Yesterday and today were travel days: flight to Cusco, night in Lima, flight to Iquitos deep in the Amazon jungle. It was goodbye to the grey of the Pacific and the brown of Peru’s coastal strip, the steep hills scribbled with zigzag roads joining the little settlements.
Then came the white of the Andes, peaks sticking up through the clouds remarkably high and pointy, glaciers thick between them. Finally, there was the green of the jungle, a dense and unbroken mat with only the river system winding through it in a complicated tangle of bends and ox-bow lakes, muddy brown or silver, depending on the light shafting through the piled-up clouds.
Iquitos is a city of half a million people, and, amazingly, it’s an Atlantic port, but all I saw was a shanty town of tin roofs and thatch, palms and trees, tuk-tuks and wandering kids. We drove for an hour and a half and fetched up in the dark at Nauta, where we were efficiently loaded onto the Delfin II, our home for the next five days.
It’s a 16-suite river boat, all varnished wood, airy space, solicitous white-uniformed staff and thoughtful touches; and if the dinner tonight is any indication, there’s a lot to look forward to even without all the wildlife that we’ll be up early tomorrow to kayak amongst.