 days playing with the children, photographing the river, and chatting with other women about where I am from, what its like there…. And of course why I don’t have a husband and baby at my old age of 23 haha. Surprisingly the food wasn’t bad, I actually asked the chef for a soup recipe I liked it so much, but the views were even better.
Although I loved it, it was far from everyone’s cup of tea, maybe even a little much for my tastes at times. I basically refused to shower for 5 days because the water pipe was directly in front of the toilets, which were esencially port-o-pottys, there were insects of the 8 legged sort… Everywhere! There were also some other environmenal concerns I sruggled with, but I will get more into that later.
I will share a few more stories from my trip, but now I must head out on my next adventure. This morning I am heading into the Amazon for a 5 day trek. Instead of opting for the nice “lodge” style adventure I decided to go a more wild route. I will be learning to build shelters, sleeping on the jungle floor, fishing for my food, learning to use the plants and roots found in the jungle, and how to track animals! I can’t wait to go on this amazing journey to commune with the jungle, catch you on the flip side!