A Travellerspoint blog

Going to a fish fry amazon style

Another early day for us but for good reason. We took a 2 hour boat ride to another lake, lake Valencia. The ride was pretty miserable to be honest, it was raining and I was sitting in the exposed seat and I got the wind and rain beating down on me. The rain did stop when we got to our destination, and the purpose of the trip was to go fishing for piranhas!!! We had wooden sticks with fishing line and a hook tied to the end. We used raw chunks of beef as bait and away we went. It was slow at first while everyone got the hang of it. As soon as you felt a little pull you had to whip your stick out of the water and into the boat. We lost a lot of bait..the piranhas were having a buffet. But we got the hang of it and started catching them. They have sharp teeth just like you would have imagined..so cool. I caught 7 and Tyler claims he wasn't keeping count but I'm pretty sure it was less. Once I got the piranha into the boat, I did not dare got near it as it flopped furiously along the floor so Tyler had to grab then and unhook them. Tyler told me I was being a child, but piranhas flopping around with sharp teeth are not child's play!! It was really fun though, and then after a few hours we made our way to shore where they have a small camp for lunch. Tyler helped clean the piranhas and then they were dumped whole into oil and fried up..teeth and all. They actually tasted pretty good..could have used some tartar sauce. After lunch we went on another trek into the jungle. At every other trek, our guide has basically carried binoculars and not much else but today he carried a machete because the area had the most poisonous snakes in peru! Eek..and much to Tyler's protest we didn't see any. We were hoping to find an anaconda today in the creeks but we came up empty :(. We then headed back into the boat for the long ride back but not before Tyler and the guide jumped into the lake..the piranha filled lake! He survived thankfully. I passed on this experience...I wonder why. Today was really cool. We didn't get back until 6pm but we had to get to happy hour which started at 6 so we cleaned up quickly and made it in time for our two Pisco Sours and banana chips and had lots of laughs with are new American friends.

Posted by tanyatyler 16:34 Comments (0)

Arachnophobia

We had an early 5am start today for what turned out to be very busy day. We took the boat about 25 minutes away to Lake Sandoval which is a huge rainforest reserve with a lake in the middle. We walked 5K through the jungle through a very muddy path..thankfully they give everyone full length boots to trek with. The trees are huge! Some of the roots of the trees are taller than me and that's just the roots! The same goes for the leaves of some of the trees..literally taller and wider than me. I feel like we are in "Honey, I shrunk the kids." We scoured the area for anything we could see and came upon some monkeys swinging through the trees, lots of different and creepy insects, butterflies, birds, lizards and flowers. We stopped frequently, and a few times for some snacks, or what I called it "fear factor". We all tried live termites!!, they were crawling around and you had to just pick up a bunch and throw them in, tasted like ginger. Tyler then went on to taste a live slug..he was a champ..although it gave him heartburn oddly enough. I guess there goes our plan of making sure we don't get sick from any food. Tyler is still on antibiotics so he feels immune to everything I guess. We made our way to the lake, then hopped into a canoe and paddled around the lake. We saw 6 giant otters playing and eating fish.. up close and personal..they are the most endangered species in the area, and another caiman. It is hot and humid...not to mention we are in full length pants and long sleeves to keep away the mosquitoes. We walked back along the same path, 5k, through the mud again. The warmer temperatures of the late morning did cause us to lose a bit of the excitement that we started with this morning but nonetheless it's quite the sight to see. We came back to our lodge and napped then headed out to another excursion where we climbed a 120 foot tower to walk through a set of canopy bridges that were hanging at the the top of the trees. Wow, it was high! The hope was that we would be able to see lots of different birds like tucans and parrots but it started pouring rain and they all went into hiding. All we ended up seeing was a sloth from a distance..a really far distance! We aren't even sure exactly that we saw it actually. I know this seems lame but we saw a snail that was the size of my fist! We went out again at night for a walk through the jungle at night with our flashlights. We saw huge tarantulas!! Crazy! We also saw nocturnal monkeys hanging in the trees, preying mantis, and frogs. Lots of bugs that's for sure. The guide then made us separate in the rainforest with 15metres between us and then everyone had to turn off their flashlights to try to gain the energy from the jungle. Holy crap it was scary, you could hear the leaves rustling all around and didn't know if something was going to jump at you. Tyler was scared! I gained lots of energy though for sure. We asked our guide to make a "Big Five" for the rainforest just like for safaris. Here is the list caimans, macaw (parrot), tarantulas, anaconda and jaguar - actually also a 6th...a spider monkey. We'll try to find them all but it's definitely hard to find animals hiding in the jungle.. more so than in Africa actually. Today was a full day!! But of course we had to end it with some Pisco sours! We are going to bed tired today that's for sure.

Posted by tanyatyler 16:33 Comments (0)

It's a jungle out there

We left Cusco today and headed for the Amazon Rainforest! There was a 2.5 hour delay with our flight and actually the whole airport was not allowing planes to land so the small airport filled up pretty quickly and became a cranky zoo. There was absolutely nowhere to sit so we ended up sitting on the floor most of the time, but we met a lovely Peruvian woman named Janet who insisted on giving us some souvenirs she had bought for her family. I absolutely tried to stop her from giving us her family's souvenirs...but in the end I had to agree...and she also gave me a kiss on the cheek..so friendly and random at the same time. We felt bad that we didn't have anything to give her in return so Tyler scrounged up a loonie and gave it to her as a keepsake and we made it seem like it was a big deal. The actual flight to the Amazon was only 40 minutes but the weather is quite different..tropical hot and humid. We had to take a 40 minute boat ride to our lodge..not gonna lie, I picked a pretty sweet Eco lodge. We have our own little hut in the middle of the jungle, a little hammock area out front of our hut and a main building for meals and hanging out. We first met with our guide for the next few days who will lead our excursions. We are in a small group with 2 other slightly older couples from the States who are going to be a riot. We went out in our first excursion this evening. It was a twilight river tour, so we basically got into a small boat and went slowly along the river to try to find some animals. We saw a caiman (alligator type animal), and an owl...that's it:( Before dinner we played some checkers with our favourite pisco sours and you could here the loud noises of the jungle - tonnes of birds, insects, and frogs croaking. We hope to see lots more over the next few days!

Posted by tanyatyler 16:31 Comments (0)

Peruvian style haircut!

We decided to push back our start time today to let Tyler sleep in a bit and thankfully he is feeling much better than the disaster that was yesterday. We spent the day in Cusco city which is the heart of the Incan empire. Why are the Incans so special?, well because they were able to make incredible advances as they were experts in engineering and agriculture back in the 1400's before Spain came to Peru and conquered it all. They were able to make structures such as Machu Picchu that defy what they should have been able to do in that time period. The carved rocks and walls are so perfect that it looks like it was made with machines, which is why there are myths that aliens are actually responsible for it (credit to my brother for enlightening us about this alien conspiracy) but the tour guide actually did mention it today as well, trying to dispel the myth. Anyways, we went around to some ruins, met up with some lamas and alpacas, and some cathedrals. We also went to a local market which was definitely something else. They had meat stalls with hanging bull penises and tongues, and rows of fresh fruit stalls and bread piled high. We skipped on the bull penis but went for the banana mango smoothie instead this time. We took some pictures with the local people and sometimes there are locals trying to make money so they throw a cute baby or animal at you so that you want to take a picture of them and of course give them a little change. Well I guess I'm a big target because when we got to one of the cathedrals this lady threw a baby lamb in my arms..it was so cute with a little Peruvian hat..and so yes of course I want a picture with it. And while they were taking a picture, 3 more women jump into the picture so that I have to give all of them change, but to top it off the cute baby lamb started chewing on my hair! I mean like a chunk of my hair was bitten off! Later in the day we saw another lady with a lamb and she was trying to follow me but I didn't need another haircut! We bid farewell to our guide Chino, and his last words were "don't forget about the condors." For lunch we finally did it...yes we had guinea pig! It came out with the head on, and the teeth!! There was no mistaking this for beef this time. We did actually eat it all..tasted like pork but with stretchy skin and little bones. We can tick that off the list thankfully! For the rest of the afternoon we wandered around the cobblestoned city, all the buildings with red clay tile roofs. We then had a cooking lesson in the evening for dinner. Two interns from the Netherlands and Germany that are working for the small travel company we are using escorted us to the home of a chef. It was a good but sometimes awkward experience. The girls spoke Spanish fairly well and the chef barely spoke English so the interns were responsible for the translation. I think they are new at this because at first they forgot to translate what the chef was saying to us. We learned how to make Pisco sours, so we are going to try to see if we can get the stuff to make at home. We then made a traditional Peruvian salad that has lots of Lima beans, corn, tomatoes, cheese, olives, onions and cilantro.. pretty tasty..like a Peruvian Greek salad. We then had a traditional chicken dish made out of a very orange pepper and cream ( hopefully the cream sits well in Tyler's stomach)..also very good. No dessert..I'm definitely feeling like we haven't had a good dessert tasting here so far. We said goodbye to the girls and chef for the night and we're off to bed. We head to the Amazon tomorrow..I hope there is wifi..is that too much to ask?

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Posted by tanyatyler 19:16 Comments (1)

Ancient rocks and a bag of barf

Today wasn't the greatest day I must say. Tyler woke up feeling a little bit off but we didn't think much of it and so we got on a bus to take the bumpy twenty five minute ride up to Machu Picchu. I don't think I need to go into detail but his stomach did not like that bus trip up and let him know about it into a Longos bag I conveniently had with me..and then twice more once we got there. He was a trooper though and we walked slowly around Machu Picchu and took it all in. It is stunning to see in person. It's basically Incan ruins on top of a bottom with clouds all around. There is a 45 minute hike you can take up to the "Sun Gate" which is the top of a mountain across from Machu Picchu to get a good picture of it from far and above. Tyler was in no shape to go and I didn't want to go without out him but he said "you have to do it for the picture"... so I had to go. He sat in some shade while I made the trek. I was trying to go as fast as I could, all uphill, huffing and puffing but passing lots of people. I got there in 28 minutes, rather than usual 45 minutes it takes. I dropped all my gear, took a few pics, got someone to take pictures of me and felt pretty impressed with myself and my superior fitness. I then heard someone in the background say to a friend "we're half way there". This was not the sun gate, I think I swore, gathered all my stuff and started the trek again, a little less enthusiastically this time. When I got to the top, I was sweating and short of breath then a huge mist appeared, rain came down and I actually could not even see Machu Picchu. Seriously, I'm not joking... I think I swore again. Luckily I took pictures along the trek before the clouds appeared which I'm sure are just as good as the ones from the exact top. I then quickly headed back down, and I met up with Tyler, a little green in colour, back where I left him (which I'm still feeling guilty about) and we came back into town. We already checked out of the hotel, but our bags were still there so we went back and Tyler was able to lay down on a couch in the lobby. He started having chills and being lightheaded and we didn't know if this was altitude sickness versus a stomach bug or something. We were due to catch a train back to Cusco in the afternoon which is a much higher altitude but I didn't want to do that If he had altitude sickness. This is totally beyond my expertise so I asked the hotel people to call a doctor. They came right to the hotel, and by checking his oxygen saturation they could tell he didn't have altitude sickness which is very good, but he did actually have a fever and they suspect picked up a stomach bug which left him dehyrated. Not great but better than the idea of altitude sickness. They gave him a shot in his butt along with a prescription of antibiotics, and ordered him to drink lots and went on their way. Tyler is feeling much much better, don't worry! He got to sleep the rest of the afternoon and evening as we took a four hour ride back to Cusco city. Never a dull moment. We didn't get to enjoy the train last night really because it was dark but today it was during the day and it was spectacular. The train had windows in the roof so you old just look up the entire time and watch the green but snow tipped mountains go by on both sides of the train and the river running alongside.

Sunscreen update. Today I brought the sunscreen with me in my backpack to Machu Picchu and told myself that at the first sign of any sun I would slather it on. I swear I did not see any sun whatsoever, and so didn't put it on . Well tonight I am left with red cheeks to match my Rudolph nose from yesterday...and I had a hat on! Man, this sun is something else. 90_IMG_1218.jpg

Posted by tanyatyler 20:44 Comments (0)

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