September 28, 2007


I wanted to take a brief pause in the Peru stuff to post some random Fridayness and Knitting...

So my fav guilty pleasure hands down is Scott Baio is 45 and Single (or SB45S as it is referred to in emails between my friends). It’s awesome. SB is awesome. I’m a bit too young to have ever had a crush on him but watching the trainwreck that is his life and hearing about how he was so that guy (you know the guy. The one who has made out with not only you but all of your roommates and friends as well) is just fantastically amusing.

But not nearly as amusing as this:

Scott Baio is 45 and a Knitter

I found that on this site – apparently there was a knitting swag booth at the Emmy’s for celebs. So jealous that they get knitting swag… If only there was more crosspollination between knitting and bad reality TV. Perhaps the contestants on ANTM could have to model things that they knit themselves and Tyra could scream at them about gauge. “You don’t know wool! You don’t know where alpaca comes from!” Btw how come noone told me of the awesomeness that is watching skinny, pretty, bitcy girls freak out at each other under the tutelage of cross dressers? It should not have taken me until cycle 9 to discover this show.


I also have recently discovered this site thanks to Andi:

Knit Map

It has maps to yarn stores! Which will come in very handy since we have quite a few quick little weekend trips planned for this fall. Actually we’re going out of town 4 out of the next 6 weekends. Hopefully I can squeeze in a little yarn store tourism during our wanderings. At the very least I’ll have lots of good car knitting time!

And finally – I just wanted to say thank you so much for all of the comments on our trip. I saw Michelle and Annie at Birds of a Feather last night and they assured me that you guys do like hearing about Peru. There’s been quite a bit of talk lately around the blogs and on Ravelry about what people like to see in a knit blog and it seems the #1 thing is to stick to topic and just post about knitting. I’m SO not good at that. And I know that this blog has wandered waaay off topic lately and I was getting worried that you guys would get bored of me. It’s really, really nice to know that you do like the travel posts (especially since they take a looong time to put together) and that I’m not completely boring you!

And while I’m posting all of this Peru stuff I going to try to actually finish some of the many things I have started. Which means that at the end of all of this travel business there will (hopefully) be lots and lots of new finished objects to show.

Have a wonderful weekend!!!

September 27, 2007

Amazon Jungle

Ok first off there are tons more photographs with descriptions and such here on my flickr site – in case anyone really wants to go through our entire Amazon travel log. Here are the highlights, though.

During our stay in the Amazon our time was basically spent like this: Hike out at sunrise (like 5am) each morning, back to the lodge for lunch, nap in the afternoon, then hike out again at dusk. Noone wants to be out in the jungle during the heat of the day. Not even the birds or animals – they all hunker down when it gets that hot out.

So one morning we hiked to a lake and canoed across it:
Matt in a canoe
Jeanne in a canoe
Then hiked several miles further to another, much larger lake:
View from the Oxbow Lake
water plants
Unfortunately we didn’t see any of the resident Giant River Otters, but the bird watching was spectacular:
Birds and nests
brown birds
hawk pearched on a branch

And we got to go fishing….
Matt fishing for Piranha

Using raw meat as bait…
fishing for piranha

for piranhas!
Reuben (our guide) made the fish bite a leaf so we could see its teeth before we threw it back. I so did not want to fall in after seeing them!

Oh I should probably mention at this point… I broke my nose the fist day in the Amazon. I was getting out of the canoe and I didn’t see this rail on the side of the dock and I slammed into it face first. It sucked a lot. But considering we were at the very beginning of our travels there was nothing really to do but ignore it and move on. There had to be at least one disaster on a trip that long, right?
Not Happy.
This was taken about a half hour after the accident. I’m so unhappy in this picture it’s not even funny. I got over it after a nap and some ibuprofen, though.

We also saw and learned about many different types of trees and plants:
Naked Tree
Naked tree – It’s called this because once a year it sheds its bark to keep vines and moss and stuff from growing on it.

Brazil nut tree
Brazil Nut Tree – Although because they grow throughout the Amazon and not just in Brazil, really they should be called Amazon nuts. It takes a tree 20 years to produce its first fruit and they can live to be hundreds of years old.

Walking Palm
Walking Palm - The roots grow in an a-frame so that they can move the trunk around to find light.

Us with the Strangle Fig
Us with a Strangle Fig – which is a tree that grows around an existing tree, eventually strangling and killing the host leaving a hollow center:

Inside the Strangle Fig
Inside the Strangle Fig - this one is very, very old.

And even saw some monkeys!
There is a little lemur in the very center of this picture. We saw an entire family jump and run through the jungle canopy but they are FAST so photographing them was pretty tough.

We went on a night hike (scorpion spider!) to the river’s edge where we searched for Cayman with flashlights from the canoe. Their eyes glow red if you hit them right:

We climbed this 100 foot “canopy tower” at dawn to bird watch up close:
Canopy Tower and Macaws
I love this photograph – two macaws flew by and I managed to catch them in the shot!

Canopy Tower
Looking down

And to watch the sun rise over the hazy, hazy jungle:
Brazil nut trees

We spent quite a bit of time in various types of bird blinds:

Bird Blind
Looking out at a clay lick – Birds go there to eat the clay for its salt content. Noone really knows for sure exactly why but the theory is that they need the salt to help digest any rancid fruit or nuts that they ate.

Matt Birdwatching
Matt in a natural blind by the rivers edge wondering why I’m taking his picture

Some more Macaws seen from a blind

Sadly we didn’t see any of the snakes that live in the jungle… we did get to see some cool lizards, though:
And tree frogs that liked to hang out in the women’s’ bathroom:
Tree frog
One night, after seeing the tree frogs, I was already in bed and Matt was coming back from the bathroom and we hear something jump. So he’s all “Oh my gosh, Jeanne, there’s a frog in our room!” So I shine the flashlight on the spot assuming that Matt had seen a frog…and…It’s so NOT a frog. It’s a giant bug. Big enough to make the same loud noise landing as a frog does. So Matt shooed it back into the jungle and I re-checked that the mosquito net was secure…The night time jungle noises were actually really cool, though. Loud but soothing.

The last evening we were there we went across the river to visit this man’s Plantation:
The farmer
The farmer knocking down a coconut so we could try its milk.

I absolutely loved this part – the gardener in me was very excited to see and learn about all of the different fruits that he grows:
Banana Trees
Banana trees - the vine in the foreground is what he uses for mulch!
Starfruit Plant
Matt checking out the spiky
Some sortof crazy spiky tree

And even taste a few!
Me with the almost chocolate
I don’t remember what this is called but it is related to the fruit that chocolate comes from. It was delicious – sweet and sour at the same time. Yum!

All in all our time in the Amazon was amazing, thought provoking, and truly wonderful.

Next up – Cusco. Which if you are here for the Knitting is where things get really interesting.

September 25, 2007

From Lima to the Amazon

Our travels from Lima into the jungle took pretty much all day....First up was the flight from Lima to Cusco, and then from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado. The airport in Cusco is crazy – because it is in a deep valley the plane has to ascend very, very quickly to clear the mountains surrounding the city. Freaky! From the plane we got our first glimpse of the snow mountains of the Andes:
Andean Mountains

And then literally watched the landscape change from the impossibly high Andes to the lowland jungle of the Amazon Basin:
Tambopata River
Crazy how quickly and dramatically it happened.

Anyways from the airport we went to the expedition company’s headquarters to ditch most of our stuff, and meet up with our group. This would be one of the parts of our trip that we couldn’t do without being in a group… and it was fine. Our group consisted of us, a couple from the Netherlands (Hi Lydia and Erik!), a girl from France, and 3 guides. Not too bad a ratio!

Then, finally, we headed out into the jungle via a long, dirt road, and a teeny little van:
About 45 min into the jungle we stopped in Infierno – which is the local Ese'eja Native Community that ownes and operates the lodge – to transfer into a dugout canoe for the remainder of the trip up the Tambopata River.
Dug out canoe
(just a side note here – the motor for the canoe only could go forward because it could also be used as a chainsaw to chop wood. Everything in Peru seemed to be as functional as possible)

On the boat we ate lunch – prepared for us by the community. They try to keep things as biodegradable as they can because the lodge is so remote trash collection isn’t really an option. So the rice dish was wrapped up in a leaf for transport!
Jeanne eating out of a leaf
Me eating out of a leaf

Matt eating out of a leaf
Matt eating out of a leaf

Along the way we saw many people living and working with the river:
Tambopata River
Kids playing on one of the many beaches

Boats that are part of the gold industry – they sift gold dust (not even nuggets) out of the water

And even some wildlife:
Turtles sunning themselves (just like they do at home!)

Macaw's along the Tambopata
Macaws (I added notes on the flickr site so you can see exactly where they are)

It was a long journey (3 hours on the boat!) but a fun journey:
Tambopata River, Peru
Matt and Jeanne on the Tambopata

Finally we reached the lodge – of course we had to hike 15 min. through the jungle to get there…

I was expecting rugged. I mean no hot water? No electricity? Sleeping under mosquito nets? I thought it would essentially be camping. I was not expecting this:

Refugio Amazonas
Refugio Amazonas
More pics of the lodge on here.

Our room was very nice:
Refugio Amazonas
See that mosquito net? Yeah that’s the only protection we had against the scorpion spiders.

In fact, Matt claims that this lodge is nicer than any hotel he’s ever stayed at. And it was completely open to the elements and didn’t have electricity or hot water. Not to mention air conditioning or I dunno… exterior walls:

Refugio Amazonas
Matt chillin' in the hammock in our room. Notice there is no wall/screen/window between us and the jungle. At night it literally sounded like we were inside one of those "jungle noise" sound machines.

There were all of these really cool details (sorry. We’re architects. This is what we look at while we’re on vaca) like how they dealt with lighting. There were niches that held gas lanterns:
Refugio Amazonas
They opened up to both the hallway and to the individual rooms. That way at night someone could come around and both light and extinguish them without entering any of the guests rooms. The whole place was really beautiful at night:
Refugio Amazonas

Next up? Some of the many cool things we saw during our stay here.
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