Saturday, January 26, 2013

Easter Island to Iquitos

We're currently about an hour and a half up the Amazon River from Iquitos, Peru. Doug and I were in this area when we went on our honeymoon almost 18 years ago, and the fact that I have bars on my cellphone right now is pretty insane. I didn't even have bars on Easter Island, standing next to the tower! We're staying at a very nice lodge right now and tomorrow will head even further into the rainforest to something more rustic. This is my last chance to update until late next week.

I wanted to post a few more pictures from our last couple of days on Easter Island. We spent our last full day hanging out and relaxing. We took Carter down to a tiny local swimming spot so he could play in the sand and swim, and he had a blast. Check out the moai in the background.

One of the things that's really interesting about traveling with Carter is that we just can't move at the same sort of pace we did without him. We look for parks and playgrounds, and end up spending time in the places that are usually only frequented by locals. And we eat a lot more ice cream.

We had lunch in a great spot at the end of a rocky outcropping. It's funny how Carter has decided that empanadas are food he likes. I have a feeling that it will be this way for most of the trip, that his staple food changes from place to place as he finds something local that he likes. He hasn't had mac & cheese in a month!

The next day was an incredibly long one, as we had to check out of our hotel and then wait all day for a flight that was delayed until after midnight. We were worried that it would be really rough, but Carter was a trooper and we found things to do until it was finally time to go to the airport. We dreaded having a short (5 hours) night flight, but we were staying in a hotel in the airport in Lima, so we didn't have far to go. Carter slept on the entire flight, and then through most of the line for passport control, and then went right back to sleep when we got into the hotel room.

We spent that day lounging in our hotel room. We ate lunch and dinner in the airport's food court, which was stunningly full of American chain restaurants. The last time I was in Lima, the airport didn't even have jet bridges. It's the only place I've ever had to walk down the stairs from a 747. And now, there's McDonalds and Starbucks. Totally crazy!  Carter loved the hotel and said he wanted to stay there for a week, heh. Once again, he got teary when it was time to leave. I think this is going to be a constant theme for the year.

On Friday morning we had a flight to Iquitos for our week in the Amazon rainforest. Doug and I came to this same area on our honeymoon in 1995, and we were interested to see how much the area has changed. The airport is much bigger than before, and this time the luggage was removed from the plane by airport staff, rather than local kids. We're staying with a company called Explorama (you can find the link on our itinerary page) and we were picked up in what is undoubtedly the very same bus as we were picked up in all those years ago. I forgot to take a picture, but it looks like a very old school bus, with no glass in the windows. We then proceeded to have a fun ride through Iquitos.

Iquitos itself is much larger than it was in 1995, and it took longer to wind through town on the bus to get to the boat dock. These little motorcycle taxis are everywhere. We rode in one years ago when we were here, but it seems like there are 10 times as many now.

The boat that took us downriver to the Ceipa Tops Lodge was a large three-level riverboat. It was about an hour and a half ride. I kept looking at my phone to see when I would lose my signal, and I never did, to my amazement. Even in the camp, I have data. I can check my email on my phone!  When we came here in 1995, this place felt incredibly remote. It's not nearly as remote now as it was.

The water has apparently been really high the last few years. The Amazon actually starts in Peru and flows east, and comes from snow melt in the mountains and rainwater. 

The place we're staying for the first two days is the Ceiba Tops Lodge, and it's the nicest of the places Explorama runs. It didn't exist last time we were in Peru. We'd heard that the rooms would be air-conditioned and had seen pictures of the pool online, but the reality was actually even better than we expected. The air conditioning works! The pool is fantastic! We're two nights here and then we'll be in much more rustic accommodations for the next four nights after that, so we're trying our best to enjoy it. 

We went on a short walk in the rainforest with our guide, Ricardo. He showed us lots of interesting plants. He even made Carter a special walking stick.

Carter did pretty well on the walk. We'd had a lot of talks about how it was important not to run ahead on the trail here, and Ricardo showed him enough ant hills and tarantula holes to make him a little nervous about poking at the dirt. 

This tree is massive. It's actually hard to get the scale of it in this picture.

Here we are standing at the base of it, though. Huge!

Afterwards, Carter and I went swimming in the pool. It has a waterslide, and he had a blast going down it while I lounged in the water and talked to some other guests. (Doug, of course, hung out in the bar.) I didn't manage to get any pictures of the pool yet, but I definitely will.

This morning we got up and went on a boat ride. We saw some iguanas.

We stopped to visit a local family's house, which is something I remember doing before. The people who live on the Amazon are subsistence farmers, and their daily lives are spent collecting and harvesting food. They still live in open thatched-roof platform houses.

It's completely fascinating to me that there are people whose lives are so fundamentally different from mine. I have a hard time going a week without internet access, and there are so many people who don't even live with electricity. And they're happy, of course. We saw lots of children when we stopped to talk to people, and they were all fascinated by Carter. He was fascinated by them as well, and wanted to stay and play. 

Seeing these tiny puppies was a highlight for Carter, of course.

The boat ride was lovely. Doug said he felt like he was in an IMAX movie, and I think that description is accurate. It's so hard sometimes to process where we are and what we're doing. I have to keep reminding myself that its all real. I think I'll be doing that a lot in the next year!

Carter is begging me to go swimming before our afternoon outing, so I'm going to cut this a little short. I'm not sure if I'll have a chance to update again before we go AFK, but expect lots of pictures when I post again.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing! I am totally loving your updates with the pictures and all the details. It feels as if am traveling by proxy :)
    I am totally full of the good envy about your wonderful trip.
    Keep the updates coming :)