Welcome to the jungle

The last few days have been incredibly tiring and quite an adjustment. I left Vancouver early on the morning of Jan 9th, 4 flights and 27 hours later, I arrived in Puerto Maldonado, Peru. The heat and humidity here is intense but a welcome change from winter in Vancouver. I was very happy to be greeted at the airport by my friends, Ka and Astro who are experienced travellers and have been here for about a month. I haven’t seen Ka since i was in the hospital and i has been wonderful to reconnect without a million tubes in my arm or the drug-induced haze of painkillers.

We walked to our accommodation at Anaconda Lodge just as the rain started and within minutes there was literally a river outside my bungalow. I quickly realized that it is much easier if i just accept that i will be drenched and embrace it. After settling in i got to meet the menagerie of animals that live at the lodge… 3 baby monkeys, 3 dogs and 1 kitten. They are all ridiculously adorable, even the 2 hairless dogs are sort-of cute. The different butterflies that i have seen so far in my short time here have been incredible…the owl butterfly that has what looks like an owl eye on its wings, the striking bright blue morpho, along with many other yellow ones that I don’t know the names of? That afternoon we had a planning meeting with the folks from Fauna Forever to discuss the details for our week at ARCC, Amazon Research Conservation Centre. Our group of 12 consists of a several interns doing research on various animals, a few guides, and the three of us. The next morning we left in a taxi and travelled about 2 hours along dirt roads until we reached Lucerna. Here we all boarded a river boat and, Melos, our driver, took us deep into the amazon. The boat ride was about 4 hours and we saw some amazing animals along the way…a flock of parrots overhead, capybaras and their babies along the shore, a jungle deer swimming across the river, monkeys swinging in the trees, a king vulture and about five turkey vultures feasting on the remains of an anaconda! We saw waterfalls, incredible trees and vegetation. Everything is so much bigger than i had imagined it would be. I have seen single leaves as big as i am. Despite the incredible journey so far, I have struggled a bit with my ostomy and getting used to this new environment. I am patiently finding my way, and practicing being gentle with myself, as I do.

What I have loved the most so far is the the symphony of sounds! The rhythm and diversity deep in the jungle has been so incredible to behold. Even something as simple as rain on the lush green vegetation seems to have its own language and it speaks to a part deep inside me, that has been long been forgotten. I can feel the spirit of mother earth and the exquisite presence of life everywhere here! It is as though i am being embraced by it and it is becoming part of me. I saw fireflies for the first time and the most beautiful golden hour with a rainbow today! I feel another layer of healing and processing taking place here…

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