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All Peru Photos on this website

Arriving in Lima
Lima Main Square
Lima - Pizaro's Tomb
Lima - The Love Park
Pachacamac Ruins
Lima - Archaeological Museum

Cusco - Walking tour and City Square
Train trip to Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
Birdwatching at Inkaterra Pueblo in Aguas Calientes
Climbing Inka Trail to the Sun Gate
Sacred Valley road tour
Sacred Valley - Ollantay Tambo
Sacred Valley - Chinchero

All Peru Photos on this website

Road trip to Puno - Raqchi
Lake Titicaca - Sunrise from hotel

Lake Titicaca - Trip to Floating Island
Lake Titicaca - Uros floating islands
Lake Titicaca - Nature Preserve below hotel
Lake Titicaca - M.N. Yavari tour

Sillustani - ruins on the way to the Juliaca Airport
Iquitos, Peruvian Amazon - trip into jungle
Explororama - Ceiba Tops, Amazon
Simulated primitive native village tour
Jungle canopy walk
Ceiba Tops - live show
Contemporary Village visit

Monday, May 7, 2007: The adventure began from Pearson Airport in Toronto.  We met Cathy a few hours before the flight and got our bright red GATEWAY TOURS suitcase straps.  Then she motored off to the Biz Class Lounge and we make our way to the gate.  It seemed we walked halfway to Lima!  Cathy joined us there just before the flight time bearing goodies from the lounge.  We took off on time, just after 7 PM and settled in for a long flight. Link to Google+Photos

 

 Tuesday, May8, 2007: We landed at around 2am local time and waited a long time for Larry's and Cathy's bags ( mine was one of the first off) [ Larry and Cathy were rewarded for heavy luggage !! ].  That gave us a chance to pick up some soles (SO-LAYS), the Peruvian currency, from an ATM.  Customs and Immigration were uneventful and, once out of the customs area, we were quickly spotted by our escort ( thanks to those suitcase straps ).  Her name is Maritza Tarezona and she's very nice and efficient.  On our way to the hotel she outlined our itinerary and gave us some advice.  The Hotel Melia Lima is gorgeous and we were greeted very warmly.  Larry upgraded our room to one that included high-speed internet and it is really a luxurious suite.  Very nice - like a honeymoon suite. [ see photo opposite ] Of course, we discovered ( at 7am after 3 hours sleep [ I had 4 more on the plane ] ) that the internet connection was not yet functional.  [ No problem ] By 8 we were in a different suite.  We went to the buffet for a very nice breakfast and our first real chance to practice Spanish.  Then we decided to go for a walk and got advice at the desk.  Lovely area, obviously upper-middle class, but crazy busy streets.  Found a bodega and bought some bottled water, coke and mystery booze -- looks like rum, but who knows??  Cathy suggests it's a local brandy.  She slept in and we make plans to meet just before we go on our tour this afternoon.
The afternoon tour of the city of Lima was very impressive.  We began at the Plaza Major, after a bus tour of several other parks and public buildings.    We walked across the Plaza, meeting a few vendors and watching Cathy negotiate with some of them.  From the plaza we could see city and federal buildings as well as the cathedral and commercial areas.  Lima is wonderfully clean and open.  We then entered the cathedral, which is amazing.  We saw Pizaro's tomb and many works of art.  We then headed through several side and back streets to the Franciscan Monastery of San Francisco.  It is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Lima and still has a small cadre of monks.  I found the library particularly interesting.  We toured the beautifully tiled cloisters, and descended into the crypt, known as the catacombs.  Quite claustrophobic and grisly, but impressive and thought-provoking.  [ lots of old bones and skulls ].  We then took the express highway to the Love Park on the edge of the Pacific.  It's beautiful, with mosaic walls and a large statue of a sissing couple.  Finally, we went to a large supermarket and then back to the hotel, cocktails and dinner, over which we lingered until after 11pm.  A lovely day. 

Pacific & Wednesday's Restaurant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Found the Jaccuzi ( There was no 3rd person taking the picture )

Out the hotel window 

The Square  Angel on monument

L&J Love Park

Wednesday, May 9, 2007: This hotel is marvellous! Candies on our pillows last night, friendly great service.  Another delicious buffet breakfast.  Then out along the Pan American Highway, beside the Pacific Ocean to Pachacamac.  This site was inhabited for over 1000 years until the Spanish Conquest.  Each succeeding civilization used it as a meeting place and centre for worship.  The Incas built their Temple of the Sun on top of earlier temples.  The archialogical site is so big that we drove to various strategic places and walked from there.  It had all been covered by sand and overgrowth, but the dig and investigation continue.  Hopefully the photos show the story.  We shopped there for some souvenirs and then back to the hotel for lunch in our room.  After a bit of a rest, we headed out to the Museo de Antropologie, Arquologia y Historia.  It didn't look like a museum.  It's laid out on one level around a couple of courtyards and seems more like cloisters.  The displays are uncrowded, attractive and very informative.  They cover the history of civilization in all areas of Peru since human's first arrived.  We saw similarities to Chinese and West Coast Canadian  cultures in terms of art and technologies but unique features as well.  Like in so many other areas,  when Europeans arrives they rode rough-shod over existing, thriving local cultures.  After a rest at the hotel we went to the absolutely amazing La Rosa Nautica Restaurante for dinner.  We enjoyed a 3 course seafood Peruvian dinner with lovely local wine, terrific service and great conversation while looking down on the Pacific Ocean.  A bit of shopping brought us back to our car and home to the Hotel Melia Lima.      Additional Photo Links:     C, J & Maritza  Ruins and Bull Ring  C & J descending ruins   L climbing ruins   Mummified burial body  Inca counting string for stored empire food  At Nautica table  Nautica at night

L Larry & Cathy at ruins

 

Thursday, May 10, Cusco: We were up very early in order to catch the plane from Lima to Cusco. During the flight we had some amazing views of the sharp pointy peaks of the Andes. Once we landed a porter met us to carry the bags and he connected us with our local guide, Fabricio. On the way to the hotel he gave us the rules to fend off altitude sickness - drink coca tea, eat lightly, rest and get a small amount of exercise. So we went our rooms for a rest, had a light lunch in the hotel and then walked to the main square. All effort was difficult and Larry and I both developed headaches. The hotel is lovely: part 17th century and part modern. The modern part is modeled on the older part. There are courtyards, high ceilings, old looking wood, good meals and attentive service. Cusco is a lovely old town dating back to the Incas. The streets are at odd angles and slopes, very narrow and full of traffic. After a second rest Fabricio took us to an Alpaca Factory and a Silver Factory. Of course we shopped [ while the driver was arrested for driving tourists without a licence ]. Then back to the hotel for dinner and early to bed. We have to be up at 04:30 tomorrow for the train trip to Machu Picchu. Link to Photos.  Link to Additional Google+Photos

Hairless Peruvian dog

Pachacamac Ruins 600BC-800AD

 

Mamacuna training school for sacificial ladies and other occupations

 

Cusco Square

Alpacas, as Driver was getting arrested

Friday, May 11, 2007, Machu Picchu: ( Happy Birthday Nicole ) We all had a rough and largely sleepless night, so our "wake-up" calls at 4:30 weren't all that welcome. Larry and I both had headaches and I had a roiling tummy. But we managed to be packed up and ready to geo at shortly after 5:30. Fabricio took us to the train station and handed us over to our guide for the day, Andreis. The 3 hour, 45 minute train ride was interesting, with a great change of scenery from the high, dry area of Cusco to the lower, jungly area around Aqua Calientes and Machu Picchu. There were many people walking on around or across the tracks, so there was much blowing of the train whistle. When we arrived a porter from the hotel met us and took our overnight bags, and we boarded the bus up to the site. It's a rough road with many switchbacks and the first glimps of Mach Picchu take you by surprise. We decided to climb first to a fairly high vantage point and then work our way down. It was rough for some of us whose climbing stamina wasn't up to snuf, and one lady had serious problems with the climb. She made it to the vantage point and heard the description of the site, but ended up going straight back down ot the base and spending a few hours waiting for the rest of us. One other man was ill for the whole time and we ahd to wait for him a few times as he disappeared behind rocks. But the place is amazing! The workmanship and the design are so impressive. And the site is vast. Of course the pictures don't do it justice. We walked through the principle areas, including the climb to the Sundial, the Condor and the Mother Earth temple, right below the Temple of the Sun. By early afternoon we were all tired, and had had enough sun, so we went to the restaurant and had a really nice lunch. Eventually we caught a bus back down to the town. Our guide escorted the 3 of us to our hotel, the Ikatena Machu Picchu Pueblo - and suggested that we had seen Machu Picchu at its best and should check out the hotel's programs. It turns out to be a great place. It's spread out over area, has lovely gardens and walkways and is an ecological preserve. Although we were too tire to do anything right away, we realized the wisdom of looking here for tomorrow's activities. We all rested for a couple of hours before going to happy hour. On the way we stopped and registered for a bird watching hike at 0630 tomorrow. Then we went to the bar for our complementary Pisko Sours and met a charming young man named Graham from Cornwall, UK who completed the Inka Trail this morning. We also discovered Hilda, from our group this morning and she joined us for a drink. She had later dinner reservations but Graham joined us for dinner. It was a lively meal and we learned lots about his fascinating around-the-world trip. Finally we made an early night of it. This was a once-in-a-lifetime day for certain. Link to Google+ Photos .

Saturday May 12: Machu Picchu. We delayed breakfast until after the bird-watching walk.It was great - we saw many different kinds of birds, most spectacularly the Cock-of-the-walk, and several butterflys and hummingbirds. The interpreter was good at seeing and pointing out the various varieties and we all had or were provided binoculars. The breakfast was amazing and we all ate heartily. Then we all went our separate ways. Larry headed back up to Machu Picchu to climb the path to the Sun Gate. [the hike up was taxing but manageable. It was well worth it though: the view was stupendous as you get a complete panorama of the valley, the road up and Machu Picchu itself. Plus there was the experience of walking the last 2 km of the Inca Trail that supplied Machu Picchu with all their needs in the 14th and 15th centuries. ] Cathy was off to the Spa for a hot rocks massage and I was off to the hot springs in Agua Caliente [ that's Spanish for hot springs ].Larry did the hike and arrived back pooped, sweaty and happy. He said it was awesome. Cathy emerged refreshed and happy from the spa. I enjoyed the walk to and from the hot springs but found it a disappointing experience. The hottest tub was not very hot and the water was not moving vey rapidly. However back at the hotel I had time to sit and watch the birds around the feeders and enjoy the tranquility of the Hotel I did pick up some insect bites in spite of using the natural citronella repellent provided. Over a cup of iced tea, Larry regalled us with the stories of the entertainment provided on the bus. On the way up a native-dressed musician played sand pipes and something resembling a mandolin. Then on the way down a young boy in native garb met the bus at every switchback and uttered a distinctive native cry. He ran barefoot on the direct trail between the switchbacks. Then at the bottom he boarded the bus and uttered his cry again and collected lots of tips. We walked on to the station, stopping in the market for Larry and Cathy to buy matching bush jackets ( I must find one in another market after I find a cash machine ). Then onto the train for the trip back to Cusco [ with Larry typing this as we rode ]
Of course for the first hour or two the scenery was great, but once it got dark we had nothing to look at. The train crew solved this by staging a showl First a traditional dance by a white-faced "clown" in a big square hat ( traditional but I don't know what it is called. Then there was a fashion show of alpaca garments, which of course were for sale afterwards. We were met by a driver at the station and Fabricio caught up with us at the hotel to arrange tomorow's pick-up. Then a leisurely dinner at the hotel ( Casa Andina, again, same room and our stored bags were already there ) and off to bed. Link to Additional Google+ Photos .

...on the way down a young boy in native garb met the bus at every switchback and uttered a distinctive native cry. He ran barefoot on the direct trail between the switchbacks.

 

The 3 hour, 45 minute train ride was interesting

We decided to climb first to a fairly high vantage point and then work our way down.

 

Larry headed back up to Machu Picchu to climb the path to the Sun Gate

Sunday, May 13, 2007.Cusco: ( Happy Mothers' Day to all of you mothers ) The day got off to a civilized start when the bus picked us up at 8:45. It was a mixed group, who turned out to be great to tour with. Everyone was enthusiastic and positive. And a big bonus, we had Adriel as our tour guid once again. Our first stop was a roadside overlook with fantastic scenery. There were vendors there in costume, accompanied by animals. So we took photos and gave them money for posing. Then on to Picac market. It was particularly interesting because on Sunday it's a local market as well as a tourist market. There were interesting foods offered for sale as well as trinkets, blankets etc. As well a group of costumed musicians were entertaining in front of the church. The down side was that Cathy and I were separated from Larry and he got lost in the maze of the market, delaying our departure by about 20 minutes. It was a worrisome time for everyone, so thank goodness it ended well. We were still in good time for lunch at a great place surrounded by gardens and facing the river. Such a wonderful spread! Then on to Ollantaytambo, Adriel's hometown, where we climbed high into the ruins of an unfinished Inca temple. It was amazing. There are still large stones scattered along the route from the quarry. It was abandoned so suddenly [ as word of arrival of the Spanish reached them ]. By then, Adriel decided it was time for a beer, so we went to a private residence displaying a red plastic bag on a pole by the front door. That means there's corn beer available, called chicha. After a traditional blessing ceremony, we were seated in a room and the process of making the beer was explained to us. then we were given samples of 2 varieties of it. Finally there was an "international" competion of "Frog". A representative from each of the nationalities present on the tour tossed coins at a complicated board, trying to drop them though holes. The Canadian won! Hooray! As if we hadn't had enough climbing, the next stop was Chinchero, the highest of the Inca cities [7250 meters]. We climbed steep streets and came out at a lively market, where we also visited a lovely church with a hand-painted ceiling. We had a couple of very nice encounters with young girls who were abright and determined. One befriended us in Pisac, and eventually sold us about 17 finger puppets. The other was at Chinchero. She asked where we were from and when we said Canada, she shot back "Ottawa"! We congratulated here on knowing the capital of our country and she said "Will you give me one dollar in your money for my education? Larry offered her $5 Canadian for 2 of the water bottle slings she was selling. She was very hesitant until Cathy got out the money conversion chart and she saw the value in soles. At that point she hugged and kissed us and happily wished us everything good. We wee back at the hotel in time for Pisco Sours before dinner. Once again we closed the dining room. Tomorrow it's off to Puno by bus. Link to Google+ Photos

Monday, May 14,2007: Puno and Lake Titicaca: [ Click link at bottom for photos ]
Another pretty early morning, as Fabricio was picking us up at 7am. He delivered us to the bus and we said good-bye, and told him that he had to see a dentist about a tooth that was really bothering him. Then we set off towards Puno.
The trip took 9 hours, including 4 or 5 stops and a nice lunch. We all felt at a loss about the names of the places. The first was a colonial Catholic church, which is also known as the American Sistine chapel because of its beautifully painted ceiling. It was pointed out that many elements of Inca religion are also incorporated into native catholicism.
Next we visited a site that the guide claimed rivals Machu Picchu in archeological importance. It is called Raqchi. It is certainly impressive, but doesn't have the same atmosphere and sense of mystery that Machu Picchu has. There are high standing walls and many round storage buildings, as well as houses for all levels of society.
We stopped for lunch at a rustic place. The food was quite good and of course there was a small tourist market. [ no wonder as the ladies like to buy ].
The highest point on our route was La Raya and when we got off the bus to admire the view, we were caught in a snow storm!!
Our final stop was at a museum of pre-inca artifacts. We didn't have long there but what we saw of stone carvings was very interesting.
Finally we arrived in Puno and were met by Caesar and a driver who brought us to the Libertado Hotel. It's rated 5-Star but fell short of our expectations [considering the outstanding digs so far!]. It is also very isolated from the town, though that may not be a disadvantage [ since it is on an island in Lake Titicaca faceing Puno, and we take our tour by boat from a marina on site].
We ate in our room and talked for a while, then Larry went off to find a "Hot Spot"to do his computing and posting of all this. Click for Additional Google+ Photos

brought us to the Libertado Hotel


 

There were vendors there in costume, accompanied by animals

we climbed high into the ruins of an unfinished Inca temple

Market along the way (covering for rain)

 

The first was a colonial Catholic church,

Raqchi

Tuesday, May 15,2007: Puno and Lake Titicaca: [ click link at bottom for photos ]
Sunrise over Lake Titicaca!!! Oh, My!!!
We left the drapes open last night and about 5:20 I woke up, realized it was light out and jumped out of bed. The sun actually appeared over the horizon at aout 5:50, so we had a long time to enjoy and photograph the brightening sky. Just amazing ! We couldn't have had better [cloud positions] view or a better morning for it. [ sunrise at Lake Titicaca is a widely known spectacular show ]
A few hours later we had a lovely breakfast, then our car took us to the dock in Puno to leave for Uros Islands. Puno is really not a beautiful city and noone has pointed out anything of interest except the rather pretty central plaza. The Uros Islands; however, are a whole other world, its almost magical to be among and on them. Our guide gave us a very good overview of Lago Titicaca and the surrounding area during the 45 minute trip out. We also saw interesting flora and fauna. Then we were among the floating islands and were welcomed onto one of them. The islands are constructed of blocks of reed roots teathered together and anchored to the lake bottom, then covered with layer after layer of reeds. Every month or so a new layer of reeds is added. Holes are left for fishing and fish farming. Reed houses are built. They use fires for warmth and cooking but now have a few solar panels for power. Their clothing is very colourful and attractive and their handicrafts are first rate. We all did quite a bit of buying. After sampling the reeds which are a major source of food, we boarded one of their reed boats and were rowed to another island. The inhabitants sang goodbye to us.
On the second island we found a small museum and bought a few more handicrafts. Then we took the boat back to Puno.
We had lunch at the bar and then a siesta before going for a walk on the island where our hotel is. We had hoped to encounter a heard of alpacas we saw in the morning, but didn't.
We watched the sunset from the bar, then had a great dinner in the dining room. The maitre d', Carlos, was very friendly and shares some of his stories with us. He has 2 daughters in Lima and only sees them every 6 months. This was another wonderful day.
Rumours have been circulating about a strike tomorrow that may make it hard to get to the plane in Juliaca. 
Click for Additional Google+ Photos

 

 

 

Wednesday, May 16: Puno and Lake Titicaca: We were treated to another beautiful sunrise and so had time to repack our bags for the rest of the trip. After a very pleasant breakfast, Larry and I decided ago for a walk. We had heard that there was a restored 19th century ship at a dock behind a nearby hotel. It turned out to be about 1 1/2 miles away, but worth the walk. It was manufactured in Britain and brought to Peru on mules across the Andes, in something like 1892. It was used until the 1960s, fell into disrepair and has been undergoing restoration since the 1980s. When we got back to the hotel, Cathy met us with the news that our departure had been moved up and we needed to leave in 20 inutes. Then we had difficulty checking out, but we still got away in time for one tour before the airplane left. The tour was very interesting. It was to Sillustani, the site of pre-Inca and Inca burial structures. We climbed quite high to see the structures and our guide, Cesar, gave us quite a bi of the history and symbology of the people buried here. Then back to Juliaca to the crazy line-up at the airport and on to Lima. We were happy to see Maritza and get to the hotel. We got to the dining room at about 9 so will get very little sleep before our 2:45 wake-up call.

[ we are up to Iquitos and the Amazon jungle for 2days without internet. Will refile on return to Lima on Sunday May 20 ]

Sillustani, the site of pre-Inca and Inca burial structures

 

Click  for Additional Google+ Photos


Sunrise over Lake Titicaca!!! Oh, My!!!


The Uros Islands are a whole other world


The islands are constructed of blocks of reed roots teathered together

 

restored 19th century ship at a dock behind a nearby hotel

Thursday, May 17,2007: Iquitos & The Amazon. ( Happy 1st Birthday, Chloe!!! )
2:45am is not a really pleasant time to be awakened, but we managed. Maritza picked us up on schedule at 3:30am and then we were whisked through mostly empty streets to the airport. By the time we checked in, paid the airport tax and found the departure lounge, we were ready for a coffee and the yogurt we picked up at the hotel. The flight was uneventful, though those on the other side got a spectacular view of sunrise over the Andes.
We were met by the Explorama representative and driven into Iquitos. We drove through the outskirts, then a huge market area which featured everything from jeans to live chickens. There are thousands of motorcycle-driven 3-wheel cabs. No roads come this far so everything comes by air or river.
We checked in at the company headquarters and boarded a power boat for the fast 45 minute trip to the resort. It was a bit alarming since the Amazon is full of debris ( mostly natural...no shoes ) but the driver seemed to know his stuff.
The resort is lovely and serene, right in the jungle. We had a briefing about services and activities and then were shown to our cottage. It's rustic but comfortable. It was still a couple of hours before lunch so I caught up on sleep while Larry tested the internet connection. We were amazed there was one and it works very well. Lunch was a delicious buffet of local dishes. Then we had a bit of rest before going on a jungle walk. We had gone only about 100 when it started to pour. We quickly dawned our ponchos and headed back to the lodge.
After 15 minutes or so it stopped and we headed out again. Our guide, Percy, pointed out a lot of interesting things. We saw monkeys cavorting in the trees, a couple of centipedes, a tarantula, several kinds of birds, termites and many kinds of plants, including the Ceiba tree, for which the resort is named. We were hot and muddy when we got back so had to immediately wash our pant legs.
We were happy to climb into the swimming pool and both tried the water slide. A macaw came and perched on one of the tables by the pool.
Click for additional Google+ Photos  


Link to Lodge Web Sites below
http://www.ceibatops.com/
http://www.explorama.com/

Friday, May 18: Ceiba Tops on the Amazon: Breakfast at 7:30 - nice variety of fruits, cerial, eggs etc and the fun of watching the staff luring the macaw out of the rafters and through the door using pancakes as a lure. It obviously happens almost every day.
Then 8:30 meeting with our guide, Cesar, and a couple from Portugal and Spain for a boat trip on the Amazon. It was an open 18ft boat with an outboard motor. Unlike the trip from Iquitos in the larger boat yesterday, we weren't asked to wear life jackets. At one point we pulled into an inlet, walked across a short distance to another flat-bottomed boat in a small lagoon. There we saw hugh water lily pads with beautiful flowers.
On the way back to our boat we were met my a local family and their pets - a 3-toed sloth and a red-tailed boa constrictor. We had fun with the sloth - I swear it smiled at me - but the boa didn't seem too happy and we gave it wide birth.
From there we went to another small inlet where we spent time fishing for piranhas. Among us we caught 11 - Larry, the other lady and I each got one and the guide and boat driver got 8 between them. The Spanish man was unsuccessful so is supposed to buy a round of pisco sours.
Much of this took place on a tributary of the Amazon, perhaps the Nanay. Its water is very black from the tannin in the leaves that fall into it at its swampy source compared to the brown Amazon. Where they meet we could see a marble effect of the 2 colours.
Along the way we saw many local people paddling boats, their houses along the shore, several very interesting kinds of birds, and some gorgeous flowers.
We returned wind-blow and hungry for the piranha that will be part of our lunch. The piranha was very good - cooked and delivered personally to our table.
At 2:30 we're off to an Yagua indian village. The first activity at the village was to paint our faces with a fruit that was like paint. We had stripes that were most attractive. Then we went inside a large thatch TP-like structure and danced a ceremonial dance with the villagers.
Finally the elders demonstrated the use of blow guns and we got to try. I actually hit the target some 50 feet away!! Then we shopped for local handicrafts. [ lucky shot, I missed ]
On the way home we stopped in the river to watch pink dolphins. We were lucky enough to see them several times as they surfaced for air.
The other people on our trip were a young couple who lived very near Laura & D'Arcy in Oakville, and a woman who is a medical secretary on a French Island [ Réunion ] just off Africa. We had to spend some considerable time scrubbing the face paint off ourselves and our clothes. [ my tilley hat may never recover ]


the elders demonstrated the use of blow guns

Click the link below for photos
Link to Additional Google+ Photos

Link to Lodge Web Sites below
http://www.ceibatops.com/
http://www.explorama.com/


Local cab in market; there are 20,000 of these in Iquitos and very few cars
Arriving at our Amazon Camp called Ceiba Tops


A tree is explained to Janice by Percy our guide

hugh water lily pads with beautiful flowers

fishing for piranhas

a 3-toed sloth
 

Saturday, May 19: Ceiba Tops on the Amazon: Well, today we certainly found out why they call it the rain forest!! It was our excursion to the canopy walkway, so we had to be at the meeting place at 5:30am. The weather look great, but as always we took our ponchos for insurance. I really wished I'd worn Cathy's raincoat.
We boarded one of the larger boats for the trip to Explornapo Lodge. Less than halfway through the 1 3/4 hour trip the rain began. We put down the side curtains and many of us slept for much of the trip. It was pouring by the time we got there for breakfast.
Then we hit the trail through the jungle. It was deep in water so several of us rolled up our pant legs. It took about 45 minutes to arrive at the bottom of the Canopy Walkway. Then we began climbing by stairs and suspended swaying walkways to the highest platform at 116 feet. It was too bad that we were wet and cool and our views were hampered by the rain, but it was still an incredible experience to be in the tops of these giant trees.
We gradually came back down to earth and slogged across more wet jungle paths to the ACTS station. There we got a small boat, which took us through a tiny creek back to Explornapo. Along the way a giant Blue Morpho butterfly suddenly appeared and flew over us and then trailed us for a few minutes. How beautiful!
It was still early, so we visited a Shaman in the medicinal garden. He explained and demonstrated a number of herbs and mixtures, then performed a ceremony for Tony and one for Annie to protect them from evil spirits. It was the most relaxing thing. Then the Shaman gave each of us a tattoo - the design of our choice. Larry got a scorpion and I got a hummingbird.
While that was going on, an anteater wandered in, I guess seeking shelter from the rain. He was fearless and approached all of us. Cesar warned us of his sharp claws, so we tried to keep him at a distance. Both Cesar and the Shaman let him cling to them.
Back at the lodge we had lunch and then looked around at some of the features - Charlie, an example of the world's largest rodent ( whose name is not sticking in my mind ), some parrots, tucans, some odd kind of chicken things, and so on.
We relaxed in hammocks for a half an hour or so before boarding the boat to return. The rain had let up, finally, so the curtains stayed up. We were all chilly, but had had such a good day that it was worth it.
After dinner we had terrific entertainment by the dance group from the high school from the nearby town of Indiana and the White-Bellied-Frogs, the Explorama staff musicians.

Click for additional Google+ Photos

Link to Lodge Web Sites below

http://www.ceibatops.com/
http://www.explorama.com/

Sunday, May 20: Ceiba Tops to Lima: Our last day on the Amazon and a chance to see how people live these days along the Amazon.
This morning Cesar took us to the village of San Louis, about 10 minutes by boat from Ceiba Tops. On the way we stopped at the larger town of Indiana to buy candy for the children. When we arrived we went first to the home of a family in the village. We enjoyed their hospitality and ate grapefruit [ sort of like a grapefruit, but harder ] with salt. They explained that their house and all others were built by communal effort, once the head person has agreed on a building spot. All land is owned by the government and only businesses pay taxes. The building material is slats of local wood on a raised floor. There are 2 rooms, one for sleeping and 1 for everything else. 9 people live there sleeping on sheets on the floor under mosquito nets.
Larry took several pictures of the kids and they loved seeing themselves on the camera screen. We will send prints to them via Cesar.
We saw 2 boats under constructions. One was going to be a river taxi and the other was a canoe.
As we walked up to the school, several kids came along. The kindergarten and elementary school ( 6 grades ) are breeze block buildings. Inside we sat on chairs at the front and all the kids crowded into the desks. We were entertained by them singing and a wonderful band of 3 boys aged 8, 10 and 13 playing flute, drum and maracas. They switched instruments once or twice. They all played all of them! We danced with the kids [ thank goodness we were competent as we learned their dance at the Yagua indian village ], then they asked us to sing. On the spur of the moment all we could come up with was a ragged rendition of Oh Canada. Annie sang beautifully in her dialect of French.
We asked them what they wanted to be when they grow up and they told us: nurses, doctors, teachers, lawyers, one secretary, one engineer, one wanted learn English and be a tour guide and one wanted to be a builder. We asked, " who, then, will catch the fish? They all said not them. Some of them paddle across the Amazon every day to come to school. All have been to Iquitos and some hope to travel to Lima someday. They asked us what we do for a living. I think only Annie's reply of "secretary" ( and maybe one understood Larry's engineer ) made sense to them. They were unsure of what a librarian is or a tax accountant.
Then, outside, we distributed candy to everyone. [ actually when it ended inside, all the kids ran out the door and I thought, home, but when we came out we found them all in 2 lines, boys and girls, ready to receive their candy ]. They tucked hibiscus blossoms behind our ears and came back to the dock to say Adios. It was a wonderful morning. Then back to the lodge to pack up and get ready for the return to Iquitos and Lima this afternoon.
The boat trip to Iquitos was on the much larger and much slower Amazon Queen. It was a great opportunity to see life along the river. In Iquitos we careened through busy streets crawling with chollo-taxis and motorbike. Since it was Sunday, everyone was out. Sometimes a motorbike would have a whole family - father driving, 3 year old in front, mother on back with baby in front of her.
We stopped for a last-chance souvenir market but we saw nothing we wanted.
At the airport we stood in line for about an hour before getting to the check-in desk, but since our plane was late, still sat in the departure area for a long time. The airport is very basic, and open to the air, so every plane fills the place with noise. Just before security an Explorama agent, who unbeknownst to us had remained to see us through, bid us fairwell.
Happily Maritzia was waiting for us at Lima airport and returned us to our hotel with no fuss.


River Taxi passes

Lined up for candies

Click for additional Google+ Photos

Link to Lodge Web Sites below
http://www.ceibatops.com/
http://www.explorama.com/
 


Canopy Walkway

Shaman explained medicinal herbs

Janice, relaxing for the 50 mile river trip back to Ceiba Tops Lodge

The Indiana Mia HIgh School Dancers


Home in San Louis

 
 Monday, May 21: Lima: This was the first real free day of the trip, so we took advantage of that. We lingered in our room, had a late breakfast and took a limo to the "Indian Market". This is a 2 or 3 block area in Miraflores, with hundreds of stalls in several buildings, selling all sorts of Peruvian crafts. It's a good place to go at the end of the trip, because nearly everything you've seen along the way can be bought here. We picked up a few last minute things, then wandered through a department store (not unlike the Bay, really), before hailing a cab back to the hotel. It was our first time using a taxi here but we had specific instructions from the person at the hotel desk. Tell him where you're going, then negotiate a price before getting in. We figured out enough Spanish to do it, and succeeded. [ although I think we totally confused another cab who was probably waiting at the store door from someone who had called him ]. Then to the local store for water ( another minor exercise in Spanish and sign language [ I couldn't watch so I stayed outside ] ) and back to the room. Nice to have a luxury suite today, since we are spending a lot of time here. I also finally managed to mail the postcards I've been carrying around. The hotel sends the bellboy to mail them if you give him money for postage. Such service!
 

Tuesday, May 22: Lima: Our wake-up call was at midnight and Maritzia picked us up at 1am. We were through all the lineups and in the boarding lounge by 2am. As planned we met Tony and Tanya and waited for the boarding call.

Click for additional Google+ Photos ( no new ones for this last phase )

Link to Lodge Web Sites below

http://www.ceibatops.com/

http://www.explorama.com/
 

 

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Arriving in Lima
Lima Main Square
Lima - Pizaro's Tomb
Lima - The Love Park
Pachacamac Ruins
Lima - Archaeological Museum

Cusco - Walking tour and City Square
Train trip to Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
Birdwatching at Inkaterra Pueblo in Aguas Calientes
Climbing Inka Trail to the Sun Gate
Sacred Valley road tour
Sacred Valley - Ollantay Tambo
Sacred Valley - Chinchero

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Road trip to Puno - Raqchi
Lake Titicaca - Sunrise from hotel

Lake Titicaca - Trip to Floating Island
Lake Titicaca - Uros floating islands
Lake Titicaca - Nature Preserve below hotel
Lake Titicaca - M.N. Yavari tour

Sillustani - ruins on the way to the Juliaca Airport
Iquitos, Peruvian Amazon - trip into jungle
Explororama - Ceiba Tops, Amazon
Simulated primitive native village tour
Jungle canopy walk
Ceiba Tops - live show
Contemporary Village visit
 

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