happy anniversary (or not)

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Madre de Dios river
Madre de Dios river

So we celebrated our wedding anniversary in the Amazon this year and it reminded us of our vows: “for better or for worse”… it was no doubt that the “for worse” bit was significant here. We had read up on where we were staying: Ecoamazonia Lodge. There was no electricity except between 6-10pm, there was no hot water, there were no windows just fly screen, fresh drinking water was only available during certain parts of the day – we thought we would be prepared! But having never even camped in Australia,  you could say we had another thing coming!

After spending one day in Lima, we took a flight to Puerto Maldanado to begin our Amazon adventure. It was hot and humid as we took our 3 hours riverboat down the Madre de Dios river to our lodge. Now the state of this boat got us quite nervous! The weight of the boat needed to be distributed evenly on either side, it was narrow and looked ancient! Safety on board meant we had to strap on our life vests which we thought was slightly ironic because we were then told that the water was infested with caimans, piranhas and anacondas! Not sure how comforting it really was to be wearing a life vest – guess we wouldn’t die from drowning!

Now, no hot water, we could handle because it was so hot anyway, a cold shower was welcome! No electricity except between certain hours was manageable. Fresh drinking water being available during certain times was easily overcome by us filling all our spare bottles of water. The BIG issue was not having windows!

The pet trompetero
The pet trompetero

Throughout the night, we could hear everything. Every scratch, howl, growl, bump, squeak, flap… you name it, we heard it! Amazingly, all the noises seemed so close and right outside our window. Our first night in the Amazon was not restful at all! Not to mention that the room was pitch black so we couldn’t see a thing. The moonlight was what we were counting on but due to the dense forestry, it wasn’t until about 3am that the moon was in a convenient position for us to see anything! Anyway, before we knew it, the sun was up! We attributed this first sleepless night to jet-lag: it had to be! It could also have possibly been the lodge’s “pet” trompetero. If you ever hear a bird that sounds like a trumpet – that’s a trompetero.

Night number two was a little more restful EXCEPT that we found three big black bugs in our bathroom. The biggest was the size of a roma tomato – kicking ourselves now for not having taken a photo but panic was kind of ranking higher on our priority! It was then that we had discovered that there was a hole in our fly screen about 10cm long and about 5 cm high! Great! Just great! It was getting close to when the generator shuts off so we had to work fast. We raced to the front desk and asked someone to come and tape up that hole before it got dark which they did. So we did have a better night sleep albeit also hearing the ayahuasca ceremony going on. What probably did put us to sleep was hearing the soothing chant and song of the shaman performing the ceremony.

There's a monkey on your head
There’s a monkey on your head

Despite this experience though, we can still smile! It was a fabulous experience. We learnt about the medicinal properties of the flora of the Amazon. We saw monkeys up close. We cruised upriver in the middle of the night to spot caimans and drifted downstream admiring the night sky – we had never seen so many stars!


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