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My own hut in the Amazon
So there I was.  In the jungle.  My bags found their way to the room I would be staying in for the first week, in one of the cabins that I would share with the group of American's that were there for the week.  There was a hammock on the front porch, which was wonderful, if frequently occupied. 

My room had a bed and mosquito netting, along with a rustic table.  On my bed there was no pillow, sheet, or blanket.  I ended up having to wad my jacket up for a pillow (though after the Americans left, I grabbed on of theirs) and cover myself with some of my shirts. Being that it was quite warm, I wasn't in desperate need of a blanket, but it did get a bit chilly once it got around to 1 am.

I was quite surprised with the jungle, I don't know, I guess I expected something a little more Tarzan.  Of course, I wasn't deep deep into the jungle, it was only a little way from the main road, and not to far from the largest city in the Amazon. 

One thing that struck me was that walking through the jungle was kind of like walking through the forest in Oregon, it had that same damp earth smell.  As a result, I felt much more at home here than I did up in
Cusco.  Of course, the forest wasn't exactly the same, there were different types of plants, and much more wildlife.  And vicious mosquitoes. 

At the main building where we got the food, I always was encountering some little creatures.  There was a cat and a dog (I was amazed the cat was still alive and hadn't become someone's food).  There were also
several macaws, who would shout out "Hola" and laugh.  But the best part is watching them climb up the chairs with their beaks, and they would sit there and visit with you as you ate your meal.  Sometimes they would even walk down the middle of the table, dipping in to whatever food or water they found.

They also had some pet monkeys there, they kept in a little cage, which was kind of sad to me.  One time, Juanita, the cook, was walking by, and there on her shoulder was hanging this little monkey that was
probably about four or five inches big, the smallest monkey in the jungle.  It stared at me with its little round eyes as I tried to pet it (unsuccessfully).

I did see a snake one day as I was walking down one of the paths, probably about 3 to 4 feet long, but it slithered away from me pretty quickly, and I was happy it was the only one I saw there.

The butterflies were beautiful.  My favorite had red on the lower part of the wing, and then the upper part of the wing was transparent, and made me think of fairies.  The dragonflies were incredible too, and I
saw one that was a good 6 inches!  I also enjoyed the fireflies, winking on and off.

My favorite was one day when I was sitting in my hut (because in the second half of my time there I moved into a hut deeper in the jungle, alone, only with nature), I heard a noise, and turned around and looked
out my door.  There, on the tree right at the edge of my porch, hung a little creature, who quickly scampered away at my gaze.  I quickly went outside, and looked up into the trees, and there was a huge family of them, and they made little chirping noises.  I thought they looked like a cross between a squirrel and a monkey, and, as it turned out, they were
monkeys.  A little family that roamed around the place.

I never did see a sloth though :(

Most of my time was spent swinging in the hammock, staring off into the forest, or reading, or thinking.  Lots of reading and thinking.  It was quite humid, though not as hot as I expected, though who knows, maybe I just adapted to it.  The humidity was the worst, my clothes were always slightly damp, my backpack became covered with mildew, and all my clothes stank.  Anything cardboard I had became floppy, and my books got wavy from the dampness.

And, thanks to the humidity, and the frequent rain, the mosquitoes were everywhere.  I had brought lots of long sleeved clothing, to protect myself.  Uh huh, like the mosquitoes really cared about that.  I was
bit everywhere, EVERYWHERE, except my head.  I had bites on my feet, on my belly, back, and even my butt. I constantly itched.  Several people said, oh, the mosquitoes here aren't that bad.  I haven't been
bitten at all.  Well, I guess I'm just extraspecial.  I was taking B vitamins, and wasn't eating any sugar, not even fruit.  I was even drinking garlic plant water!  I think that I was their favorite person of
all there. 

I tell you, the two things I am the happiest about getting away from Peru are the men and the mosquitoes. And, I put them in the same category, cause there isn't too much difference between the two.

-Jillian
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Fellow visitors. On the left, the shaman's apprentice from San Francisco, on the right, a guest from Switzerland
 





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