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Field Notes Close to home or in a far away jungle, there is always something marvelous to see.

R&R; Villa Jennifer in Tingo Maria

PERU | Friday, 30 April 2010 | Views [956]

Chestnut-eared aracari, Villa Jennifer, Tingo Maria

Chestnut-eared aracari, Villa Jennifer, Tingo Maria

School kids stopped to stare as we crossed the plaza after breakfast on Tuesday, the first time that has happened since we were in Borneo.  This is a sure sign we are on the road less traveled.  You don’t see many blue-eyed gringos in this part of Peru.

We splurged today and paid for all three places in the back of our collectivo to Tingo Maria.  The extra six bucks was a small price to pay for the added comfort on the 2 ½-hour ride up into the cloud forest and down to the jungle.  Our driver was good even if he couldn’t always see through the fogged up windshield as the wipers struggled to keep up with the rain.  Once in town we hired a mototaxi, a three-wheeled motorbike taxi, to take us to Villa Jennifer, our R&R center for the next few days.

The villa is a former pig farm on ten hectares at the edge of the jungle.  The rustic resort has several cozy rooms, two pools, and a pretty good restaurant.  Owners Alan from Denmark and his Peruvian wife Gisela are very helpful.  Only one other couple is here so we had our choice of rooms.  We passed on a double room with four beds and a giant bathroom in favor of a smaller, though comfortable, room with a private covered rooftop patio from where we can watch the birds and monkeys.  Or we can wander around the menagerie.  There are caimans, monkeys, parrots, macaws and even a pair of ocelots, all given to Alan to care for.

The area between here and Pucallpa is infamous for its cocaine trade.  Three Vietnam-vintage Huey helicopters ferry government troops overhead on routine anti-drug patrols.  The rotor sounds and the jungle make this place feel all too familiar.  Flashbacks, anyone?

Normally four days of lounging around would be a bore but we are finding it regenerative.  We have seen about 80 different species of birds, 20 of them new for us, and have taken some pretty amazing photos.  We spend a lot of time snoozing and reading and don’t feel the least bit guilty.

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