Monday 21st September 2015
We started our second day in the jungle with pancakes. I remember how I had it with butter, lemon and sugar, while Katie put mango and strawberry jam, and Stefan only strawberry jams. So many ways of having your pancake!
After breakfast, we were ready for a morning walk in the jungle. The caiman was still tied to the rope, looking more weak than the day before. We asked when they would release it, and they said soon. Ok…
With Katie and Rachel, we went again with Yair as our guide, while Stefan, Jana, Miriam and Chris went with Franck. We thought, alright, let see today how it is, maybe it is better than yesterday, who knows. We saw the rubber tree.
Walked around in the jungle. Those trees are so huge! Very similar trees to trees in Queensland tropical rainforest.
I remember we asked a bit about these giant leaves and when Yair touched them randomly, some very small bats were sleeping under them and flew away in a matter of seconds. It was nice to see that! I remember asking him which insect was eating the leaves, if it was ants or others, and him replying that the holes were made by the rain and wind in the jungle when the rain and wind were strong. Not sure if I believe that, but ok then.
We saw this wasp nest under some other leaves.
We kept walking around. Yair was making a lot of noise with his machete on paths where it was not needed to chop anything as we could go through. I remember that Katie asked him: “Yair, can you please stop making noise with your machete so we can see animals?” And he replied “This way we scare them, it is better.” And Katie replied: “No, we don`t want to scare them. We came here to see them. Can you please stop doing that.” We were getting annoyed again. Yair was not only making useless noise. He was giving us the impression of just walking around without trying to see something or show us anything, just walking randomly to kill time. It was very frustrating. Some shot of the area where we walked.
Strangler fig that we saw, called differently in the Amazon jungle. Similar tree to Australian strangler figs though.
We arrived at this liana. It was dropping down from the top, really long.
There was some wood attached to it and we each balanced on it, that was fun.
Later Yair showed us this. He said “It is white as a young cockroach.” Katie said “But this is not a cockroach, right? What is it?” Yair said “No, it is not a coackroach, but it is white like it.” but could not tell us what it was. It looked like a kind of caterpillar. It almost felt like he was proud of having learnt a new word recently, cockroach, and just wanted to use it. But when it came to knowing what that was, or explaining us, nothing…
Towards the end of the walk, we saw those 2 centipedes.
We came back from that morning walk really unhappy. On the opposite, Jana, Stefan, Miriam and Nick had seen monkeys and had had fun with Franck. I talked with Katie and Rachel and they were both as frustrated as me so I had a chat to Franck and bluntly told him that Yair was a crappy guide, that he didn`t know how to search for animals, that he didn`t know how to answer questions, and that he was making crappy jokes and we were not happy and from now on we would not go with him as a guide and wanted to go with him, Franck. He said alright then. Well, he didn`t have much choice anyway. I would have got onto a boat and gone back to Iquitos and found a 3-day jungle trip somewhere else if we were stuck with him. It was the first time since the start of my trip that I was so unhappy on a guided tour. I learned a lesson that day. When you go to a place like the Amazon Jungle, what matters the most is to have a good guide. You may not see animals, because ultimately this is wild life, it may appear on your way when you are there or not. But you still need a good guide. So next time, I would read on TripAdvisor about guides that people recommended, more than about an agency they recommended, and would go to an agency and ask to be with that specific guide or not go with them. Ultimately, when you spend 5 days in the jungle and do not plan to go again that soon, it does make a huge difference to have a great guide. Voila. Lesson learned. So anyway, from that moment onwards, there was Franck around luckily and we just merged with the Germans and did the rest with them and Franck as a guide.
We had lunch and then jumped into the canoes again to go to the other side of the river not too far away and walk to the village of Liberta or “Freedom”.
I remember how as soon as we started walking on the other side of the river, Franck told all of us to make sure we walked in silence and not to chat so we could see animals. He was not making un-needed noise with his machete like Yair had just done in the morning. Just one more example of what a good guide who wants to show you things would do. Not too long after we had started walking, Beto who was walking also with Franck and assisting him, cut with the machete some of the bark of this tree.
Franck asked Stefan and Nick to try to tear it apart, to show us how strong and resistant it was.
Then Beto and him made belts for a few of us. I was very happy to get a jungle belt as I didn`t have a belt and kept loosing my pants! Here is how the belt was looking. They also made bracelets for a few of the girls. I preferred the belt though, more useful for me personally!
Later we saw this fish net in which this bird got entangled and died. When it is the rainy season, sometimes the water goes really high and the locals instal fish net to catch some fishes in those spots. But when it gets dry again, sometimes they don`t remove the fish nets, and some birds get entangled in them sadly.
In this tree in the far distance were some small brown monkeys jumping from branches to branches but they were really fast and far and I didn`t get a shot of them. It was nice to see them though.
Franck showed us this leaf. He explained to us that when you are lost in the jungle and night comes, if there is enough moon you can use the light of the moon on this leaf to use the leaf as a torch.
You put the leaf on the floor, in the moonlight. The leaf will reflect the moonlight a little bit, depending on how full the moon is and it will help you see around you the surroundings to orientate yourself and decide in which direction to go.
Later we saw this tree which they call a stair tree because it is very easy to climb. So we all went to climb it and it was really fun. It felt like being children again. I really like this shot here because it reminds me of movies in which children are lost on an island and live on their own, totally free, doing crazy stuff, building tree houses and creating their own rules. It was fun for a moment to be there and climb this, all of us, like children we used to be!
Later we saw this spiky tree. Wouldn`t want to run into it!
And off we continued to walk through the jungle towards the village.
In the jungle we can see massive shells. Didn`t see the snails in there alive though, but just the shells. Here is someone had put on a tree branch.
I can`t remember the name of this fruit. We tried it, it looked like mango but didn`t have much taste though.
Beto and Franck spotted those footprints! They were the footprints of a tapir. So cool, even if we didn`t see the tapir!
Getting closer to the village, we saw this tree in which were vultures.
We tried out this fruit at the entrance of the village. It was quite bitter, very lemony.
Entering the village of Liberta. I like how the canoes are placed below each house.
The main square, a football field, which can be used for local events too.
There was this old woman walking through the field, a lorikeet laying on her hand. She seemed like a child. I could imagine her when she was a kid, crossing this same field, with a bird already on her hand. She had such a peaceful face, very alive and full of energy. I love this scene.
We bought some beers and went to sit to watch the football game. Yair, Franck, Beto, Stefan and Nick went to play while the girls we just had our beer and chatted, sitting on a bench and watching the game. It was nice to chill out after the walk through the jungle. The humidity is so strong, we get so sweaty with sticky wet clothes that it gets really tiring.
After the football game, we jumped in the canoe waiting for us and went back to the Lodge on the canoes.
Dinner that evening, kind of noodle soup with eggs and some white bread.
After that, we went for a night walk. We were happy to be with Franck because he knew how to get the tarantula on his arm. Here is Katie posing with one. Tarantulas look a bit scary but in reality they are really cute, and when you see everyone showing their arm and getting the tarantula to walk on it, and you see the tarantula walking very slowly on the arm, you are not scared anymore. It is a very pretty spider, so different from other spiders which can be more scary.
After that we saw this bird sleeping. And not much else, other tarantulas, a cricket sleeping, even a centipede. Walking through the jungle at night, itself, is a fantastic experience though. You walk with the torches and you hear the jungle sounds, the crickets, the frogs, the monkeys, some birds, it is just such a beautiful atmosphere, I really like that. And compared to the daytime, it is also less humid! Still a bit, but less.
Back at the lodge, we saw this frog, ready to catch some insect it had seen!
After that we went to bed. I had asked during the day to everyone if they would be ok with having brekky at 7am instead of 8am so we could leave earlier to go to sleep in the jungle the next day. We all woke up that morning around 6.30am so having breakfast at 8am seemed to me like a waste of time, it is so much better to make the most of each morning. As everyone was happy with that, I asked Franck if that would be ok, he said ok. Even if there were some bad aspects of this trip, for example Yair the crappy guide, or in general an okish food but not that great, at least they made efforts to accommodate wishes. At first, Franck had said we would not do any night walk that evening, but we said we would love to do one, and that`s why he did that night walk that evening with us. So that was the positive side of this trip, saying that, we did have to ask for things for them to happen, when I expect a good agency to already know what to do in order to make happy the people they take on a trip. I guess I have really being spoilt by the quality of the Galapagos cruise and the Huaraz Santa Cruz trek with Huascaran and got much more demanding than before maybe!! I do want quality now!!
Next day, off deeper into the jungle on a 5-hour canoe trip, let`s go put those hammocks up and sleep in the wild (kind of!) 😀