Early on planning our Peru trip, Chris said Abby must see the jungle. Then when Noah, my nephew, joined us later, he also wanted to see the jungle… so the jungle it was.
In fact all he wanted was to see a tarantula and yes, he did see one. An expensive trip to see a tarantula but as a 17 year old guy, that is what works.
Now one thing you need to know is that no jungle experience is ever alike.
I fancy myself to be a bit of a jungle expert… Cambodia, Bolivia, Guatemala, Suriname but nothing prepared me for our one night in the Peruvian jungle.
We had been walking for days (well actually minutes 🙂 and we were dripping in sweat. Everything was beginning to look alike… like a lot of green, a lot of brown and a lot of heat emanating from my body. We are trekking through the jungle with our National Geographic Explorer group members (well no, actually just wannabes) as they try to block us from any sighting of anything… even if it was a dumb bird – no disrespect to birders… but family C is not a birding family. So we get to our oasis (some open air cabins in the middle of nowheresville) and we learn that we will be leaving again in an hour for our outpost for the night.
WHAT??? Whining like a baby, I have a subtle melt down as I don’t want to pack up for a night’s venture deep in the jungle to see some kind of huge like pig thing, local to the area.
But as a true trooper, I suck it up and head out with our family and the National Geographic explorers to find this place where we will bunker down and sleep. Well it is getting dark and darker and even darker and we are not there yet.
Our guide stops us and asks if we want to take a bathroom break behind a tree a few steps away.
Well.. no .. not really… I will wait for a better opportunity. However that never comes.
Before I know it, we have crossed some river and we are at the tree house… a tall.. very tall… set of stairs leading up to a wooden floor high above the jungle. At this point, the guide informs me that we will be there until 6am the next morning and once we go up, we can not go down…
It is 6 pm and you expect me to stay up there for 12 hours with the bladder of a somewhat older woman?
So I scramble and negotiate and this guide is refusing to let me go to the bathroom as I had my chance. Am I back in Grade 3? Much to his amazement, I refused to listen and wandered off to go before I hiked those stairs.
We get to the top and it turns out that the other keeners from our group are already happily set up for the night leaving the family of 5 a spot for 2 tiny children… which we have only one of them. We try to fix our mosquito nets which fall on our heads while we are told we have a few moments to eat and talk before it will be quiet for the rest of the night.
12 hours of quiet, lying on a wooden plank and the 5 of us on top of each other, waiting for a pig like animal to appear!!!!
Who signed us up for this one?
Well, of course, Noah (laid back.. like really laid back) is happily announcing that the meal is actually really good as we look on with wonder how he is managing to haul it back while we are severely stressed and thinking about the lack of bathroom opportunities high above the jungle.
Then we are told no noise and within minutes, this pig like animal appears and we see it. So now it is like 7pm and we have seen the animal so what do we do for the rest of the 11 hours? Well if you are Noah and you have your phone, it will surely now go off telling everyone that Siri is not available!!! After a major bout of laughing on the part of the C family, we are probably going to be voted off first and I am so willing to abide by that. In the meantime we try to find a place to put Abby so we will get at least 5 minutes of sleep. This means politely shoving her onto Jade and Noah’s mattress (loosely used term) much to their protests. Only God knows how we slept that night or tried to as the time literally felt like it stopped.I know that I personally spent the night planning all future trips to take place far away from South America in more civilized areas like Southeast Asia.
At 6am we wake up to find out that Noah has lost his iPhone somewhere. Looking around and fearing the worst, I say to him that it might have fallen through the cracks and be who knows where in the jungle. Again, Noah, laid back, says that that is okay he will find it. WHAT? Thank goodness, after a few moments of heart pounding stress (I am thinking of all the precious photos) it is discovered under the mattress.
We were the first ones out of there and gladly oh so gladly walked back to the open air cabins that now looked like the Hyatt to us.
This, I swear, is my LAST JUNGLE EVER!