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Things I learned in the Peruvian Amazon

Added 09 Dec 2013
Things I learned in the Peruvian Amazon

Teresa Kirby is the winner of our blog competition for November. She spent some time in Peru's Amazonian rainforest and shares some of the unique experiences she had while there...

"We were never short of adventure in Peru, and I learnt a lot:

peru amazon familyThat I would need a lot of practice to hunt with a slingshot
We stopped at a local farmstead on the La Raya pass of the Altiplano. The children showed us their llamas, and their parents demonstrated how to use a slingshot for hunting.  They asked if anyone would like to try.  So I approached the fence, slingshot in hand, and saw everyone behind me duck.

You can melt your boots on Lake Titicaca and gain a new husband
A taxi pedalled us downhill to the shores of Lake Titicaca, and we boarded our boat.  It was a warm day, the lake was calm, and I drifted off on deck. I awoke to the smell of burning rubber - the soles of my walking boots had been resting against the boat’s engines, and had started to melt.

Fortunately, my melted boots did not stick to the reeds of the Uros floating island.  One islander showed me the inside of his reed house, complete with TV and radio.  He gave me a traditional blouse, skirt and head-dress to wear, before posing for photographs with me.  He said that I would make a fine Peruvian wife!

peru amazon monkeyThat the Amazon is truly beautiful and full of sounds
The voyage to the Refugio Amazonas lodge in Puerto Maldonado was a real highlight. We feasted on Brazil nuts, and rice and vegetables wrapped in giant leaves, as we made our way up the Madre de Rios River in a narrow boat for 3 hours, only stopping to get our passports stamped, and listened to the sound of Howler monkeys and Hoatzin (“stinkbirds”).

That when it rains in the Amazon, it really rains
We were halfway through a guided walk into the Amazon, when the deluge started. We tried sheltering under the trees – there was a lot of choice, but we still got soaked.  Our guide became worried about our narrow, shallow boat – it was rapidly filling up with water, and in danger of sinking.  And, as our guide didn’t want us falling into the piranha-infested waters, we walked along the bottom of the boat - my melted boots now filled with water too.  We made it back to the lodge just in time – the river was only one inch below the rim of the boat by the time we clambered out.

I knew that I needed to keep one set of clothes dry so, undeterred, for the afternoon’s tour, I donned my swimsuit, the wet clothes from the morning, and borrowed a pair of the lodge’s wellington boots.

peru amazon teresaThat a Pisco Sour is a great drink
...despite containing two ingredients that a traveller is told to avoid – crushed ice and raw egg white.

Everyone can hear everything
And I learnt that, when staying in open-air rooms, everyone can hear everything.

It was our last night, and we’d just returned from an excursion into the Amazon. As I entered the room, I saw a 6 inch green mantis-type insect on the mosquito net around my bed.  Horrified, I shrieked, “I’m not getting into bed with that – it’s just too big.”  Laughter erupted all around me, and the room lit up with my blush, and the bedroom’s flickering candles in the lanterns."

Have you own adventure holiday in Peru with the pick of our trips to the country or send in an entry to our blog competition for the chance to win £150 in Explore vouchers.