Friday, November 9, 2012

When 18 really means 30...

Leaving Iquitos was harder than we thought. We had such a wonderful time with our host family and friends we made there.  But it was also time to move onto the next part of our adventure. After going back and forth for awhile whether we should take the 2 hour flight from Iquitos to Lima... or take a boat from Iquitos to Yurimaguas, then Yurimaguas to a small town called Tarapota to catch a bus to Lima, we decided that this trip is all about adventure, so why not take the few extra days and take the boat!

We had heard that it was going to take about 5-6 days on the boat, but luckily we made it in 3.5 days! Thank goodness too, because we were getting a little bored just swinging in our hammocks all day. Taking an occasional walk around the boat was also a common activity. We bought hammocks at REI prior to leaving, so we were set. We got to know our neighbors not necessarily through communication, mostly due to the fact that if spread your arms out, you would be putting your arm around your neighbors shoulder.  Incredibly close and compact on deck, involving some crying babies next to you, toe nails being clipped behind you, and empty water bottles rolling throughout the night. It wasn't all bad. The Amazon river is home to pink and grey dolphins, which we saw frolicking one afternoon while eating lunch. Pretty special. We were fed 3 meals a day, and it was more food than we were expecting. Most of the time I couldn't finish my portion! It ranged from rice, chicken,  vegetables, and plantains. When we arrived early to the dock on Monday morning, we were eagerly packing up our belongings when we realized the top part of our day packs were not zipped fully. Odd because we were positive we shut them the previous night.  Looking through the backpack, we realized Maddys headphones, our head phone splitter and 20 soles in change (about $7 USD) were stolen. Could have been way worse obviously but still an icky feeling that someone went through our things while we slept. And for it to happen on the LAST night! Oh well. It did feel good to be on land again, where we were quickly bombarded by taxi drivers to get in their cabs. We needed to get to Tarapoto to catch our bus, and eventually found a pick up truck that had passenger in it headed in that direction. We tossed our packs in the truck, and stood next to them in the back of the truck for the windy, curvy, spectacular, 3 hour drive. Again, we were happy to arrive at the bus station, and only had to wait about an hour until it left - thank goodness we didn't miss it! 

Doing our research prior to getting on the bus, we were expecting an 18 hour bus ride, making us arrive early on Wednesday morning to Lima. Awesome. Apparently the driver wanted to make a few extra stops, drive incredibly slow, and get stuck in a dead stop traffic jam, making us arrive to Lima 30 hours later. We were so happy to be in our hostel Wednesday night.  We had Chinese food and Starbucks that night - felt great to be in a big city again. 

While we enjoyed the stories that came out of this adventure, next time, we might pick the 2 hour flight from Iquitos to Lima... 

Off to Chile this afternoon, we will write when we have safely arrived!


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  2. oops...will try was fun texting back and forth is morning.....these pictures could be in National Geographic! so amazing...I love the one of you to together. And the ones of Maddy with the monkey...oh wait did I already say that..hah
    Also the photos of the kids capture the fun you had with the boys and girls.
    I am imagining a gigantic photo book...maybe one for each country!
    love, mom

  3. Maddy and Nate,

    I just stumbled upon your blog as I was researching housing in Padre Cocha as my girlfriend and I are trying to plan a trip that included volunteering at the Orphanage for a while. I was shocked to find another couple that seems to be doing a similar trip to us (or what we want to do). Annndddd I'm pretty sure I saw a Green Bay Packers picture? I'm a huge fan having lived in Green Bay for 7 years.

    Anyway, I was hoping during one of the few times you get internet you may be able to give us some advice on finding housing in Padre Cocha, some of the things you'd recommend doing in South America, and all the cities we must see.

    I'm not sure how much longer your trip is lasting, but I see youre looking for volunteer opportunities just like us. We found a pretty awesome website ( and bought a $40 packet from them with 45 different free (or close to free) programs and tons of language schools that also offer opportunities. Seems like it would be perfect you guys. Shoot me an email at this address at gmail and I'd be happy to send you the packet.

    Hope you all are enjoying your trip. It sounds amazing and makes me look forward to my trip even more. We'll be heading down there in January - maybe we'll cross paths!