Peru 2005 Day Six: Peruvian Amazon

by Kara on July 27, 2005

I slept a little more soundly Tuesday night, but had to brave the cockroaches in the bathroom at 4 a.m.

Don't worry, he's harmless. Really!

Don't worry, he's harmless. Really!

We headed back up the river to Puerto Maldonado for our flight to Cusco, and this time our eagle-eyed boat captain spotted several white caimans sunning themselves on the rocks. On the third try, we managed to get right up next to one for a close look. He was on my side of the boat, and had I wanted to, I could have reached out to touch him. I refrained. Stephen got some great close-up shots, though.

While we waited at the Inkaterra office for people to pay their bills and use the bathroom, we saw a bunch of kids practicing for the Peruvian Independence Day parade the next day.

These girls are practicing for the next day's Peruvian independence celebration parade.

These girls are practicing for the next day's Peruvian independence celebration parade.

After our arrival at the airport, we soon discovered the horrors of domestic air travel in Peru. The only two airline choices are TANS or LAN, and they both have a reputation for canceling and overbooking flights with wild abandon. Our 11:30 a.m. flight on TANS was delayed because it was “windy in Cusco”, yet LAN flights to Cusco took off and arrived with no problems. I finally asked the guy at the counter why they lied when it was so obvious, but he just laughed (and did not deny lying). Finally, we got on the plane at around 3:30 p.m. and discovered the real reason for the delay. The landing gear wouldn’t come up after the plane took off. They thought they had fixed it, but when they realized it still wasn’t working, we turned around and landed back in Puerto Maldonado. Argh! After waiting and waiting to hear what they would do, they decided to send the people that wanted to go to Lima out that night, and send those of us going to Cusco out early the next morning.

After retrieving our luggage, we went to the counter to figure out where we could go. Suddenly, Cecilia M. and Erika S. from Inkaterra appeared. They had been monitoring the flight situation the whole day, kept in touch with Explorandes about the schedule changes, and had a hotel for us to stay at in Puerto Maldonado. Explorandes even sent a fax to the hotel with our revised schedule – luckily, we had only missed one city tour, which was moved to our free day in Cusco.

Check out more of Stephen’s pictures of Peru.

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