The jungle diaries – day 1

May 24, 2008

I was incredibly excited to be told I would have to go to the jungle for 2 weeks with the IB biologists.  A lot of people appologised about it and said that normally the trip would be split between two staff – as if I WOULDN’T want to go for 2 weeks – how odd!

I was less excited when I found out I had to take 26 kids from school, to Cuzco on the plane on my own (the head of biology was meeting us in Cuzco).  Lima – Cuzco could have gone better!  One of the kids was nearly an hour late, and then halfway to the airport realised she didn’t have her passport with her (and had to get her driver to bring it to the airport for her).  One of the kids didn’t have his permisio notorial (there is a big problem with child trafficking in Peru.  If you want to travel with a child that is not yours you have to have a notorised document from BOTH parents, thankfully he had dual nationality and had his US passport.  The government don’t care if we steal foreign kids!) and another had forgotten her yellow fever certificate.  This stressed me slightly, but all worked out OK in the end!

The flight was fantastic – the view over the mountains just out of Cusco and the view over the jungle were magnificent!  When we landed in Puerto Moldonado there was something in the air and I knew I was in for an excellent trip.  We arrived in the middle of a friaje (cold spell) so it wasn’t too bad – about 25 degrees C and 98 % humidity, great in the day time but cold enough for a jacket at night.

1 hour or so by bumpy combi, our luggage strapped precariously on the roof, and then onto a river boat.  We were served lunch – chinese style rice wrapped up in leaves – and a view that the pictures don’t do justice to!


The lodge is fantastic, en-suite rooms that are open to the forest on one side!  You have your own hammock, table and chairs for relaxing in and a double bed with mosquite net.  No doors though – only a pair of curtains that close across the doorway.  There is a ‘safety deposit box’ in each room – but it’s to put food in so the opposums don’t destroy your bags trying to get at it!

Bedroom at posada

We had a short lesson on statistics for biology (standard deviation, t-tests and chi squared) and then got ready for dinner.  Thr food was OK, but the most amazing thing about the evening were the stars.  I can’t get over how many of them there are and how bright they look!  The patterns are completely unfamiliar too, being in the Southern hemisphere.

After dinner we did a night solo.  THe guides took us into the forest and left us on our own without our torches for 20 mins.  It was great, warm, dark, insect noises, stars glimmering through the canopy, just me, in the dark, in peace – bliss, could have stayed there for hours, not just 20 mins.  Some of the kids were TERRIFIED though!  Bed was welcome by the time I got there – especially as I had a 4 am start the next day…


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