- Pack up my stuff as I’ll be moving to a new cabana
- Get a cold stone massage in the morning
- Take an afternoon trip to Lake Sandoval
Really, that was it. And it turned out to be so much more than that. Pleasantly. I ended up meeting a really fun family in the Zabrowskis, latched on to a new tour guide who is a great as Yuri and was treated to an evening show of local dances from the Amazon.
The day started like most with the birds waking up at 6am and me too. I listened for a full half hour thinking I should get out of bed and record some of it for Sabrina my daughter, but then I ended up just being happy to relax. I WILL record some of the awesome sounds of the Amazon waking up and post it here, just not today (the recording has been made, I just need to size and post it). The ugliness of the weekend seems to have passed so I wasn’t chained to my local toilet as normal. It looked to be a good day.
After chilling out (code for relaxing, emailing, reading, writing, etc…) Susan escorted me to the spa for my cold stone massage. It. Was. Heavenly. Cold, but heavenly. Only cold at first when the chilled Madre de Dios rocks touch my body. I’ve never had a hot stone massage but am now curious. After the stones sat for a second the non-stop sweat actually ceased. It was comfortable and cool. Hints of lavender and a local plant sifted through the air as I listened to birds and river boats passing by. It was very relaxing and well worth the price.
I returned to my cabana in time to notice I had 3 minutes to meet up with my group for the afternoon excursion back to Lake Sandoval!! Ekkkk!! Wait a sec…. I haven’t described my new home for the next three nights.
WOW!! I was upgraded thanks to Hector at Inkaterra or some unseen hand (I still can’t figure out who, but it’s likely him) to one of the nicer cabanas. Bigger up front with a larger living area and then, in the back, a full sized bathroom. Two sinks, shower and toilet. Beyond that, a little slice of heaven. Only pictures can do it justice. I’m not the kind of person who needs luxury and that makes me flip over twice when I have it. And I have it. In the back is a soaking tub full of cool water. Not hot like a Jacuzzi, but cold so chilling out in the middle of 90 degree day is possible. Also in the back are lounge chairs under mosquito netting and a shower for indulging in the great out of doors. All set right up against the rainforest so the sounds and sights make you feel immersed. All I can keep saying is wowie kazowie! It’s really, really, very nice and I highly suggest upgrading if you get the chance. I’ve used the cooling tub four times today and it is soooooo very indulgent in this Amazonian heat.
Back to the day at hand. This is my second trip to Lago Sandoval (first trip report here) but I was still excited because I knew this trip required torches, or flashlights, which means it comes back after dark. This will then be a good bookend for my trip on Friday when we got to see the lake as morning was passing into afternoon. Our guide was Caesar, a well realized and informed fellow with a quick smile. The Zambrowskis are a family of five from California with children of 16, 14 and 11 and as the night wore on, I found them to be a hell of a lot of fun to hang with. Because I am something of a lone wolf until Yuri comes back, I am allowed to latch on to other groups. When I first heard one of them singing in the shower while the other lamented outside, “Everyone can hear you!!” I knew they were a typical but fun family of five.
On the path to the lake we didn’t see as much wildlife as a few days ago but that was expected given the time of day. Monkeys were out but other than that, sightings were sparse. And so were the tourists. Out on the lake, it seemed as if we had the whole space to ourselves. Calm was the water and easy was the conversation as we spotted Hautzin, squirrel monkeys and snake birds. New this trip were the elephant turtles who have done well in the marketing department, measuring only six inches long. The squirrel monkeys were a special treat as a group of about 30 of them moved across the jungle canopy for our amusement right at the waterfront. I don’t care how old you are, watching monkeys jump from tree to tree brings a laugh of hilarity and amazement all at the same time. It was also interesting to note the mother monkeys, about four of them with young clinging to their backs, all following the same path through the tress.
The rope swing had a new extension on it making climbing the tree possible, as well as a fully swing. (see previous post for what happens when the rope is too short) Unfortunately for me, the rope wound around my leg and when I let go at the apex of the swing, a serious rope burn to the wrong part of my body occurred. Ouch! It still hurts as I sit and type, as you might imagine. I’m sure it’ll be ok, but dang was that a lesson in life. The water on the other hand was perfect. Unlike the morning trip, a full day of sun brought the top two feet of water up to bath temperature. It was soooo very relaxing and natural and I didn’t spot any piranha. The buzzing bees were annoying but laying on my back looking up at the passing clouds and occasional macaws, I really didn’t care.
The return trip to the boat was punctuated by frogs that kept getting bigger as we traveled. I’m not kidding. Small, itty bitty suckers at first, the last ones measured over three inches. I was amazed by the amount of spiders, dotting the side of the trail like emeralds in my headlight. So many I thought I was seeing things, but each was a small spider waiting for an evening snack. Night monkeys also crossed our path on the way back and when I stopped behind the group for a bit I was treated to one of my favorite fliers; bats. Just a few, but I like bats, maybe because they are a sign of a healthy ecosystem the world over. We grabbed some beer on the way back on the boat and enjoyed the lightning storm looking back the way we had come, while taking the chance to get to know each other a bit better.
Back at the lodge we were treated to a presentation by local performers demonstrating a number of dances their ancestors had used in rituals and in hunting. It was cool to watch, with the whole house getting up to dance at the end. The Zabrowskis invited me over to play Hearts but, man, they have some odd rules. Like when I shot the moon but still managed to get 31 points!! It was a lot of fun to hang with them tonight and I honestly felt welcome to be a part of what was obviously a family tradition. And if they are reading this…..yes, I’m still sore about losing so quickly. 🙂 PS, thanks for the beer.