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Buses, Taxis, Boats and Planes!

Our water taxis
Our water taxis
Our alarm went off at 3:50 this morning and we put our bags outside our cabana and headed to breakfast. My stomach was still not back to normal, so I wasn’t able to eat much. We all headed down to the dock and piled into canoes where our luggage was waiting for us – there were about 30 of us leaving the lodge today. We made our way down the Madre de Dios river in the direction of Puerto Maldonado. The boat ride took about 2.5 hours. Along the way, one of the guides spotted a small family of capybara and we got a quick photo of them before they disappeared into the jungle! After the canoe ride, we had a quick bathroom break and then loaded into taxis to head down a crazy road for about an hour. There were places where we were just driving over 2 planks of wood over a creek! Next, we loaded into tiny little water taxis for a 5 minute ride across a little river. Locals were using the taxis too and we had a mom and daughter playing at the back of the boat. Water kept splashing up over the side and getting us all wet! On the other side of the river we piled into tight little buses for another 2.5 hours to the airport. It was the first air conditioning we had felt since arriving in the jungle and it felt pretty heavenly! Finally, after over 6 hours of transfers, we made it to the Puerto Maldonado airport. It was a tiny little airport with only a couple of gates. I forgot about my brand new industrial strength bug spray in my back pack and it was taken from me and added to the giant ‘tub of shame’ containing hundreds of bottles of forbidden substances. We bought some snacks and waited for our flight. I bought local banana chips that tasted just like potato chips! We lucked out with bulk head seats and passed out for the whole flight. Our new guide, Ayul, met us at the Cusco airport and took us to our hotel. We stopped at Taypikala along the way to pick up our bag we had left behind. Our new hotel was Casa Andina San Blas and it was nice. We grabbed some coca tea in the lobby, dropped our bags off in our room, and changed out of our filthy jungle clothes. We walked back to Taypikala with Ayul, where we met Richard and Sandy, the couple that were joining us for the rest of the tour. We did a quick orientation walk with Ayul, Rich and Sandy and learned about architecture of the Quechua. We split up in the plaza de armas and made a plan to meet up again the next morning. Kepler and I dropped some things off back at our hotel and then went back to the main plaza for dinner. We realized we had not really eaten since 4 AM and we were hungry! We were looking at one of the touristy places when a street vendor pulled us aside and told us it was over-priced and not very good. He recommended another restaurant and we decided to give it a shot. They gave us an amazing table on the second floor. We were right in the front windows overlooking the whole plaza! The food was really good…and there was a ton of it! I ordered a steak and they brought me two! After dinner, we walked back to our hotel, crawled into bed and immediately passed out!

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