the airport is as minimal as you can imagine. touching down felt a little like a scene from a movie or national geographic. from the sky Madre de Dios is flat and densely forested. jungled? ha. i kept seeing glints through the trees and realized there was water under all that leafy green. the rivers are bright orange and finger together to form the Madre de Dios. closer to Puerto Maldonado the clearcut logging looks grossly out of place.
well, i was hoping for a warmer climate but was not prepared for this. 88·F when i walked off the plane. and humid. so basically like DC. “motorkar” is a kart attached to a motorcycle. that was my transport into town. there are not really any cars here, only motorcycles. it took me three rides to find the place i get my pass into the Tambopata National Reserve. my hostel is minimal too. 2 beds in a room all to myself, cept one has bugs. i think when i return here after the jungle i will treat myself to a nice hotel. it will be my last couple nights in South America.
so, what am i doing here?
i have volunteered to work at a research center in the jungle. i hear that my work might include repairing buildings, harvesting brazil nuts, trail maintenance, building a solar oven, and caring for an orphaned capibara. i work 3 hours a day then have free range of the trails in the jungle and the hamocks. a brochure i have says of the region “the wealth of its biodiversity is immeasurable.” 632 bird species (yay!), 1200 butterfly species, 169 mammal species, 205 fish species, 103 amphibian species, and 67 reptile species. i am pretty psyched. i have three long days in Puerto Maldonado waiting for my canoe up the river.
and it just began to rain.