"In the jungle the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee we mo mo moway..."
The last part of our GAP Adventure, which we were also really looking forward to, consisted of spending 2 nights in the Amazon jungle. We're long overdue for a good adventure story, so this should tide you over for awhile...
We had an early flight from Cuzco to Porto Maldonado. The airport transfer was fine and there was a GAP rep there to meet us. He immediately told us there was a problem with our flight and that it was canceled but that we were on standby to take the next flight. Said would take 1 hour or so. We were fine with this.
Almost two hours later he came back to tell us the flights were full and that we would have to take a charter flight which would land in Museca, about 3 hours from Porto Maldonado. On arrival there would be a driver waiting to meet us there to take us to Porto Maldonado and then then we would go to a "special boat just for us" to take us to the Lodge. No problem. We were still ok with this at this point. So we picked up our backpacks and walked to the charter check-in. Each of us actually had to step on the scale as they manually wrote down our weights and the weights of our bags to make sure they could fly the plane. Yes, I almost cried when I saw my weight - but boots weigh a lot, as you know.
The flight was due to leave at 1pm but left after 2. We boarded a small plane we're sure was just used to smuggle drugs. It seated 15 like sardines, smelled of diesel and looked like it had been through a war or 2. It was not a smooth ride and our ears were messed up days later from the pressure in that plane. But we landed safely on a dodgy dirt path that led to a tin shed which we assumed was the hangar.
Someone did meet us there but he spoke no English. He took us to his Range Rover type vehicle, hardly a comfortable vehicle. The 3 of us plus 2 other guys in the same situation crammed into this truck, with one of the guys who was smaller than me wedged in the back with the luggage. (We thought we had it bad. These guys were part of a 12 person group. They were the only ones to not get on the flight!)
Andrew asked the driver how long it would take and he counted on his fingers up to 7. What??? What happened to 3 hours??? Well, we didn't really have another option so we only hoped it would be a shorter ride...
You can't even call what we drove on a road. It was a rocky dirt path and we bounced the entire way. L was in the front seat. Probably the worst seat in the house because he saw everything coming! The driver didn't stop for a bathroom break or a water break (there was no suitable place to stop as we were in the middle of nowhere). As L and Andrew kept saying, "It's a jungle out there!" And we drove with the windows open so we were covered in the dust by the end. You would not subject livestock to these conditions, much less humans!!!
Andrew was our saving grace. He willingly used up his valuable batteries so we could listen to music during the journey. At one point he played, "Don't Worry, Be Happy," which almost made everything ok, albeit for 3 minutes. When he broke out his speakers, he also broke out his flask of rum. He offered it around but the rest of us declined. So he got slowly drunk by himself but later admitted it made the trip almost a pleasure for him!!!
It was a 150K trip which took close to 6 hours. Unpaved road the entire way...