Wednesday, March 16, 2016

First Entry to the Amazon Jungle - Up Close + Personal

Peruvian Amazon rainforest viewed from avianca plane
the Peruvian Amazon rainforest viewed from above 

It's been a lifelong dream to visit the Amazon Rainforest, and as I fly above, I begin to have a vague understanding of just how massive an area the "lungs of the earth" covers; billions upon billions of trees, 2.142 million square miles (greater in size than the area of India + Saudi Arabia combined) 2.5 million insect species (is it wrong to wish there were fewer?) tens of thousands of plants, and more than 2,000 species of birds and mammals. 
We get into the riverboat from the tiny port of Philadelphia (many small Peruvian encampments seem to be named after large American cities) and head upstream on the Tombopato River.
riverbank Tombopato
The riverbank of the Tombapata River in the Peruvian Amazon
the banks of the Tombopato river as we travel upstream

stunningly beautiful tree on the Tombopato River
beautiful tree of the rainforest
Lush green foliage rises in all directions, much of it in the form of beautiful, tall trees. I scan the riverbanks for wildlife, no luck save for the scourge of the jungle, an illegal mining operation releasing highly toxic mercury into the river and ecosystem as they dredge for gold.
video: illegal gold mining operation

river fish of the Tombopato river
four different species of fish caught and eaten- Piranha on left
(on right is type of catfish)
I arrive at the lodge where my guide has just helped a couple catch some river-fish (hopefully who haven't ingested mercury.) The haul includes a piranha for those of you who are considering going for a quick dip in the river's muddy waters.
Video: Jungle Guide eats eyes of Piranha @Tombapata Lodge in the Peruvian Amazon 

Polly the Parrot Head @ Tombapata Lodge in the Peruvian Amazon (cute)

We finish eating lunch, and retire for siesta. The heat and humidity here in the middle of the day makes moving around an almost unbearable chore. There is a "shower" in my open air room, essentially a pipe connected to the river. For all of two seconds the fixtures are an off-white color; the moment I open the faucet a deluge of thick river water drops on me like an anvil, the tub instantly caked in dirt and mud. I emerge from my shower dirtier than when I entered. I just laugh as I wipe the added mud from my body. Just excited to be here.
machete in Amazon
me and my machete- the lightsaber of the Amazon
macaw clay lick
took this photo via telescopic lens at the macaw claylick


  1. Love to see you getting into the jungle, Rich!

    1. Thanks Greg, I loved it, but only spent 3 days there. I'd go back though.


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