Tag Archives | peru

5 Unwritten Rules for Being an Elegant Traveler

Elegance is not the prerogative of those who have just escaped from adolescence, but of those who have already taken possession of their future.-Coco Chanel

Rule #1 Manners-

Japan bowI know, I know…you knew that we were gonna start here.  For good reason.  The easiest way to be an “Ugly ( Aussie, Brit, Yank….enter country of choice)” is by completely tossing all convention of what is classy and what is not to the wind whilst on holiday.  Don’t be that guy/gal!  One of the beauties of traveling is exposing yourself to new cultures, social norms, and new viewpoints.   As a part of your trip prep, don’t skip of the chapter on local traditions and customs.  No need to go over board and bow to the Japanese waiter every time he returns to your table to fill your water glass.  But you might use “Nin” instead of “Ni” when speaking to someone in China to show respect.

The elegant traveler treats the bellboy with the same respect as the hotel’s CEO.

 

Rule #2 Dress-

This is likely one of the more obvious aspects of traveling with elegance.  I remember the first time I traveled abroad and saw a gentleman wearing a sharp tweed jacket, tasteful kerchief in the pocket, button down shirt and cotton pants.  He looked so sharp.  A great example of an elegant traveler.  It doesn’t take much to go from blah to vavooom.

Beautiful woman black dress

Guys–  OK guys, I know, this is vacation and all, but let go of the jeans with paint on them from the last remodel project.  Leave the grubby ball cap at home.  No need to go overboard here either.  You don’t need to pull a Mike with his preppy kakis and button down shirt.  Spiff it up a tad gents.

 

Gals–  Lets start with hemlines.  Harken back to rule #1.  Just because your wardrobe is acceptable where you came from, does not mean that it will be ok where you are going.  Conservative countries in the Middle East, Asia and even parts of Europe frown on too much exposure.  Know your location.  The elegant traveler plans ahead, and has the right ensemble for every occasion.  And for heaven sakes leave the fanny pack at home!!!  Better yet throw it away!

 

Rule #3  Courtesy

Common courtesy is an international language.  Unlike manners, it is not requisite to be fluent in the local customs to show courtesy.  One simply must put others needs before their own.  Ideas include holding doors open for others, accommodating those that need “a little extra time down the jetway”, patience in trying circumstances.  Some of the stuff your grandmother tried to teach you.  Show respect to seniors, give a harried mother a hand in the airport, lift a bag for someone.  And of course the golden rule of courtesy …please and thank you.  These should be the first words you learn in the new language.

 

Rule #4  Dress for dinner

montecarloTake a lesson from the popular TV show “Downton Abbey” and dress for dinner.  The Elegant Travel Dame always has a little black dress.  The Traveling Gentleman always has a fine dinner jacket.  One of our most elegant travel moments came in Cusco, Peru of all places.  We try to include at least one really nice meal when we travel.  During our Peru adventure, we elected to have dinner at the il Monastery in Cusco.  Highly recommended! We had just come out of the jungle, and we cleaned up and had an amazing meal dressed to the nines.  It made us feel like a million bucks.

 

Rule #5  Do the Homework

Our final rule is to do your homework.  Truly seek to understand what you are seeing on vacation.  Find destinations that really interest you.  Plan a trip to Turkey!  Dig a little deeper.  Ask questions.  Do all of this before you get on the jetplane.  Learn a little bit of the language, enough to show respect for you host country.  We typically plan our trips 6 months to a year out.  We do this on purpose, it gives us enough time to do the homework.  We learn the language, a little of the dominant religion and culture as well as search out the off the beaten path locations.

So those are our rules for becoming an elegant traveler.  Did we miss anything?  What advice can you give to others?  Leave us a comment below.

 

 

 

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4

7 Questions with Landing Standing

One of our favorite parts of hosting a couple travel blog is getting to know other like-minded couples.   We posed our 7 questions to fellow couple travel bloggers Meg and Tony of LandingStanding.com.  In January of this year, the brave couple left jobs, family, and friends and set off on a grand adventure to explore the world.

So what does exactly does Landing Standing mean?

Landingstanding

Land-ing Stand-ing: The act of leaping without looking, loving without fearing, and dominating anything life throws at you while never losing balance (well almost never).

 Give their blog a looksee!

www.Landingstanding.com

https://twitter.com/landingstanding

http://www.facebook.com/LandingStanding

 

1)  We loved your post “Traveling with Women-Why every man should.”  What have been the greatest lessons traveling with the opposite sex?
He Said: You run into a ton of problems when you travel, big and small. My instinct is to try and fix them or at least offer a solution… definitely NOT something that women are always looking for. After numerous attempts and failures to get this into my head, i’m proud to say that I now, almost always, actually  listen to Meg and just say, “I totally understand,” instead of, “here is what you could do.” Total travel relationship saver.


She Said: The biggest lifesaver for Tony and I has been assigning roles to each other while on the trip that work to each of our strengths.  I am not sure if this stereotypically follows specific gender roles, but he is much better with handling our money, passports, and important documents, while I am in charge of hotel reservations and directions to get us from point A to point B.  I am more detailed oriented and like having a solid plan when traveling to a new place, whereas Tony is cool going with the flow and figuring it all out when we arrive.

 

2) If you had to travel with someone else besides your travel partner, who would it be?  (this person can be living, historical or mythical?.)  Why?

He Said: Anthony Bourdain. But not as buddies (no way I could  keep up with his partying when he was younger and probably still can’t), but as a special guest on his TV show No Reservations. We watched 2-3 episodes of his show per weekend when preparing for our trip because it was at the intersection of our two giant passions… travel and food. Especially food.

She Said: Harry Potter. Broomsticks, portkeys, apparition, and Floo powder are much cooler means of transportation than coach class on an airplane!


3)What has been your favorite destination in your wanderings?  Why?

He said: We’re in Berlin right now and have been totally stunned by how awesome this city is. Who knew? We are currently in the middle of a project to start our own business and Berlin has an incredibly vibrant entrepreneurial spirit. We have been to a lot of amazing places, but Berlin has skyrocketed to the top of our list of foreign cities we could live in after our travels.

She said: I hate to sound cliché, but Paris was pretty magical.  We used my hotel points to stay in a fancy Hyatt Regency in the center of the city and spent 4 days pampering ourselves and eating our way around the city.  Coming from Peru after just hiking Machu Picchu, this mini-vacation in the city of lights was much needed.  Plus, we celebrated our two-year wedding anniversary while in Paris.. amour!

 

4)  If you had to eat one last meal, what/ where would you eat?

couple travelHe said: I’m worried about Meg with this question… her brain might literally explode trying to pick just one location, let alone one meal… For me it is super easy and simple. Some amazing prosciutto and salami, some wedges of great cheese like pecorino, bleu, and camembert, and the freshest bread I could find. Then drive out to a cliff, with Meg, overlooking some great expanse of nature and just chow down.

She said: Ahhh too many choices!  Tony and I have had some AMAZING meals together, but traveling the world has also made me miss the comforts of home.  For my last meal, I would have to stick to my roots and choose my mom’s famous baked mac & cheese and my dad’s succulent Korean BBQ spare ribs… And of course finish the meal off with a giant bowl of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (Phish Food, New York Super Fudge Chunk, Half Baked… Any of those flavors would do!).  As far as where I would want to eat this last meal, it would be in my ultimate dream destination, Bora Bora, looking out over the Pacific Ocean in an overwater bungalow with my man by my side.

 

5) How has traveling brought you together as a couple?

She said: When we were back in the States, I travelled a lot for work and only saw Tony on the weekends.  We are now with each other 24/7, which has been both wonderful…. and eye-opening!  Yes, we sometimes bicker more than we ever used to back home, but we also have gotten to know a great deal more about each other during the past 6 months on the road and have become a stronger couple because of it.  There are some rare occasions where we want to strangle each other and put space between us, but every time I discover something new during our travels, I am so glad I have Tony there to share the experience.

He said: Still being attracted to each other after food poisoning in a Bolivian hostel = true love.

 

6) You guys have written a number of times about staying in hostels.  We have never been that brave.  What advice can you give to couples about staying in hostels?  How do you pick ‘em?  Seems like they cater to the single traveler crowd.  How do you find “couple” time?

He said: In South America you can definitely find cheap private rooms that are sometimes only slightly more expensive than the beds in dorm room. We always look closely at the ratings on the hostel booking websites before booking to make sure they rank high on location and cleanliness.

She said:  We actually haven’t stayed in a hostel for several months now.  We have become spoiled in Europe with apartment rentals, staying with friends, and leveraging my hotel points.  Hostels were a great option in South America – especially Patagonia where hotels were expensive (and often non-existent), but besides being a great place for meeting other backpackers, they can get old fast for a travelling couple.  Unless it was significantly more expensive than staying in a mixed dorm, we opted for private rooms and we always researched reviews on Hostelbookers.com and Hostelworld.com to find the most suitable hostel in our price range.

 

7)You knew it was coming….What has been your greatest travel fight/disagreement?

Couple TravelShe said:  It wasn’t so much of a fight as me being a complete bee-otch.  We were on the overnight bus from hell from Uyuni, Bolivia to La Paz.  The journey was supposed to be 9 hours long, but due to road floods, the bus had to go off-roading to get to La Paz and it ended up taking 15 miserable hours to get there. With little to no snacks packed, a bus seat that didn’t recline, and a broken window that blew freezing air into my face all night, I was devastated.  Hungry, cold, and tired was the trifecta to my perfect storm and Tony got caught in the eye of it.

He said: Very true. I think I blacked out from the sheer ferocity of it. Nail your windows shut and hide in the basement… Hurricane Meg is a once in a century storm!

 

1000Fights: That was a blast!  As you notice quickly when you discover their blog, in most of their pictures they are in each other’s arms.  You really get the impression that this is a strong couple.  Thank you Meg and Tony for sharing, and we hope we meet you guys out on the road someday.

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The Danger of Expectations (in Marriage and Travel)

One of the many precautions we take in our travels is getting the proper immunizations. Before our Amazon trek, we went in to our local medical clinic and said, give us everything you’ve got! We felt like human pin cushions! Those pesky shots, while painful in the short term prepared our bodies to reject the attack of those pesky yellow fever things. But no immunization or medication can protected someone from an unrealized expectation. We have found this out the hard way.

Perception is Reality?

We just returned from a two week trip to Asia, visiting both Thailand and Cambodia.    I had lived in Taiwan for a couple of years in college, this was Luci’s first visit to the Orient. It was so intriguing to watch her experience a new culture, and dispel and confirm some of her preconceptions. She thought that the food would be spicy, and it was! In other areas she discovered that she was completely off base. Each new place we visit we arrive with the rose colored glasses of glossy guidebooks. (That’s one reason we love the travel blogging community, for its candid un-gussied up descriptions.) As travelers, we tend to be  loaded with pre-conceptions. These notions rarely hit the mark.

 

Pinterest Perfect?

Just like travel, we build in our minds some times unrealistic expectations from our marriages/ relationships. We think things should be a certain way.  Simply because…that’s the way things happen in the movies or on TV. Why would we want to model a relationship after a fictional portrayal? #epicfail ! (I just used a hashtag as a complete sentence! Cross that off the bucket list!) Our culture, our environment push us to envision and quite frankly expect the ideal. Look no further than Pinterest to see well-meaning people create a palette of perfection. The never ending quest for the perfect wedding centerpiece. Then there’s the dress! All of this leads us to create in our mind an expectation, typically unrealistic and unattainable.

Is that really healthy?

How to overcome?

Some of the best advice we have ever received was offered by Javier, our young Peruvian guide in the Amazon Jungle. Before embarking on our night safari in the Jungle he counseled us, “don’t set your heart on seeing any one animal or insect..just enjoy what you find in the jungle.” Wise words for sure. We have often reflected on this advice. Enjoy the ride. Don’t say..i want this, that and the other or the experience is an abject failure. Don’t do that to yourself. Enjoy the journey for what it is. Leave your expectations at the lodge of life and open your heart to the experience.

Finding the perfect in the one you love

Come up with your own perfect. One thing that we have discovered in 15 years of marriage and 25 some years of friendship is that neither one of is perfect. We likely know each other’s flaws and quirks better than anyone else in the galaxy. For a relationship to thrive, we can’t expect our lover to be a combo of every perfect character we have read about in Jane Austen novels. Likewise, it is completely unrealistic and a little dangerous to expect our sweetheart to look like a supermodel 24/7. It is up to us to find the best in those we love, especially our significant other.

 

How do you overcome your preconceptions? What are your secrets to rejecting the pressure for perfection? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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5

Our 7 Super Shots

The Fighting Couple was nominated to participate in the HostelBookers 7 Super Shots contest.  Basically it is a chance to highlight 7 of our best pics from our travels.  Fun huh?   Selecting some of our faves was really tough.  We literally have tens of thousands of pics.   I love these kind of “best of” type posts.  They really bring back some great memories.   We hope you enjoy.  With our further adieu, here are our seven.
You can click on a picture for a larger view.

A Photo that takes my breath away

Far and away one of our favorite destinations is the Amazon.  The Peruvian Jungle offers so many adventures and lessons.  We captured this sunset our first night in the jungle.  It was so amazing!

Sunset in the Amazon Jungle

A photo that…makes me laugh or smile

You know those pics where someone is doing something “interesting”  in the background?  Yeah?  Well we had one during our visit to the Louvre in Paris.  We didn’t realize that we captured this “moment” until we got back from our trip!  Like they always say, when in Paris!

the paris grope!

A photo that…makes me dream

We miss Africa!  This shot of an African Lion we took while visiting Kruger Park in South Africa.  It makes us dream of going back to Africa!

Large African Lion

A photo that…makes me think

We spent the morning at Ephesus, Turkey.  One of the most interesting and enlightening attractions is the Celsius Library.  It has been restored and one of the icons of history.  Luci captured this shot when I was deep in thought…Ok..I look a little dumb.

 

Ephesus Turkey

A photo that…makes my mouth water

So I am guessing that half of the food pictured on this category will be from Italy!  We found a little cafe down from our hotel in Venice.   While Luci flirted with the handsome waiter, Mike gorged himself on the amazing food!  We cant tell you how good this was!  It was flat out amazing!

A photo that…tells a story

Bosnia.

Bullet holes in Bosnia

A photo that…I am most proud of (aka my worthy of National Geographic shot)

Anyone who has been to Machu Picchu knows just how hard this pic really is!  There are so many people!  We waited and waited and at the right moment, Snap!  The day was perfect, the sun, the green hills.  What a special place.

The view from Machu Picchu

 

Those are some of our best pics!  Which is your fave?

 

Head on over and see the 7 Super Shots guidelines post which features a number of fantastic photos.  We would like to nominate to following bloggers for the I am taking part in HostelBookers 7 Super Shots‘  Contest!  

Cant wait to see their pics!

 

http://www.fourjandals.com/

http://www.donteverlookback.com/

http://www.passportandatoothbrush.com/

http://www.vowstotravel.com/

http://mrmrsglobetrot.blogspot.com

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13

5 Secrets to get your “Indoor Girl” Outdoors

Amazon River trip oneSo how do you get you indoor girl into the great outdoors? Not as simple as it sounds.   (I must first do a shout out to all of your outdoor girls, you rock!)  Luci’s idea of roughing it… is a hotel without room service! Seriously, I salute Luci, she has braved everything from taking a canoe up the Amazon to sleeping in a yurt in the African savannah. We came up with a few hints to make venturing into the wild a little easier.

Be Prepared

We have found an ounce of prevention can equal a pound of cure. Going into the wild, you are going to meet two arch enimies to indoor peoples: Dirt and Bugs. While you can’t pack all of the creature comforts into the woods, you and pack a few things that make the go of it loads easier. Item #1 insect repellant. This stuff is perhaps the most important thing in your pack. Buy the good stuff. If you are going into the really adventurous areas (see Amazon, Nile and other non-blackberry functioning areas) you need a strong concoction with lots of something called DEET. DEET is magic. If you are going in a little less extreme area , find some non-scent insect repellent. The pros of DEET juice: protects the really bad stingers. The negatives of DEET: it smells to high heaven, and it is sticky. YUCK! If the areas you are headed to don’t have mosquito borne illness threats, use the non-scent stuff.

Set Expectations

Some of our best/worst fights came from different expectations. One of the keys in bringing someone that is not an outdoors person into outdoors is they tend to see what they fear most. If they hate bugs….then they will see the bugs. They will see the dirt. They will “think” they hear the dangerous critters in the night. One way to help your spouse is to say paint the picture for them: “There will be bugs. We have the spray to minimize their presence. We will be sleeping in nets to prevent them getting at us at night. Yes, there will be dirt. But, at such and such a point, we are going to shower and at another point we are going to swim under waterfalls.” Building what to expect can go a long way to make the trip bearable for the non-out-of-doors folks.

Share Your Glasses

One of the main barriers for indoor people is that they flat out don’t understand what drives outdoor people to go out doors. We encourage couples to find ways to communicate effectively. Sharing ones passion for the great outdoors can really help one spouse understand the other. One of our experiences in the Amazon really highlights this understanding. It was evening and we had been out on the river the entire day. Luci was swatting bugs in fine form. I invited her to sit on a bench overlooking the river and watch the sunset. Candidly, it was one of the most magnificent sunsets I have ever seen. The sky was lit up with dramatic reds and yellows. We just sat and watched. All of the sudden, the dirt, bugs and hungry jaguars in the distance didn’t really matter. She was looking through my glasses, she understood (for a few mili-seconds) why I love the jungle.

Wonderful Amazon SunsetMix it up

One of our little secrets for couple travel is to amplify. As our voyage progresses we go to better and better places. Start off with the camping trip, then end the trip at the lux resort. This does two things; it gives your spouse something to look forward to after roughing it. It also makes them remember the positive. Great idea huh?

Wanna see some more Amazon pics?  Including some spiders and creepy crawlies?  Just like us on Facebook.

Be a Hero

If your sweetheart isn’t really into the more adventurous destinations, and they suck it up and sacrifice for you, you gotta make it up to him or her. Slip her favorite luxury item into the pack. Do they love honey covered almonds? Stow some away in your pack and at the right time, bam! You are a hero. Even better, pack their favorite elixir… perhaps a bottle of 2009 Txomin Etxaniz (Basque country wine) and break it out at the right time and …..BAM! You are a hero.

That is it!  Our 5 tips for getting your “indoor” girl into the great outdoors.  Be prepared in advance of your trip, build realistic expectations.  Help you sweetheart understand what you love about nature.  Perhaps the best hint is to be a hero, look for little things along the way that will make the outing more pleasurable.  In the end, regardless if you are in the Amazon Jungle or taking touring caravans in the UK. Make the most of your adventures by following a few of the steps spelled out above.

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4

Tracking Hemingway (Paris, Peru, Venice and Sun Valley)

Tracking Hemingway (Paris, Peru, Venice and Sun Valley)

Since reading Old man and the Sea in the 3rd grade, I have been mesmerized by Papa.  So many of his works have since impacted me at different points my life.  As Luci and I have traveled, we have unintentionally followed his footsteps.  Most recently in prep for my first visit to the African continent, I read his, “Green Hills of Africa.”  Granted, Africa today is much different than in Hemmingway’s his day, I could really feel the romance and love he had for the people and the place.

I feel a real connection with Hemmingway.  We are both travel writers. Of course, Hemmingway is in the majors, I’m still trying to get into the minors. I try to emulate Hemmingway’s approach of connecting with the locals, and seeing the off the beaten path places.  Then, in turn, share these stories with those who will listen.  We both have been known to be prone to a little embellishment at times….

Paris

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”   Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway loved Paris.  Paris loves Hemingway.  We visited Paris last month and we decided to sign up for a Hemingway walk.  Unfortunately, we were greatly disappointed in the tour…too many people and despite the name of the walk, Papa was only briefly discussed.  I knew we were in trouble when at the onset the guide asked how many people had read “A Moveable Feast” and Luci and I and one other couple had read it.  What a shame!  But we did get to walk by his first home in Paris.  He and his wife Hadley lived in a small walk-up at 74 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine in the Latin Quarter, and he worked in a rented room in a nearby building.  Interesting enough, both locations claimed that he “lived” there.

View from the ET

It is of note the area that he chose to live in.  Most of Hemingway expat friends lived in more “upscale” areas in Paris.  Ernest chose to live in a real neighborhood.  Cardinal Lemoine was working man’s Paris at the time.  He brought up this fact in Moveable Feast.  By proximity to the working class, he was able to keep that simple voice in his works.  To contrast, another Idahoan that was a contemporary of Hemmingway in Paris, Ezra Pound, who chose to surround himself in very developmental years with the intellectually elite. Pound’s writings would reflect this foundation, and he never had the commercial success that Hemingway experienced. Hemingway would call Pound, “the poet’s poet.”  Quite a compliment for sure.

“Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.”  Ernest Hemingway

Peru

“Somebody just back of you while you are fishing is as bad as someone looking over your shoulder while you write a letter to your girl.”  Ernest Hemingway

One of the really cool places we went in Lima, Peru, was the Grand Hotel Bolivar.  Now the hotel feels past its prime, but standing off the bar by a beautiful marble mantle where Hemmingway would have shared his fishing escapades is very moving.  I am sure a few good Cuban’s were lit here!

Hemingway made one trip with South America spending just under a month there.  While there he pursued his love of sporting fishing.  Peru is such a great place to visit!  It truly has it all: the sun,  the sea, and of course the jungle!

Venice

“My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.“  Ernest Hemingway

One cannot discuss Hemingway in Venice without starting with Harry’s Bar.  The watering hole is located just off St. Marks Square and is now a shell of the place it was back in the day.  In its hay-day it was the headquarters of all things important.  According to our friends at Wikipedia: “Harry’s Bar has long been frequented by famous people, and it was a favorite of Ernest Hemingway. Other notable customers have included Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini, inventor Guglielmo Marconi, Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Truman Capote, Orson Welles, Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Princess Aspasia of Greece, Aristotle Onassis, Barbara Hutton, Peggy Guggenheim, and Woody Allen.”

Hemingway spent time in Northern Italy during the first world war.  Venice was a respite from the bloodshed and bombing that he witnessed.  It was here he was able to collect his thoughts and put them to paper.  Besides spending time at Harry’s, Hemingway at well in Veice, very well.  A Venice restaurant has recreated one of Ernest favorite meals:  http://www.tourism-review.com/venice-a-hotel-commemorates-hemingway-with-special-menu-news2769

Sun Valley

“A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”  Ernest Hemingway

Perhaps my closest connection to Ernesto was our common love of Idaho.  I grew up in Eastern Idaho and regularly visited Sun Valley and the Wood River Valley.  Hemingway chose to spend his last days there, and ultimately ended his life at his own hand there.  In the early morning hours of July 2, 1961, Hemingway “quite deliberately” shot himself with his favorite shotgun.  He is buried in the Sun Valley Cemetery just north of town.  My business often takes me to the area, and I try to visit to pay my respects.  There is always a Cuban cigar, or a bottle of Jack left as a tribute by fellow doting fans.

Sun Valley, candidly in and of itself, isn’t much to look at.  However, Sun Valley is the gateway into the Sawtooth Mountains.  They are some of the most ruggedly beautiful places in the world.  The mountain range lives up to its name.  Its craggy peaks and high mountain lakes are special.  Big game hunting is plentiful.  Winter transforms the entire area into a skiing mecca.

This post is missing two key Hemingway locations: Cuba and Spain.  (They are on our list! Have you been?)   Obviously, you don’t need to circle the globe to catch a glimpse of Papa.  All you need to do is simply read one of his masterpieces.

“Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.”  Ernest Hemingway

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7

Amazonas

I was surprised when I first suggested to Luci that we spend a few days in the jungle that I didn’t face any resistance…just a “great honey”.  I don’t quite think she realized what we were in for.  It was not until the date of departure neared, that I informed her that we needed to get a “few” shots did her level of concern begin to escalate.   The shots weren’t that bad, what bothered me was the extensive detail that the nurse went into describing the different afflictions that the serums would prevent.

We caught a Taca flight from Cuzco, Peru to Puerto Maldonado, Peru.  I kept looking down at the bright green carpet of the canopy.  We flew for an hour straight of continuing green.  Yet we were only on the fringe of the jungle.  Out of the vast sea of vegetation appeared a short landing strip.

Peru 2008 481 - CopyAirport isn’t quite LAX… we gathered our gear and headed out into the sea of tour company vans.  We found our van in short order.  We decided on Lake Sandoval Lodge based on strong reviews on Tripadvisor and it is off the beaten path aways.  Puerto Maldonado is truly a frontier town.  A number of sawmills, dusty streets and many shops for supplying the jungle-ites.

Van took us to the river port on the Rio de Madre de Dios a tributary of the Amazon.   There were 20 some people in our group.   We brought 5 different flavors of insect repellent.

Amazon river port

our group

There were three couples in our group:  an older couple from Britain, and a young couple that had won the trip on Yahoo. (I guess someone does win those contests).  Javier is in the dark jacket, and Paul in the light blue in front.

luci and pau

We boarded or canoe for the 1 hour trip upriver.  Water is chocolate mocha brown.   We arrive at the dock for our hike into the lodge.  We are introduced to our guides: Paul and Javier.  Both have a pretty good command of English.—As we were prattling one afternoon Javier says,” Eutrophication…you know Eutrophication?”  Luci and I had a good chuckle.  We were impressed with his knowledge of biologic terms.

Peru 2008 505 - Copy

During the day we would go on the dugout canoes and criss cross the oxbow lake looking for monkeys, giant river otters, and other critters, including a boa below:

In the evenings we took a couple of night hikes.  Luci was a trooper.  Night is a great time to see all of the creepy crawlies. Including scorpions, spiders and beetles.

Peru 2008 527
Peru 2008 519

Peru 2008 501 - CopyPeru 2008 520

The noises at night were awesome!  The Jungle is extremely LOUD at night.  During one of our night hikes, I asked our guide how long we would last in the deep without light, he stopped, thought to himself for a few seconds and said, “about two hours.”  I heard him chuckle a little to himself as he continued on up the path…

Our sleeping qtrs were fine.  Each bed had netting:

Peru 2008 623

The sunset in the Jungle was so impressive!

Peru 2008 514 - Copy

The Amazonas is not to be missed!  We highly recommend visiting the Sandoval Lake Lodge!

Peru 2008 549
mike hammock

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