My Amazonian Adventure (Part 2)

At 2.47pm on Tuesday the klaxon blew and we pulled out of the harbour, that meant we had been on an anchored ship for over 26 hours! We were told we would leave on Monday at 3pm and to be on the ship by 12 to find a spot for our hammock so we did. As 3pm drew closer the ship buzzed with rumours of a late departure and slowly it got later and later until we were told we would leave at 10am the next day…which became 2.47 but as we pulled away I was relieved that we were getting closer to our real jungle adventure.

They serve breakfast and dinner on board, you line up with your bowl and spoon, it felt like Oliver Twist. I was starving by dinner time and was waiting for the bell to sound, as soon as it went off I rushed downstairs with mine and Lenas bowl, and hurried back. I handed Lena hers, tried to sit on my hammock, obviously in a way that you shouldn’t and fell off backwards, my piece of chicken and potato went flying past my ear and I landed with the bowl still in my hands with some rice left…I was devastated! I didnt even care that I fell because I was just looking at the chicken on the floor beside me. Thankfully Lena eats EVERYTHING so she was happy to eat my chicken and gave me hers (this is one of the reasons I love travelling with her).

The boat was taking us to Iquitos, the only city In the world that is not accessible by road, it was a city deep In the Amazon and although we were told our journey would take 2 days and one night, we were prepared by stories of friends that told us their journey ended up taking 5 days. We didn’t mind, we learnt to love the boat, to spend our days playing cards, chilling in our hammocks and watching the scenery as we floated through the Amazon.

There were several stops along the way, you were never told how long they would be but the ferry would collect cargo, often in the form of animals, or just more passengers. The second morning I woke up and didn’t feel too great, I told Lena I felt sick and shortly after began puking. It was nothing to worry about, this happened regularly to me in Peru, the food often didn’t agree with me. It carried on more then usual, a lovely couple who were both doctors came to see me at my hammock, they were from Germany. They gave me some medicine to make it stop and warned me that I should stay in my hammock as it causes dizziness… I got dizzy, the swinging of the hammock made it worse so I stumbled to the bench which was outside at the front of the boat and thought the breeze would do me good so I lay on it.

We had been stood still all morning, since about 6am at a village where they had been loading cargo. At around 10 Lena said she wanted to explore a bit and to get me something to make me feel better. I could see all these watermelons from the boat, literally thousands and I told her I was craving a slice. She went with Manuel, one of the Swiss guys, as she was walking off she said “Make sure the boat doesn’t leave without me” And I replied “If it leaves I will wave at you from my hammock.”

It was meant to be a joke but about 15 minutes after they got off I realised we were moving! “OH NO!!” I shouted to the other Swiss guy Peter and ran off to the captain to make him stop. He didn’t really care, he just said “too bad, they will have to get a car to drive them there.” I explained Lena had left her money on-board and they might be stranded but he just carried on driving very nonchalantly and it was really annoying me so that was the first time I got angry in Spanish. I told him we waited on the ship for 26 hours for him to leave and now he won’t even wait for 10 more minutes for them, we realised that the Daniel the ex-war veteran who was in his 60’s was also gone and so was the Brazilian, Eduardo! This did not sway the captains decision, I felt better that Eduardo was with them, he was this very cool and capable character. He had travelled the world and he was helping us with everything, he tied our hammocks on, told us about the various things we passed, showed me where the Amazon river really begins and how you can tell by the two colours in the water changing. He had all these amazing stories and just spouted knowledge and everyone on the boat knew him. Anyways I had to leave the captain to throw up and then I went back to my hammock, we were long gone by then. I was thinking about how I would carry all their bags and me and Peter decided they would probably have gone by car and will in fact be waiting for us there as its faster.

I heard a speedboat and some people went over to look at it, I just stayed in my hammock…they were all talking I was not really paying attention, just thought it was bringing more passengers but then Eduardo came up the stairs! I jumped out of my hammock and asked him where Lena was and if he even saw them. He said no he didn’t even know they were there!! Shortly afterwards they came up the stairs, he was joking! They all got the speedboat and we were reunited. “sorry I let the boat go, he wouldn’t listen to me” I said, “sorry I ate your watermelon” Lena replied. So I guess we were even…like I said Lena eats everything hahaha. That night we pulled into the harbour in Iquitos! We had made it!

We waited to get off but they wouldn’t let our boat dock, all these police boats were around and then we were told the small water taxi in front of us (which me and Lena take on our next trip to monkey island) had a murder on it. Apparently they robbed people and killed a woman and so we had to wait. Not the nicest welcome but I just thought logically that they probably wouldn’t rob trampy looking backpackers like us and they must have known those people had more to give then we did. I look forward to telling you about Iquitos and the monkey island, tune in for the funniest video of me getting attacked by a monkey, best places to go in Iquitos and how we lived with a family in the heart of the Amazon!

Ciao for now x

Guatape, A Colourful Paradise

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Colombia was the first trip that I did without any research or preparation but I had a plan. I just jotted down recommendations from people and facebook pictures of places I thought looked nice. I felt very unprepared, I didn’t even have a guide book, usually on the way to somewhere I would read about it but this time I was going in blind. It was actually a very exciting way to travel, just knowing that I would probably like the place but having no idea whether it was historical, cultural, touristy, dangerous, good for night-life or good for hiking.

On the way to Guatape I knew it had a massive rock that you can climb and that it looked beautiful and was surrounded by water. I knew I wanted to climb the rock and try and find a boat to take me for a little cruise around and everything else would be a surprise. The bus drops you to the bottom of a hill on which stands the gigantic rock, scattered around are the most vibrant Motos (tuk-tuk/Rickshaws) I have ever seen and trust me, India has some colourful ones so they were pretty epic. I looked at the rock standing over 200m high and thought it will be exhausting climbing those 649 steps to the top so the moto taxi till the bottom of the rock would be a good idea to conserve my energy. It ended up being slightly faster then walking as at some points it felt like it was going to start going backwards but we got there in the end.

The way the rock was formed was incredible, it had a crack through the middle in which they had built stairs. You could see it from miles away, it stood higher then any of the mountains around and the landscape was stunning. The walk up the rock took about 20 minutes, I stopped every few minutes to catch my breath and admire the incredible views. There were so many tiny islands around us, I had never seen anything like it, it was gorgeous and the higher you climbed the better the views, the islands continued for as far as I could see and nestled in the centre of the islands were some very colourful buildingst. When I got to the top of the rock I was exhausted, they had built a viewing deck on top of a turret with a further 100 stairs or so. I walked around the top to admire the different views on every side and then proceeded to climb the final 100. It was gorgeous up there, I could have literally stood there for hours. There was a gift shop and restaurant up there and we sat and had some ice-cream before climbing back down.

The moto driver was still there, he asked us if we wanted to go to the town and pointed to the colourful buildings I had seen earlier. The drive there was bumpy but beautiful, the picturesque landscape continued and as we got closer the town came into view and it was so bright and colourful. As we stepped out I couldn’t stop taking pictures, the buildings were all different colours and the walls were adorned with paintings and colourful wood panels. The motos did not stand out in that town, they just blended in. They even painted the ceilings of their motos! We wandered around the quaint streets and then headed for the waterfront to find somewhere to eat. We had a great meal with a wonderful view and then I began the hunt for someone to take us on a boat ride. After bargaining for ages we found a guy to take us on his speedboat for half an hour, it was pricey and if you have more time I would recommend waiting for the big ferry tours. It was a beautiful ride and even from miles away you could see the huge rock. I could have spent longer in Guatape, it was so colourful and cute and it just made me happy! From the boat you could see the islands had huge mansions on them and our driver showed us some cottages that you could rent for holidays, I would love to stay there for a few days. There were many water-sports on offer and it was just serene and a wonderful place to unwind. I hope one day I get to go back to Guatape 🙂

Blue Safari, Zanzibar

One of the coolest things I’ve ever done was to go on the Blue Safari when I was in Zanzibar. We drove for an hour or so to get to the place where the boat leaves from. When we got there we were greeted  by rocks crawling with these snake/lizard things there were  100’s of them living in these rocks along with other creatures:

Because it was low tide we had to walk through the shallow water for ages to get to our boat and on the way I came across a sea urchin in a rock pool:

The boat takes you to a sand bank in the middle of the sea which is a natural island that exists only for a few hours while the current causes the sand to pile up. We went snorkeling there and it was just the most amazing thing. I remember just going off on my own for like an hour and exploring this whole world that we couldn’t see. IT WAS AMAZING! The colours of the fish and coral, I wish I had an underwater camera but those scenes are still clear in my mind. The deeper I went the more amazing it was, I swam through these rocks about 10m below the surface and there were thousands of these purple, blue and yellow fish. Then I found this huge open shell and i remembered the underwater level on Mario lol so i poked it with a piece of dead coral and it snapped shut just like in the game (you have to get coins out from them in the game) It was really cool!

Then we made our way to an island where we would have lunch, all fresh fruit from the island and seafood that I had just been swimming with. On the way we saw whales and dolphins, it was just so beautiful there were sooo many altogether and I wanted to jump in with them but the tour guide said I wasn’t allowed 😦 So we got to the island and again we had to walk pretty far because of the low tide.

I felt like I was in a dream because it was so serene and I could hear this amazing music, when I got closer I saw there was a band playing music to welcome us all to the island. My parents are east African and I went there with my whole family for a wedding so we knew a lot of the Swahili songs so we started singing and dancing with them and trying to shake our booties like them but …we couldn’t haha.

After lunch we relaxed on the beach, you could see this magnificent natural structure;

it was just an amazing day and all my family were there like 30 of us no exaggeration so it was soo much fun,  felt like a day in paradise 🙂

If you ever go to Zanzibar make sure you do the Blue Safari!

Kisses, Z x