As I mentioned before, during the week I live at Explorama Lodge and in Iquitos on the weekends. While I do enjoy my weekends in the city, I love living at the Lodge. It is a magical place to be. The staff there have become like family. Especially my sweet little baby, Pirata! He was born at Explornapo in January and moved to the Lodge in March. His name means pirate, one of the guides named him that because of the patch over his eye. We quickly bonded and have been inseparable ever since. He comes to the library with me and everywhere else. He makes feel terrible every time I leave for the city, crying as they hold him back from the boat, sometimes swimming after me or running along the bank until I am gone! He has a little bed in my room, and keeps me protected at night, (although I think he was supposed to be a guard dog for the whole lodge, not just me!). He is probably the most spoiled dog in the entire Amazon!
|(Pirata is the one in the corner with the spot on his head)|
|When I Arrived at the Lodge in April|
|Pirata's First Canoe Ride|
|Early Morning Birding with my Global Explorers Group|
The Lodge is home to another dog, Tello. He used to be quite independent although now that he has been recently neutered, he also stays by my side and sleeps in my room!
|Getting Ready for Bed|
We also have macaws and parrots that like to swoop into the kitchen while we wash dishes to eat scraps.
|A Parrot Enjoying a Hard Boiled Egg|
The staff at the Lodge is wonderful. They joke that I am the princess of the Amazon, but that is how they treat me. The cook knows that I don’t like fish, so he always makes me something else when fish is on the menu (which is a lot!). They are also a lot of fun to be around. They take me with them when they go to Palmeras, (the community across the river) to play soccer in the afternoons and even to go dancing sometimes.
|Some of the Guys|
It’s been wonderful to get to know the people from the community too, especially since I spend so much time with their children! I also have Dr. Linnea Smith’s clinic to take care of me, and Dr. Linnea herself when she is in country.
Another perk of living at the Lodge is all of the people I get to meet from around the world. In April I got to go out and study dolphins with a US couple that has been coming here for years to study pink river dolphins. I am going to hopefully work with a herpetologist from the Detroit Zoo in October on a project with students in a community on the Napo River, recording frog data. We have had a volunteer from England working at the library for the past two months and I just gave a tour of our library to a woman who works at a library at the University of Melbourne.
I still have moments nearly every day where I pause in disbelief that I actually live here. It happens when I pass the beautiful scarlet macaws on my way to breakfast each day, or listening to frogs at night after it rains, spotting a boa in the roof of the dining room, seeing a blue morpho butterfly fly past, watching a troop of monkeys eat bananas, or catching a glimpse of the stars at night. It happens every day on my commute to work, whether on foot or by boat, when it dawns on me that this is my life, on the Amazon.