A Travellerspoint blog

Fwd: Greetings from the Peruvian Amazon.

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Begin forwarded message:

> From: Dennis Osorio <dennis.osorio.malaga@gmail.com>
> Date: November 30, 2013 at 4:24:07 PM CST
> To: hans@hffi.net, debbie@hffi.net, kstovall@charter.net, murraystovall@icloud.com, sdheisler44@gmail.com, qgheisler@gmail.com, gnkelley@aol.com, gailhodges@gmail.com, tom.hodges@gmail.com, maryemako@aol.com, kiyokolerner@gmail.com, acronemeyer@gmail.com, cronemeyer@sbcglobal.net, b.volid@yahoo.com, kenfatur@gmail.com, chucking@sbcglobal.net, bobbipricer@gmail.com, pfau0989@sbcglobal.net, cathywebbmd@gmail.com, Lesley de Souza <Lesleydesouza4@gmail.com>, cmell@sheddaquarium.org
> Subject: Greetings from the Peruvian Amazon.
>
> Buenas Tardes!
> My dear friends I hope this email find all of you fine and doing great after a safe trip back home; with some of the best memories of our last trip exploring the deep corners of the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve.
> Sorry for the delay lately I was traveling between the Amazon and the Andes and now I have couple of days before to start my next trip from the Tambopata National Reserve to Machu Picchu, so I want to take this moment to send my best to all of you.
> In behalf of the entire crew, the naturalists, all the bands and myself; I want to send our greetings and deep thanks to visit Perú.
> Our special thanks to Lesley and Sheryl for coming with such a nice group from the Shedd Aquarium and share with us their knowledge and great enthusiasm, thanks Lesley for your special presentations there were very interesting and also to take care of Murray after being attack by a Singer Catfish, Murray please let us know how are you and I know you must be enjoying the outdoors...
> It was great to have so many celebrations on board: Hans & Debbie! Ken & Benita! Murray and Karen! Tom! Susan! Wow! I hope you keep celebrating life if is possible with a Pisco Sour.
> I hope all of you enjoyed the trip as much as I did being the expedition leader of this amazing group, there are lots of things to remember, like the excursions, the scenery, piranha fishing, kayaking, the meals, music and something that we are going to remember is the positive energy of all the group.
> Also your visit have a special meaning because it support environmental education, conservation and health of the people of the Amazon, important things for the sustainable development. Bobbi, our special thanks for your book... muchas gracias.
>
> And I have something very special to share with you, the week after you leave we purchase the broken pieces and fixed the motor pump so San Jose de Paranapura have clear water again, I attached a photo of that great moment.. thanks to you guys one more time.
> Thanks one more time to come and to choose the Peruvian Amazon as a destination. if you need more information about anything related to the trip please contact me.
> I can only hope that our traveling paths cross again. Please remember that we are at your service 24/7, always.
>
> Best Regards,
>
>
>
> Dennis Osorio

Posted by Hanser61 16:31 Comments (0)

Day 4

sunny 87 °F

Day 4 Monday
We woke up early to do a nature trip into one of the tributaries. The guide, Juanito, hoped to see a monkey that was 5 inches long. We were'nt able to locate one but we were able to see a few more birds. The interesting thing about this trip was that the tributary we had entered was dry only 5 weeks ago but now that the Amazon has entered the rainy season, it rose 7 ft and was navigable for about 1/2 mile.
We came back to the boat and again, had an excellent breakfast that had a Peruvian flare. I was noticing a pattern. Many times the local fare was pretty....local .. and should remain that way. But most of the dishes were quite good and would complement any dining table.
After breakfast we had a naturalist talk about the indigeous people. Ucil, having grown up in a village simalar to these, told us the certain customs of the people. They will shake your hand hard and if you didn't respond the same way this would draw suspicion. Additionally, it was imperative that you looked them in the eye when speaking with them or you would also be regarded as suspect. These people are proud of what they have and are willing to share. There are no locks on doors so if a neighbor needed something, it was acceptable to just go in and get it. That's trust!
As we entered the village of Nuevo York, ( you guessed it, New York), we were met by four young boys, ranging from about 5 to 8, as we walked up about 20 carved out steps to the terra firma. We then proceeded to a shade tree at the edge of the village to wait for the village mayor to come and welcome us. A few of the children regarded us with curiousity but kept they're distance. Once the mayor arrived we were welcomed into the village. His name was Andre. He gave a warm and welcoming speech and guided us to our first stop, one of the villagers homes. All of the homes were on stilts in the event of flooding. We were welcomed in this home by Roberto. He was 61 years old and had married for the second time. Between him and his second wife, their children numbered 15. He had 8,, his second wife had 5, and together they had 2. He impressed me in his demeanor as he was proud of his family, his home, and his lifestyle. In a kettle on an open fire, was boiling dinner which consisted of a whole catfish. I was surprised that, when cleaning the fish, they removed the stomach and intestines, leaving the rest of the fish, head, gills, whiskers and all to be simmered into a broth. His home consisted of a large gathering room, and 2 bedrooms. The boards were all hewn by chainsaw, the roof was thatched with the leaves and reeds from plants that had to be harvested and carried from a distance of 3-4 hours. There were no motorized anything, except for the pump for the well water, so everything had to be done by hand. The well water pump was a product of government improvement which didn't work most of the time, ( go figure).
There was a mile long cement sidewalk down the middle of the village. We were told that all villages had this improvement. We wondered why, since improvements were scare and they said that it was neccessary in reducing deaths from snake bites. Since visability was restricted in walking through the grasses, it was dangerous to walk. With the sidewalk, it was clear if and when a snake was venturing across it.
We were treated to an enjoyable encounter with the grade school children at the one room schoolhouse. There were about 25 children between the ages of 5 and 10. boys and girls were close to equally represented. Juanito, one of our guides, was allowed to take over the instruction of these kids for about an hour while we sat on wooden chairs of which, in America, were the norm in kindergarten. Here's the disconnect. We were handed cold wash clothes via tongs as we enterred the warm classroom while these children were presenting themselve with the very best they had, school uniform and shoes. There were no desks or tables around except for the teachers desk so I wondered where they were able to do their schoolwork.
Juanito endeared himself to us by his interaction with the kids. They loved him. He had them singing songs to us, counting to us in English and speaking all of our names as we said, "Mi llamo es ( our name), and they would reply, "Hola, ______".
Many of us had brought school supplies and at that moment Hans and I deeply regretted that we hadn't brought more.
We returned to the boat and again had a fabulous lunch. I couldn't help but wonder what those kids were having for lunch.
After a rest period (siesta) we were given a presentation by Dr. Leslie Souza about her studies on the Arapaima While that may seem like a real snoozer to you, you'd have to meet Dr. Souza. She is now just Leslie to us. A 36 year old scientist studying an endangered species that can only be found in the Amazon Basin. Leslie is from Brazil but was transplanted to northern New York state by her academic father. She shared her passion in understanding the arapaima which is an obligate fish ( Ok I had no idea what obligate was until today). This is a ancient fish that, although it has gills, it has to come up for air approx. every 20 minutes. It lives in stagnant and muddy waters . It is harvested for food as it's quite tasty. She showed pictures of capturing these fish and tagging them along with inserting a gps to follow them. This entails enterring waters that have cayman (crocodile) pirahna, leeches and any number of parasites. Hats Off to you, Dr. Leslie.
After the talk we took another skiff ride to the confluence of three rivers. Here we were treated to numerous sightings of pink and gray dolphins, one of which emerged right along side our skiff.
Returning we again were treated to another wonderful Peruvian meal. But here's where it goes from great to awesome. As dinner was winding down and dessert was next, the crew turned off the lights to the dining room and entered singing and carrying a cake. We were all clapping as they winded through the tables and all of us sudden they stopped at our table, placing the cake between Hans and I, and guess what it said....... Happy 40th anniversary! Cheryl Mell, the­­ director at the Shedd Aquarium and the head of this trip had arranged this surprise after she heard the details of why we were taking this trip.
The celebration continued on the lounge deck with dancing to a boom box with the South American guides that really know how to move. What a memorable day!

Posted by Hanser61 17:56 Comments (1)

Day 3 Explorers

sunny 89 °F

Day 3
Had to be up and have our breakfast and be ready to take our first skiff ride by 9. Ucil was our naturalist guide on this trip. He spotted numerous birds of which are only found here in the Amazon. We had a couple of great surprises. The first was the pink dolphins. These are the only fresh water dolphins in the world. They didn't jump like the dolphins in the ocean, just came to the surface to get a breath and dive back down. They weren't entirely pink. They were pink and gray in color.
We came back to the boat and had a naturalist talk about the Amazon and where we were going to travel along with some of the things the naturalists hoped we would come upon. We were going to take the skiffs on a tributary of the Amazon with the purpose of seeing some animals and more birds. After the talk we had a most excellent lunch except fo the red peppers, I chowed down as if they were red bell peppers. WRONG! Talk about 4 alarm! Cooled it down with homemade ice cream for dessert. I was commenting on how good the ice cream was only to find out that they make it in Iquitos.
After lunch everybody took a two hour break. Hans and I stayed on the observation/lounge deck for more viewing. We had a very informative conversation with one of the naturalists, Ucil, who actually grew up in a village on the Amazon. As we were moving we were viewing some of the indiginous people harvesting rice. Ucil said that these people would sell a ton of this rice to the mills for $200 who in turn, would package it, and sell it for $3500! If you were to see how these people were harvesting this rice, no mechanization what so ever, you'd understand the depths of the travesty of this.
At 3 o'clock we again, took the skiffs out on an excursion. We took a small tributary off of the Amazon to explore. We continued seeing birds of various colors. We saw a Blue Heron perched in a small tree ( I didn't know they would actually land in trees). Our afternoon surprise came when we saw a critter with reddish brown fur curled up in a tree. It was a sloth. He was the first of 5 we would see this afternoon. He was the most active and seemed to find us quite interesting. We saw spider monkeys and mandarin monkeys. We saw the cutest Owl monkey. I hope the picture I took turns out as he was adorable! The locals came out in their boats, the entire family, to sell their wares. Some very beautiful handmade items. I couldn't deny the little girl with the big eyes so I bought a beaded bowl from her. This type of bartering has gone on for probably hundreds of years. I wondered if their lives would ever change and even if they would welcome that change.
We came to a tourist conservation camp sight that was a grouping of screened in rooms with a few closed area rooms that were used as bedrooms. There wasn't anybody at this camp because, I was told, it wasn't tourist season. I was the last one to depart from the rest room and Ucil, the guide was waiting to make sure we all got back. As we were leaving the screened in areas I saw "a kitty" making his way through the enclosures. Ucil said that's not a kitty, that's an ocelot. Tried to get a picture but the "kitty" sauntered off.
We were to expect a surprise before dinner once we got back to the boat and freshened up. We went to the lounge area and were entertained with Peruvian music by the crew with our naturalist, Ucil as the drummer. They played the flat flute that is typical of peruvian music along with a guitar a lyr the flute and Ucil beating a hollow wooden box he was sitting on as if it was a bongo. It was perfect entertainment for the whole ambiance of the trip, on an open deck boat, traveling down the Amazon. The coolest thing was that after they were done entertaining us, they came and served us a superb meal! With homemade vanilla bean ice cream, mmm mmm!

Posted by Hanser61 17:53 Comments (0)

Day 2-Amazon

This goes back to before my laptop died.

sunny 87 °F

Day 2
We took a tour of Lima with Jose as our tour guide. The first stop, The San Francisco church was where we went into the catacombs under the church. Everything had gold or gold gilding. There were some Rubens paintings that were donated to the church by their rich benefactors with the expectations to a clear pathway to heaven. They had an entire wall with South America's idea to the last supper. With all of the usual disciples, it included women an children in the peripheral. The main course was ...wait for it.... guinea pig. This is a highly regarded complement to the person who is being honored.
We continued on to the Lima Cathedral. This is the only cathedral in Lima and was every bit as striking as any that I've seen in Paris, (not that I've seen them all) What made this cathedral different is that it was built with reeds/bamboo covered in stucco. The reason it was able to last this many years is that Lima is actually desert with very little rainfall. Also, it's withstood earthquakes because it can sway.
Our final stop was in the main square in front of the presidential palace. They were doing the Peru version of changing of the guard. I thought it was a parade at first with the all of the uniforms and the band instruments.
We had lunch at a Sheraton Hotel even though there were countless numbers of street vendors. I think our guide was making sure we didn't get sick as our trip was just beginning. Besides the native Peruvian foods they had sushi. This surprised me until they said that there was a large influence of Chinese in Peru.
After lunch we flew to Iquitos which took about 1 1/2 hours. I sat next to a young lady named Melissa who was finishing her nursing internship at a clinic in Caballo Ranchos, (phonically spelled only as I've not confirmed this) which is on the Amazon. She was returning from Trubillo where she had a months vacation to visit her family. The trip to Lima took 8 hours by bus arriving in Lima at 8am. She had to wait all day for the plane that departed for Iquitos at 3:30pm and as mentioned earlier, took 1 1/2 hours to get to Iquitos. Once there, it was going to take another 12 hours to get back to the clinic that she worked at. Talk about a commute!
Once we arrived in Iquitos we were bused to the boat. We were pleasantly surprised at the accommodations. Quite nice for being on the Amazon. Air conditioned rooms and the staff can really whip up some good Peruvian Food!

Posted by Hanser61 17:49 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Friday -last full day

Saying Good bye to Peru

Day 15 Fri last day Got up early and took the bus to the Cusco airport. We bid goodbye to Harvey, Manuel and Roger, the driver. I noticed something interesting about the names of the people nere in Peru. If we were expecting spanish names we were surprised as many of the names we encountered were American, or I should say USA as these people are American too just South. The flight was a quick 1 1/2 hours to Lima which would take 22 hours if driven because of the mountains and the condition of the roads going through them. We were picked up by another tour bus which drove us 45 minutes to the Puro Peru restaurant. whe we heard it was a buffet everybody growned. But were we surprised at the quality and selection! There was every kindof Peruvia food imaginable along with a grill to ordersection and also a sushi bar. The last was a surprise until we remembered the Japenese decendants from the railroad building years On to our hotel, the Swisshotel in San Isador a suburb of Lima. It seemed fitting that we end at the same hotel that we started in. Some of the group were leaving later today so they were given a "day" room. Same as any other room wherethey could nap, shower or just relax before their flight. We all met at thebar a 7 as the group was going to leave at various time thereafter. We wished everyone goodbye, promising that we'll do this again.

Posted by Hanser61 18:07 Comments (0)

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