October 2nd, 2005

Ceci n'est pas une personne.

(no subject)

Woman drying coca leaves.
Day 6: Into the amazon.

In route to the Amazonia Lodge we stopped by a coca plantation. It was interesting seeing the growing, harvesting, and drying process first hand.

We arrive at Atalaya, and originally I was under the impression was would be using native canoes to get down the river. Instead we use these natively build boats. Our boat was 45 feet long and around 5 feet wide, and equipt with a Johnson outboard motor (two, actuall, one was up front to be used as a spare). The pilot sits at the very back steering the boat and spotter sits on bow with a pole to measure depth, push the boat in shallow waters, and direct the pilot on where the deep water is. The spotter got a lot of work this year. One of our guides, Hugo (part owner and founder of Caiman Manu), has been running tours for 25 years and the rivers were lower than he has ever seen themThe rivers were very shallow, and full of debris, we would regularly see piles of fully grown trees in driftwood heaps more the 25 feet high. It seems like we were getting stuck every thrity minutes, and scraping bottom every 5. Luckily this was the Rio Alto Madre De Dios, which is fed by the mountains and has clear fast moving waters, so no caiman, anacondas, piranah, or other dangers. But there are a lot of birds and interesting fish. It's worth noting that a lot of freshwater aquarium fish originate from the Amazon Basin. The weird thing is, when you sit in the river really still, these so called friendly aquarium fish come up and bite you. It doesn't hurt, it's just weird.

We then continued to the amazingly beautiful Amazonia Lodge. This was a former tea plantation with lots of fruit tree (and lots of fruit laid out) so there is an abundance of birds there.

It was here that at least three of us became ensnared in Montazuma's cruel grasp. Every 45 minutes I was on my way to the restroom, getting no sleep all night.

Boats lined up.
Day 7: Going with the flow.

This morning I had a tea made from the bark of a local tree to help fight my diarhea. It tasted good, but made me puke like a mo-fo. While the diarhea did take about 4 days to fully clear up, this stuff flushed my system and it was from that pointmanagable, so I could hold it for hours on end.

Due to the lack of sleep and upset stomach, I laid off the camera for most of the day.

Sunset on the Rio Alto Madre De Dios.
Day 8: Welcome to the jungle.

It's hot and amazingly humid. Worse that Texas. Florida, Thailand, or any other hot and humid place I've been. And the bugs are down right vicious. I used to say that Alaskan mosquitoes were the worst ever. Those are fucking wimps compared to what they have down here. From this point on we have to sleep with mosquito netting as the bugs laugh at deet and jungle juice.

Still going through an Olestra Nightmare.

We eventually arrive at Boca Manu site. I was still not feeling well so I went to bed early. In the bathroom my sandaled feet were greated to the bleasure of mice running over them in the dark. Then once in bed, I left a candle on so my sister could find her way to her bed, and the sounds of bug slamming into the screens and the mice, rats, oposums, and lizards crawling all over our huts was unnerving.

In the morning we found one of the moths. The thing literally had a 6 inch wing span. Bigger than some birds.

Capybara on the Rio Manu.
Day 9: My, what big teeth you have.

We finally stop going do the Rio Alto Madre De Dios and start going up the Rio Manu. This river originates from some swamps, and is very silty. No clarity to the water at all. It is also a lot warmer, though still fairly shallow, fast moving, and laden with logs. The first thing I noticed was there are now birds on the water in this river. They stand on the edges or sit on the logs, but none are swimming/floating. This is because we're entered the domain of the caiman. To be in the water is to be lunch.

We stop at the park station. I have never seen so many butterflies in my life. The beaches are covered with them. They lick the salt from the beach, from the turtle's tears, and from you if you sit really still. You step on to a beach and they all take off making this brightly color cloud of blues, reds, and golds. Truely spectacular.

We start seeing lots of turtles, a few white caiman, and an occasional black caiman.

Tonight we stay at the Cocha Salvador Lodge.

Once I get situatated, our guide takes us on a night hike showing us tarantuala nests in the palm trees. He uses a twig to simulate a bug and enticed the spiders out of their nests. It was all cool till I feel something tapping at my boot. Look down and I have a colorful 12 inch long snake pinned under the arch of my boot and trying to bite my boot. It's a young coral snake. If I have been wearing my sandals, I would be dead right now, as there is no anti-venom for this snake. Have I ever mentioned how much I love my boots?

Then off to bed. This site has tents on platforms, so the critters are not as loud when they bash into it, and we get a much better sleep.

A giant otter eating, while an egret looks on.
Day 10: This otter be a good time.

We started out with a hike to an oxbow lake to see the giant otters. In route we came acros some wooly monkeys. These are some very aggressive monkeys. The first try to throw fruit at you. Then try to break limbs off trees and let them drop on you. If you are still there, the try to pee on you. If that hasn't cause you to leave, they throw their feces at you. And finally, as a last resort the stick their finger down their throat and try to puke on you. The alpha male shook this vine at us, so I grabbed it and shook back. He titally spazed, run up in to the tree and went straight to the pee stage of the game. We left at that point, slightly moister than we started.

The highlight today was going to an oxbow lake and seeing the giant otter. These cuties are 6 feet long and live in a family packs, hunting as a group. The eat around 5kg of fish a day. They have been known to kill and eat anacondas and 5 meter long black caiman. They are the top of the foot chain around these parts.

The other highlight was stopping to look at some other monkeys, and then looking down and seeing the ground boiling with army ants (these things are huge! Over an inch in length, and a bite to match).

We left about sunset and had to go back to the lodge, via boat, at night. Using a spot light we could see caiman all over the place. In route the prop his a rock and broke, and we drifted on to a sandbar. I helped pull the engine up, and while we were swapping the prop someone moved, shifting the balance of the boat and I fell in. I got right back into the boat, and about 30 seconds later we see a 3 meter black caiman swim by, checking to see if there was a meal in the making.

We finally got back to camp and got some sleep.

That's todays installment.

Ceci n'est pas une personne.

(no subject)

My LiveJournal Trick-or-Treat Haul
adameros goes trick-or-treating, dressed up as A Candy Zombie..
111466 tricks you! You get a clothespin.
200silhouettes gives you 13 softly glowing mint-flavoured gummy worms.
27desember83 tricks you! You lose 11 pieces of candy!
4strokekid gives you 10 yellow coconut-flavoured gummy bats.
5foot3 gives you 2 yellow licorice-flavoured nuggets.
5ft3 tricks you! You get a piece of paper.
7_pink_ray_guns tricks you! You lose 4 pieces of candy!
__dove gives you 4 dark blue lemon-flavoured gummy worms.
_chas gives you 14 dark blue peach-flavoured pieces of taffy.
_flyonthewall_ gives you 19 pink grape-flavoured jawbreakers.
adameros ends up with 47 pieces of candy, a clothespin, and a piece of paper.
Go trick-or-treating! Username:
Another fun meme brought to you by rfreebern.
Ceci n'est pas une personne.

(no subject)

Sing, Sing, Sing, Sing,
Everybody start to Sing
now you're singing with a swing

Swing, swing, swing, swing
everybody start to swing
now you're swinging while you sing

when the music goes around,
everybody goes to town
but, here's something you should know,
ho, ho, baby, ho ho ho

sing, sing, sing, sing,
everybody start to sing
now you're singing with a swing

I have a raging cough, and I'm all stuffed up, but I really want to get dressed up and go dancing.

It was just one of those things
Just one of those crazy flings
One of those bells that now and then rings
It was one of those things

It was just one of those nights
Just one of those fabulous flights
A trip to the moon on gossamer wings
It was one of those things

If we'd thought a bit about the end of it
When we started jumpin' town
We'd have been aware that our love affair
Was too hot not to cool down

So good-bye, dear, good-bye and amen
Here's hopin' we'll meet now and then
It was great fun
But it was just one of those things

It was just, just, just, just
It turned out to be one of those grabbin' nights
Just one of those fabulous flights
A trip to the moon on gossamer wings

If we'd thought a bit 'bout the end of it
When we started to bust up the town
We'd have been aware that this love affair
Was too hot not to cool down

So good-bye, good-bye, good-bye,
Ta-ta, so long and you might even add "Amen"
Here's hopin' we'll do it again

It was great fun
But it was just one of those things
Ceci n'est pas une personne.

(no subject)

Wowzers! Good finish to the race today. As much as I'm a supporter of Tony, it was good to see Dale win.

With all the "Dale is going to race the truck" commercials, any bets that UPS enters the NASCAR Truck series with Dale as their driver next year?
Ceci n'est pas une personne.

(no subject)

It's been pointed out to me that several people on my friends list do not know what I look like, or as on person phased it, "how amazingly hot you are." [I am mentally blocking any sarcasm that might have been in that persons voice. la-la-la]

So I will post this self portrait from Peru, and follow with the story behind the picture.

This is jumping ahead a little in the travel log, but after over a week of sunny hot weather the last night we were supposed to be in the Manu forest it rain. It didn't just rain, it poured all night long. It thundered and lightninged all night also. It was a spectacular storm. The problem is, we were supposed to fly out the next day from a grass runway and they could not use it when it's wet. The next day, the day we were supposed to take off, it continued to drizzle and was butt-ass cold. We ended up having to stay at the lodge at the airport for the night. Luckily it was dry all night (so we could take off and because our huts had huge holes in their thatch roofs) so we could take off, but for what ever reason the commercial airline couldn't make it so they contacted the Peruvian Airforce (Fuerza Aerea Del Peru Grupo Aereo No. 42, to be exact) to fly us out.

In comes this Twin Engine Otter that is older than I am, it lands and they plane is almost full already, but they shoe horn us in. As I get in, I see panels are duct taped shut, the gasket around the door is missing (makes for a cold flight), and the have an off brand car stereo system mounted on the console of the plane.

We take off and have to deal with a LOT of thermals, and you can feel the plane washing around like a pig from the weight. From the condition of the plane, the weight, and the thunderstorms we flew through (not around, through) I was seriously fearing for my life for the first time on the trip. My sister digging her claws into my sholders every time we hit turbulence didn't help.

Our peak altitude was 18,500ft in an un pressurised plane, which is getting close to the limit where pressurisation is needed (20k, I think, is the limit).

Anyway, that is just how sexy I look when I'm fearing for my life.

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Ceci n'est pas une personne.

(no subject)

I don't know why my ears do this, but about every 4th flight I make, my ears clog, and take days to unclog. It's three days since my ears clogged, and I still can not hear in my left ear unless I tilt my head all the way down. It seems like when I fly my ears fill with fluid and it takes forever to drain. I wish I could find a simple solution to this, rather than being deaf for a few days after flying.