A Travellerspoint blog

Santiago

Sydney to Santiago

overcast 22 °C

have arrived safely in Santiago. Had a good flight and had a bit of luck being upgraded from Auckland to Santiago into business - very nice up the sharp end. found hotel OK and have had a day walking around the city - lots of smog and lots of people but the city is very clean. The city is surrounded by mountains and you can just see the snow on top of the mountains when the smog clears a bit. Head off tomorrow to Lima with a very early start and should be met there on arrival to start our tour of the Amazon.
Take care Love us

Posted by PennyJohn 15:11 Archived in Chile Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

The Amazon

Iquitos

sunny 36 °C

After an early start - getting up at 0300 hrs for our flight to Iquitos the flight was delayed after taxying out and getting into the takeoff line, due to cloud/haze over Iquitos initially, and then when taxying back to the terminal the flight was cancelled due to birds over the airport until 5.00pm that night - so had a bit of a wait at the airport with no real waiting area so we waited in the cafeteria area with all everyones bags against the back wall to reduce the risk of stuff being stolen - we had no dramas. They have these black buzzard type birds in Iquitos and they fly all around the airport like our seaguls during the day, but they are bigger than gulls. Finall got to Iquitos around 8.00pm, didn't see much as there was this cloudy/haze all the way but you could see the high mountains now and then. Bus into town was in an old bus with no windows, wooden floor, loose seats (you get the idea?). Like Asia they drive like madman always in a low gear revving the motor for sound effects. Didn't see much of the town at this time as it was getting late. Got dropped off at the harbour? and then had a 1 hr trip in a long metal boat with outboard up the Amazon, and then into one of the tribuataries to our lodge. Had no idea where we were as it was very dark. Got to lodge and then had a walk around 1k to the lodge again in the dark just with our torches paying attention not to tread onto any landmines. we had to walk through a local village and they were having a great party - took photo's of the houses the next day - wooden houses on stilts with thatched roofs - very basis. The lodge was pretty clean but very basic - no power, twin beds, running water from the Amazon. Slept pretty well, but it was very very hot so swetted like mad initially then woke to being cool. This didn{t last very long as it warmed up, and very humid. Breakfast bread rolls, omellete, fresh fruit, juice, tea/coffee. Had a jungle trip across the Amazon to one of the tributories, saw small dolphins on the way, and then went into a logoon to look for pink dolphins but didn't we any. Local people were here and there around the banks of the Amazon and the lagoon fishing and washing. the water is dirty with lots of vegetation drifting down the river - not much rubbish. After the lagoon wewalked through another village - pretty basic houses thatched roofs and walls - chooks, pigs, dogs lying around the houses - kids walking around you asking for lollies - and as it was a Saturday there was a party going on at one of the houses and they were having a good time - this was around 9.30am - they are very friendly and all say hello and wave. again considering where they are with no running water they are all dressed in clean clothes. We walked thru the village until another small stream, were we boarded a small dugout with a generator for a motor with one of those long shafted props that hang out the back of the boat. The trip down the stream was pretty exciting negotiating jammed up logs and shallow areas - passed little houses on the way with people paddling around in real little dugout canoes fishing. Went fishing in the river and Pen caught two piaranha??? fish, they are not very big but have very small but sharp teeth - you cant even feel them biting the meet off the hook apart from very small tremors. had lunch at another bush lodge and then walked about an hour through the jungle to a big lagood where we paddled out in a canoe and saw these weird big birds up in the jungle that made this weird noise - didn't see any wild animals or anything. The walk back to the lodge was very hot and really high humidty- one of the guys was ill from the heat. from this camp we had to return to our original camp again arriving in the dark with no torches so had to be very careful not to tread in anything or fall into anything. This is the night that we had the earthquake - it rumbled for about 30 seconds and shook the hut around a bit but no damage was done. they said that they do not normally get earthquakes in the jungle although they are prety common in the coastal cities. The next morning we went to visit a sharma (witchdoctor) who gave us a bit of talk in the local herbs and drugs that he uses and one of the things that he uses the most is 'catsclaw' that you can buy in the health shops at home and he says it cures just about everything - also visited a home that made sugar cane drink with a manual press and then a jungle village that put on a dance which we joined in (and got charged for) and had the option of buying necklaces, stringbags etc. back to the camp, lunch, and then the trip back up the Amazon to Iquitos, stopping at a village on the way where we stopped at a fish farm where they have these giant fish (they say 3m long) which we fed - didn't see them just heard the whooshing sound that they made when they came up to et the fish we supplied. Back in Iquitos we had a walk around the local markets saw all the sharmas ingredients in mass - there were some pretty amazing things that these drugs were meant to achieve however we didn't try any. I wanted to try these big witchity grub type things on a kebab but wasn't allowed. Lots of other normal market type things unique to the area. Had a quiet drink in the plaza de armas (main square) and watched the world go by. Arrived bck in lima safely. The next day we had a town tour of <lima which was very interesting, huge churches, great archeological musuem, and then we organised our trip to Arequipa in the afternoon.
Arequipa next instalment.

Posted by PennyJohn 15:09 Archived in Peru Tagged boating Comments (0)

Arequipa

Lima to Arequipa

sunny 21 °C

From Lima we flew to Arequipa about an hour flight. The airport is something else - the background is three snow capped volcanoes with one of them still active - they are just behind the city. The accommodation was in an old spanish house on a main street close to the main plaza - all the towns have a main plaza that the place revolves around, every night it is packed with heaps of people. The first night we were there they put on a great parade around the plaza especially for us which was nice - they really know how to have a good time.Lots of traditional costume and dancing from different schools. It was, or appeared to be total chaos with groups of people with different music blaring from gheto blasters mounted onto ordinary car roofs, marching around the plaza and then they suddenly marched off in a different direction. The next day we had a bus trip out to the Colca Canyon area where we were to see the condors. The trip started off on a nice tared road through the country side steadily climbing in altitude. we stopped off half way at a little shop for drinks and toilet break and they had heaps of the local people selling all the touristy stuff. That was the end of the tar and the start of the very rough dirt road going over a pass at 4,800m when you got out of the bus it was very hard to walk very far without becoming exhausted - a great view though. The next stop was Chivay, and then on to our accommodation for the night. We had a great view down the coca canyon valley but it was still pretty hazy. The next day was the bus trip from Chivay out to the Colca Canyon where the condors were and again this was really rough, windy, and dusty. When we got to the viewing area there were heaps of tourist buses and people perched along the edge of the canyon. The canyon is round 1mile deep near where we were and the condors fly along the edge in the thermals. There were none when we first got there and then all of a sudden they appeared flying along the edge of the canyon, and you could see them seeming to be looking at the people - they put on a great show and then shot through. Got some good photo´s. After lunch in Chivay we th9ought we would be nice and move back from where we were in the bus and meet other poeple - bad move - we ended up over the back wheels and we had a really rough and hot trip back to Arequipa as there was no airconditioner and we had to keep the windows closed due to the dust. No more mister nice guy!

Next day we did a tour of the city visiting musuems and a really old convent which is a city inside the city. The second girl of the rich spanish families had to go into the convent to be nuns and they nver came out and the family could not have contact with them again. They had to pay dowries? for them to go in and depending on how much they paid determined their status in the convent. This was seen as a good thing as it helped the family get to heaven easier and into a better position. We then did a tour of the country around the city seeing some of the old spanish villa´s. arequipa was pretty nice, and appeared safe. Lots of really nice white stone buildings. We also visited a museum that has the Ice Maiden an Inca mummy that was found on the top of a volcano.From studying her and other mummies found in simmilar locations they discovered that mothers of their day kept the umbilical cord to help curer the child if it got sick later, now we start doing it.
We are now in Cusco at 3,200m and have only been walking around the city area getting aclimatised. It is a really nice city a lot clearer air than the other places we have been again surounded by mountains but no snow only houses that at night creat a fairylight affect. The hostal we are in is really good US$20 per night including breakfast - we have our own lounge and there is a kitchen if needed. Not sure why you would bother when you can get a three course meal for US$5. There are some aussies and pomms staying where we are and there has been a lot of sharing information. Watched a bit of the baseball world series in an irish pub this afternoon with a guy from boston - pretty strange eh!(boston red soxs v chicago).
watch this space take care all,love US

Posted by PennyJohn 15:08 Archived in Peru Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

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