Leaving Sandoval Lake was hard.
For all it’s flair of remoteness, one felt connected to mother nature where the animals and insects have the rule of the land. For a better part. We came, we got to experience it and now, it was time for us to leave.
There was silence as we paddled back to and up the canal. By now, we were on auto-pilot spotting other species we share the planet with. Landing the canoe, on went our day packs for the return walk to Madre de Rios and our long boat pick up.
Alex did stop twice, once at the Tarantula hole for another tickle tease – still no change in the decision wanting to hold one, yeah, nah!
The second stop was at a trunk of a tree that was clean from any lichen, stranglers or just lazy hanger on’s. No termites neither.
Alex picked up a stick and before he tapped the trunk, he identified it as ‘the Justice Tree’ in the bush. In the good old days (even still remote villages today), naughty individuals were stripped naked and tied to the thing as their punishment.
Then he struck the tree with three or four heavy whacks.
They appeared in their 1,000’s up and down the trunk. Fire Ants that live in it’s hollow trunk, co-existing. There venom sting is up there with bee’s and wasps so therefore, can you imagine the pain inflicted to someone tied to the tree. And when they are disturbed, there natural defense is to attack.
It was one of the last ‘wikipedia’ facts of the jungle Alex imparted.
Back at the office in Puerto Maldonado, we said our farewells as our jungle safari came to an end. Or so we had thought. We will get to the free loaders mentioned in an earlier post (blog post – Sandoval Lake, Puerto Maldonado – The Jungle Part 5, Happy Birthday Claire – Jungle Walk) soon.
We can thoroughly recommend anyone wanting an experience in the jungle to use Tambopata Giant Otter Expeditions. And most definitely, ask for Alex – he was just fantastic. When not escorting folk as a guide, he doubles as a mechanic.
We took a tuk tuk back to our airbnb hosts. Our plans were to get clean and then just chill however, Cesar invited us to attend a meeting rally his party were having for the upcoming elections.
Why not we thought? Except the only clean pants I had were me swimming togs. Big audacious green and white flowery ones.
By 5pm, we were being driven in his car, Salvit and another passenger too, with banners hanging from the car windows, in a procession that included other cars, tuk tuks and three wheelers, to a suburb on the outskirts of Puerto Maldonado. Loud speaker music and tooting of horns, down a dirt road we pulled up, to hundreds of local villages who had come to hear electioneering speakers sell the ‘why’ they should vote for them. And in amongst it, two white faces, one in his swimming togs.
We had no idea what the hell was being spoken. Just when everyone started yelling and cheering waving the banners, did we too join in an cheer ourselves!
It was hilarious. After it ended and we got back to close to where we were staying, we baled and they carried on. Well into the night.
A far cry from the remoteness paradigm we had exited from, only ten or so hours before.
The old concrete jungle eh?
Where a different kind of animal lives.