Yesterday, the weather did not bode well for ziplining, so we decided to do an activity with wooden machetes (read my other post: Wooden Machetes!). But this morning everything went according to plan.
We began hiking away from the lodge, our boots sinking deep down into the mud, passing trees everywhere. We even came upon a small group of owl monkeys huddled in the hollow of a tree. They are called owl monkeys because of their big, round eyes. They are nocturnal and just stick to their little tree hollows during the day. The most interesting thing about the owl monkeys is that they are completely immune to malaria. In fact, experiments are being conducted at the lodge’s company’s research center in Esperanza Village on how they do it.
We continued hiking through the mud (so fun) until we saw the beginning of the zipline. We were told that there would be a long climb to the top, a platform that was 90 feet in the air.
There are three methods from which you could choose to get up. There is the pulley, where they pull you up on a rope. There is the ladder, where you climb up to the platform. And then there is the hardest and most complicated of all three: the ascensor. The ascensor is a rope that you use to pull yourself up with the help of ratchets.
All of us (us five, Amie and Poppy, and other zipliners that we met, Jeff and Teresa) chose our ways up to the top. And from the top we could see the jungle for miles around. It reminded me of the temple we climbed in Coba, except a little shorter. We were on the tallest kind of tree in the Peruvian Amazon.
It was incredible to be so high, even at the level that some birds fly at, and even better to be soaring through the treetops on a zipline at that height. We prepared ourselves to do the first zipline. There were three lines, each longer (so better) than the last.
Zipping down each of them was incredible. I like looking down to the ground and the trees around me. Macaws flew close to the platform and we could hear parakeets all around us.
Eventually the last magical zipline took us down to the rainforest floor right next to where we began going up.
It was a great experience going to zipline like that. The guides were so helpful and the weather let us do it that morning!
But ziplining could not be all we did that day. We also took a visit to El Chino, an Amazonian town just a ten minute motor boat ride away from the Tahuayo Lodge.
I found it strange that El Chino in Spanish means The Chinese. It turns out that it had a name like that because during the rubber boom in the Amazon, a Chinese man opened a shop in El Chino and so vended many things that the towns in the area did not have. So eveybody went to El Chino to buy their neat merchandise.
We got to see the small town life of El Chino, the big grass field with people playing soccer and volleyball. The schools, the four bars, and the livestock.
Our time in the Amazon is the beginning of the dry season, leaving the wet season behind. But just a couple of weeks ago, during the end of the wet season, the tide was way higher. We saw on the fences of the town where the water was. People would be wading through knee deep water, just still going about their business.
We visited the High School behind the town as it rained, and then took the boat back when the sun was getting low.
And then, after the sun had set, we went out on a boat and spent a good chunk of the night stargazing up at the clear sky, very far away from city light or the lights of our lodge. It was the most stars I had ever seen in my life.
Our third and final day in the Amazon was full of magical and incredible things, from ziplining, to a visit to El Chino, and finally, a night of gorgeous stargzing.
Below: Ziplining Pictures
Below: Ladder Climb
Below: El Chino
Below: El Chino High School
Below: Sloth on the way to El Chino