Monday, March 4, 2013

jungle :: day two

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Our second day in the jungle was our favorite by far! It started with a 6:30am wake up call and banana pancakes. Then we were in the boat again traveling down the Nanay River.

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Our first stop was the Pilpintuwasi butterfly farm and animal reserve. They rescue animals from poachers, as well as take in sick and malnourished animals. They are then raised in semi-captivity because they can never be fully released back into the jungle and survive. 

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When we arrived at the reserve it started pouring down rain. And I mean pouring down rain. Even though we got soaking wet and the little kids cried a lot of the way, it was an incredible experience hiking through the rainforest. 

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{Real chrysalises and butterflies}
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{Jaguar}
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{Macaws in the rain}
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{And our favorite, the red howler monkey and the red uakari monkey. One of the monkeys bit Ford, so none of the kids would go near them after that.}
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{Their howling noises are incredible. I'm sure you can guess what our kids thought it sounded like, much to their amusement.}




After the reserve, we boarded the boat for lunch on the river. We ate "juane" which is a typical dish of the Peruvian jungle consisting of mainly rice and meat and wrapped in leaves. It was actually named after John the Baptist and in Iquitos, on June 24th of every year, they celebrate the feast of San Juan and everyone eats juanes. Our guide said the amount of leaves leftover on that day makes for a lot of trash!

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Our next stop was the most, um, memorable of the trip. We visited a native tribal community in the jungle. The reality is that most of this tribe no longer lives like this, but they perform their traditional dances for visitors in order to support the tribe and to preserve their traditions. To appreciate our experience you have to watch these videos. And unless boobies offend you, I promise that you will want to see these videos.



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So, after dancing with naked ladies, we boarded the boat again and headed to the Amazon River to look for pink dolphins. In one of the pictures below you can see the line where the Nanay River and Amazon River meet. The Amazon is the brown water and the Nanay is the black water. I'm not smart enough to explain why the rivers don't mix, but it has something to do with temperature (I think).

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Obviously seeing the pink river dolphins isn't guaranteed, but we had our hearts set on it. And thankfully we did! Riley said seeing the dolphins was a highlight of the trip for her. It was hard to get pictures of them because I was never ready when they jumped, but you can see bits of them in the pictures below.

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Our last stop for the day was a food market at the convergence of the rivers. Last year Iquitos had record rainfall and most of this market was underwater. 

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And then we saw these nasty guys squirming around. And Blake, Lee, and Sofia all ate one. It's Suri- grub worms that are roasted on a stick. Gross.

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After walking around the market for awhile, we got back on the boat to go home. We obviously spent a lot of time on the boat, but it was mostly a very peaceful time for all of us. We would take turns laying on the front of the boat and just enjoying the beautiful blue sky and calm water (two things we don't have in Lima). 

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Of course, the kids ended the day swimming and bathing in the river. Brady also tried out his new bow and arrow. Then it was fish for dinner and another early bed time!

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Jungle recaps:
jungle :: day one

jungle :: day three
jungle :: day four
jungle :: day five

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