We were forced to awake early in our Lima House the day we departed for the Amazon.

The flight was short, and when I stepped outside the plane it wasn’t as nearly as hot as I had expected.

We waved down three motos and loaded our bags and then headed to the combi hub, where all the combis congregated. We had to wait a while in our combi so I took a little nap.

The ride was three to four hours long and winded through the jungle. Leafy jungle greenery coated cliffs leading down to the river  were everywhere you looked.

I liked the ride, but everyone else got some form of car sickness. Pansies.

Night had fallen when we arrived, and the motos we got understood our urgency to get to the boat before we left. We breezed by getting the hammocks, but went down to the dock to see the boat halfway down the river.

It was quite disappointing.

The dock was crowded with people, who immediately swarmed us as soon as we got there, asking if we here for the boat and that it had already left. Repeatedly. The mosquitoes were bad, and I had to get sprayed down with nasty bug spray.

There were a lot of bats that were zooming around, and under every light was a thick cloud of insects. Great.

Dad talked to several people and we ended up checking out another boat. I stayed outside to watch the bags, but Mom reported peeling paint and coated with bugs.

We decided to stay in a hotel for that night and headed to the cheapest one.

After a peaceful night in the hotel, it was decided to take the boat that supposedly left that day at three. So we hung up our hammocks and it was then that I realized exactly how hot it was. It was hot, very hot. So hot that when I fell asleep in my hammock, the side of my face was coated in sweat when I woke up. So hot that moving sounded exhausting.

Other hammocks were set up around us and Ryan and Jack started talking to a girl named Noemi who was selling things on the boat while I slept (again.)

The boat didn’t leave that day.

But it was still alright, since we had some time before we would worry about not making our flight tickets to Iquitos.

The Captain reassured us several times that we would leave bright and early the next day, so we were cool.

I chilled in a hammock until a giant moth that was practically the size of my head started fluttering around, so I fled to the cabin.

Ryan and I slept in the cabin (I couldn’t believe I could sleep, since all I had been doing was sleeping all day) and everyone else slept in the hammocks. We had mosquito netting around the bunks to keep out all the freaky Amazonian bugs.

The next day Mom forced us out of bed ridiculously early at nine o’clock. The boat gave us breakfast, which consisted of strange banana milk and bread. I gave mine to Dad, because I wasn’t hungry.

It was another day of lazing around the hammock while there were several false departures. Sylvia found a giant black beetle that she kept picking up and playing with it, letting it crawl up her arms and whatnot. It was pretty creepy. Then Mom stepped on it and the fun ended.

As night began to fall, we started to worry. If the boat didn’t leave then we wouldn’t make it. Dad talked to the Captain, who said we would leave tomorrow. That was too late, so we packed up and sat on the deck so we could refund our money.

All the people on the boat were getting rowdy and the Captain had left, so we were stuck until he came back. We brought all the bags down in the dark, which was lame because you couldn’t see where you were going and when you stepped on one of the giant black beetles everywhere it would go crunch. Ugh.

Finally, someone informed us he would not be back until the next morning so we went back to our hotel.

Dad got our money refunded and we spent the day walking around the small town, going to markets and whatnot and relaxing in our hotel.

We made plans to take a tour up the river in a small boat the next day then went out for dinner where they served the traditional food of Peru: French fries, hot dogs and chicken. Otherwise known as salchipapas. Noemi came with us, since we were all friends now.

The next day the power was out, so the fan in our hotel room didn’t work. It was surprisingly cool, all things considered.

We gathered at by far one of the fanciest hotels in town where the boat was parked. Our tour guide, Gabriel, was the manager of the hotel.

The boat ride was quite nice, despite the fact I was worried about crashing, sinking and drowning the whole time. It did not help when Mom told me that if we ended up in the river, swim for the nearest bank and don’t panic, since I apparently ‘seem like the one who would panic’. Thanks Mom.

We turned down onto a small limb of the river and hitched the boat up to where small town was. There were motos there, and I wondered how they got them there. There were kids jumping off the dirt cliffs into the river, which would’ve been fun if it hadn’t, you know, been the jungle with all kinds of poisonous things.

We got a moto and started the drive to a lake that was apparently situated there somewhere and where we would be fishing and canoeing.

While we were driving, I could see what looked like little bushes or dirt, but when the car got close it would turn out to be a swarm of butterflies in all different colors- blue, green, red. Mostly light green and blue, though. It was amazing. They would flutter by in a cloud right next to you.

We parked and started down the path to where there was a house. We entered a fence and walked down a mud path. Little piglets and chickens frolicked about and cool jungle trees were everywhere.

We had to cross several boards across particularly muddy parts.

The canoe was small and I fell and almost tumbled into the frightening dark Amazonian lake water, but luckily didn’t.

The lake was eerily silent as we rowed around, getting dangerously close to the weeds that clung to the banks. The water was weirdly warm, and bright red and blue dragonflies zoomed around.

We eventually tuned onto a little limb from the main lake that was also pressingly silent, and the water was considerably colder then before.

Dad and Pepe took out the net and attempted to catch fish. They failed.

We floated into a floating field of strange green flowers that just… floated there. The roots were under the water and you could just pick them up. It was cool.

We turned around since we had to eat dinner and rowed back.

The path up to the house where dinner was situated was steps and there were cocoa beans scattered all over it, you had to balance on the edge.

Dinner was catfish. Whole catfish, with the fish and the tails and everything. It was surprisingly good, and I actually ate mine. Annabelle and Max ate four.

The next thing on the agenda was horseback riding, which Annie was ridiculously excited for. There were two horses, a big white one and a small red one. Annie and Max went first while the rest of us chillaxed on a log. Some of the people who lived there gave us some funky guavas, which I opted out of trying.

The biggest little ones were gone for about fifteen minutes, then Sylvia took Max’s place and Annie went again. This time while they were gone the people gave us fruit that was soft and shockingly sour. I didn’t like it very much.

We were supposed to be back by six, when the private combi we hired would take us back to the airport town, but we were pretty sure we’d be too late.

Two more horse rides later we hitched another combi ride to a boat. There were sadly no butterflies, since night was falling.

The boat ride was dark and Dad and Ryan had to sit up on the hull and tell us when there were logs. Occasionally they wouldn’t see some and we’d hit them with a terrible thunk.

Mom hissed at us to be present since it was dangerous, which wasn’t really reassuring.

Luckily we got back fine and made it to our hotel. The plan was to get the combi tomorrow at six am.

Bright and early the next morning we boarded the combi and headed to the airport town.

Once we arrived there, we headed directly to StarPeru and spent two hours there, hammering out any issues in our flight and whatnot.

After we were done there we hauled our duffel bags over to a cafe and spent the rest of the day there, killing time till our flight left at five o’clock.

The flight was sort of turbulence filled, but it wasn’t too bad.

When we touched down in Lima it was dark, and we got a taxi to our Lima House.

The next day was spent packing up everything and organizing things. Our flight left at 1:40 am and Ryan’s and Dad’s left at 12:30.

The airport was airport like and we wallowed away while we waited for the boarding of our flight to begin, reminiscing about our times in South America and what we missed about America and whatnot.

We boarded the flight at 1:40 am and it left at 2:25.

I dozed on and off during the flight, which was seven hours. I didn’t like sleeping on the planes that much…

Breakfast consisted of a strange egg filled bread thing, cubed pineapple and a croissant.

We landed in America!

The line at customs seemed endless, but we somehow breezed through it and into the Land Of The Free.

We called our hotel, and they came to pick us up in a schmancy van with electronic doors. It was shocking, after living with motos. It even had seatbelts!

We got to our hotel and lazed around for the whole day, recovering from our flight and that’s it. We ordered pizza for dinner. So different, after salchipapas and chifa…

The next day was spent next to the same, though Mom was trying to figure out to get to Wal-Mart. The nearest one was five miles away, and to get there without a car would involve a long string of buses.

The next day was spent the same.

Today we were able to get the hotel to take us for ten dollars to drop us off and ten to pick us up. The first thing we did was wander, awed, around Wal-Mart before we went to Taco Bell and drank fountain drinks (!) without worrying about getting sick.

We walked back over to Wal-Mart and went on a shopping spree, buying Little Debby’s and chips and all kinds of things we hadn’t had in months.

It’s good to be home.


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