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Iquitos, Peru and the First Day at Explorama Lodge
We landed in Iquitos, and were driven to the Explorama Dock in a bus that would make a retro-bus enthusiast proud. We were taken on a boat down the Amazon River to Las Palmeiras and Explorama Lodge. The trip on the fast-boat was only 90 minutes.
February 9-14, 2009

Arrival | Clinic1 | Palmeiras School | Canopy Walk | Clinic2 | Old Clinic | Amazon Exfiltration |
Cusco | San Pedro Market | Machupicchu1 | Machupicchu 2 | Machupicchu 3 | Bustamante Estate | Sacsayhuaman |
This was the Market District in Iquitos, and it is a very impoverished area. Carlos, our guide, warned me to not let my camera get outside of the bus window opening, lest it be expertly cut and snatched. To get out of the bus in this area, you would need to seriously know how to speak espanol, and a good sidearm would be proper daily wear. Norte Americanos gringos do not wander around here.
It was a special day for the military (February 9), and the colors and marching band was out. An extremely third world mega-dense population city (450,000), and here is a sign of wi-fi availability.
Our "fast-boat" stopped at a sister-lodge on the way down the Amazon, called Cieba Tops. Very much a 4-star Amazonian stay. Cruising up the tributary river to our Explorama Lodge and Las Palmeiras, and the under-construction clinic we would would spend the next week working on.
Riverfront properties at Las Palmeiras. The dock at our Lodge.
Twin Evinrude 150hp EFI's on the rear? These boats were pretty damn fast. It is funny, I thought Tom Wheeler (right) was a stuffy, unfunny and overly-serious conservative guy. I had only talked to him on the phone once (he set up my life insurance policy) before this trip, and had never met him in person but once, and very briefly. He is one of the nicest, funniest guys I have ever met! As Homer Simpson would say, "We think alike, talk alike, and we even finish each other's sandwiches." Tom is now one of my great friends after this trip.
The dock at the Explorama Lodge is a flurry of loading and unloading, especially of food and fruit.
Carlos, mi Amigo, explaining how the Lodge System works. The view from our room. I was bunked with my Dad, and we hardly ever snored, I swear.
Our view from the room. Every room in this building was occupied by our crew. We woke up early, and went to bed early, so they kept us separate from the other guests. The "road" to our rooms at the Lodge.
  This is called a "Walking Palm" tree, and has special significance to the locals, especially around the time of Carnival.
  These bamboo trees look like they almost glow, and I swear to God, after sunset they actually did glow a strange green neon hue. I wasn't the only one who saw this, and I am red and green color-blind. When I said the word "luminescence," Tom said, "You nailed it right there! They luminesce!" If my local weather would allow it, I would have a forest of these bamboo plants growing in my backyard, for sure.
My Dad, Earl, rip-roaring ready to go to work on the clinic. An external view of the "road" to our rooms at the Lodge. I was standing in the "palm seed drop-zone" while taking this photo. Big 1/2-pound nuts fell here about every five minutes from 80-feet up the tree, and one hit me on the shoulder and it felt like a bicycle being thrown at my shoulder.
The Explorama Bar The bridge walkway to the bar.
On the last night at the Lodge, we actually took a night paddle up this tributary. Locals from Las Palmeiras on their way to fish.
These people have no aversion to a lack of "freeboard" on their dugouts. Note the little one, paddling? I have a later photo of a girl aged 3 years old or less powering her mother up the river, paddling better than any expert canoeist that I know. They teach them young. These are basically the Buick Station Wagons of the locals, and they move around pretty expertly in them.
The Explorama House Band. See how the bamboo sort of luminesces? I swear I was not on drugs or licking any toads, and they really almost glowed, even at night. Very interesting!
This Macaw knew more Spanish than I did.
  Alison Zobel took my camera and said that I should at least appear once or twice in my gallery of photos! I set the camera settings and let her fire this photo and the next.
Earl leading the way down the path from the Lodge to the Old Clinic. The round saw-logs are great if it is seriously raining, but they are slipperry as hell, and are mostly avoided.
Cow field?

The latest "dock" system at the Old Clinic, about to fall apart and in disrepair.

Tom in front of the Old Clinic
I momentarily wondered which one was the Alpha Male in the herd (it was pretty damned obvious), and this dude told me it was him. He really did not like me that close to his cows, and he posited towards me in a mock run, just to convince me. I took it seriously. When a big Dude has horns like this? Back off and be careful, man!
This adorable little girl is named Wendy (8 years old), who lives next door to the old Clinic. She was my photo-pointer while we were down at the old Clinic building. Just a sweetie! She spoke zero English, and somehow understood my broken espanol, and translated my words I knew in espanol into the actual words. I wrote them down, but have not unpacked all of my notes yet. Wendy showed me this spider. The body of the spider (minus the huge legs) is the size of my thumb. You can see the scale of it from the ripples in the corrugated roof right behind it. It is a VERY big spider.
  The Hammock House has just a few weeks left before it succombs to the Amazon River. This was built about 120 feet from the edge in 1993. Cut down the trees, and the river will take the land, man!
Wendy being silly...
Copyright © 2009 Tony Rogers