Day 2 - Amazon Voyage; Saturday - Feb. 9, 2008
We had a spectacular breakfast at the Swissotel, a five star hotel, so that means you can brush your teeth with tap water plus not worry about getting water in your mouth when you wash your face or shower. I had lomo saltadora over rice for breakfast. I will have to look it up when I get home. It had lots of spice. Tom and my Dad stuck to the more traditional breakfast fare. We had our briefing for our tour and then lunch. Our guides don’t take malaria pills but we found out that most of the people going are on meds for malaria, but I am glad we are not. The guide for Smithsonian doesn’t take anything. He told us that we are not in malaria country. He also said on the very rare case that you contact the disease, call your doctor and with meds, in one day you are cured. For lunch, I had ceviche which is their version of shushi. They take all kinds of raw fish including squid and octopus and combine it with salt, lime and fish juice which cooks the fish. I really liked it but don’t think I will learn how it is exactly done to serve for company. No one can say I am not trying in the local culture. One of my Kindermusik students is picked up each day by her Peruvian nanny. When she found out I was going to Peru, she told me I had to try this dish. I did, and I am glad.
Next, we had a short driving tour of Lima. Miguel, our guide told us about the Rimca River which was so rich with fish when the explorer Pizzaro came that you could pick up fresh water shrimp by the handfuls, and now all one can catch is tin cans and shoes. We then flew to Iquintos, and of course, had a snack on the plane. We learned that Iquintos, which can only be reached by plane or boat started with 500 people and is named after the Iquintos Indians that inhabited the area when Pizzaro came. It became a booming wealthy city during the rubber boom, which lasted about thirty years. You can still see a few of the outsides of these wealthy homes. Everything was extremely poor. People everywhere - about 500,000 of them. Our guide lives there and he was so proud of his city. No crime there because the people on the whole are very happy people. Maybe poverty has it good points.
That evening we found the “La Amatista” which will be our home for the next seven days. Our guide described her as, “cute.” Now that I am on her, “cute” is a good word. There is not one straight floor anywhere on the ship.
The International Expedition is dedicated to saving the Amazon Rainforest. They take care of the protected areas, and generate employment for more than 400 employees. All of them receive permanent training, not only in their areas of expertise, but also in the management of the jungle itself. This is carried out to the point that the boats and most of the furniture on board has been made of non-typical wood, which was taken from different areas of the jungle. In this way, they have reduced the impact upon the ecosystem. At the same time, created more work opportunities for the people that live in these areas.
Dinner was veggies, fish and chicken thighs. It was very good but sort of reminds me of camp. It is, eat what is on your plate, and then dinner is over. Off to bed for the entire ship.
More to Follow,
Tom and Holly