Well, that was my last night in the jungle and I slept very well. I was half expecting to find something bigger than yesterday’s frog in the bathroom, but only had a small lizard waiting for me.
My boat leaves at 08:30 and my flight to Lima, via Cusco, is around 1300, so I don’t expect to reach my hotel in Lima until 1800 at the earliest. It’s going to be a long old journey, but the prospect of a boutique hotel in Lima is something I am very much looking forward to and it’s not like the journey will be boring: it will give me a final chance to see the rainforest and Cusco.
I had opted to leave some of my wet clothes (the lodge happily accept donations of clothes) and I very carefully packed my still sodden boots. My plan was to walk down to the boat in my flip-flops and change into my trainers on the boat. It was a bit strange checking out: although I had only been there a few days it felt like a lot longer and it still felt as though there was more to see and do there. So, I had mixed emotions.
A large organised group of birdwatchers were also leaving on the same boat as me, although it would turn out they would be on a different flight. The birdwatchers were very much still in bird watching mode. Where I had dressed for my journey, they had dressed for the boat ride as though it was another excursion. This was so that they could make the most of their time there and continue to bird watch on the boat ride. They were an interesting group and they looked like they were having a lot of fun. Bird watching doesn’t really hold any attraction for me other than looking at a few birds in the wild as I have done on this trip. Having all the equipment and making notes doesn’t appeal to me. I do admire their passion for it though. The world would be a pretty boring place if we were all passionate about the same thing: I support Norwich City Football Club and I am passionate about that, in fact I spend a lot of money going to see them. It seems like a similar thing with the bird watchers. I think it’s great that like minded people that share a common interest are able to get together in this way.
Half way down the river the boat conked out which delayed us by half an hour while the driver and Yuri tried to fix it. They managed to fix it in the end by using a MacGyver-like piece of ingenuity and a small length of wire.
The return bus journey was as jolting as it had been on the way out, but due to the storm the dust levels had dropped a bit and the mud levels had risen. It also gave me time to reflect on what I have done on this trip and particularly the time spent in the jungle and I felt proud and invigorated by the experience.
Now sat in the departure lounge of Puerto Maldonado Airport. The airport is tiny: it has departure gates 1 and 2. My flight will take me back to Cusco where I will wait on the plane for refuelling and other passengers to disembark/board before flying on to Lima.
I’d love it if my boutique hotel in Lima has a bathtub. I guess as long as it has hot water I will be happy. The cold showers at the lodge seem to work ok for about a minute after you get out, then the heat and humidity causes you to sweat. A long hot soak would be great.
Lima is as hectic as it was last time I was there and my greeter from my first day is there to meet me and we chat about my experiences as we make our way through the traffic of Lima. Last time I was here I stayed at the hotel opposite the airport. This time I would be staying closer to the coast. I think we were probably travelling in the car for an hour or so – the traffic is horrendous. Around the airport Lima seems very industrial and driving through what look like large factories soon make way for residential areas, shops, restaurants, etc. Like any big city in the world, some of the areas look quite nice and others look a bit intimidating. Lima has a bad reputation for crimes against tourists, mostly muggings so I knew I would have to be wary of that (as I would be in any other place). I have little option other than to stand out as a tourist though, I just have to be sensible with the amount of money that I carry and where I walk. Once we reached the beach area it was already dark and I could make out the waves in the ocean looked pretty big. Right on cue a pair of surfers who had finished for the day walked past. It looked like there were a few “gentleman’s clubs” in this beach area and it looked a bit dodgy, but that maybe because it wasn’t particularly well lit.
We turned away from the beach and entered a seemingly residential area where my hotel was tucked away on a side street. It looked nice enough from the outside and I was looking forward to seeing what the boutique hotel had in store. My understanding of “boutique” must be different to the tour company – perhaps boutique in Peru means small. I’m not being fussy though. It is clean and nice enough. The room is filled by the bed and the bathroom is a bit pokey (no bathtub), but the water is nice and hot and it will suit me for the 1 night I stay here.
I had been given a good tip on a restaurant nearby so, after a very long hot shower, I headed out into the warm night air of Lima. The place was bustling with traffic and people, but I managed to find the restaurant ok. No one there spoke English, so it was very poor Spanish and mimes from me that got me through. I stopped in at the supermarket on the way back to the hotel and got a couple of beers. The travelling caught up with me and I felt very tired once I had eaten, so I went back to the hotel and fell asleep watching TV.
My last full night in Peru and I spend it watching TV and drinking beer…typical eh?