Arriving in Puerto Maldonado

I made it to Puerto Maldonado today! After a tasty breakfast at Sandi´s I headed to the airport, caught my flight very easily and headed to Puerto Maldonado.

Saw this woman at the Lima Airport. She and her male companion were obviously talking trash about me. Awesome.

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The airplane stops in Cusco for 35 minutes and then heads to PM. Usually a good proportion of the travellers on the flight get off in Cusco, leaving just a few people to continue on to PM. We were stopped in Cusco for an inordinate amount of time, and I deduced that somehow someone hadn´t gotten off when they were supposed to. It turns out, there was a boyfriend-and-girlfriend couple (European of some kind), and he had been booked through to PM and they had only booked her through to Cusco. I´m unsure if they just let her ride or they fixed it administratively. But it was very strange. (I looked – they were going to Posadas Amazonas, so they clearly had some package deal and LAN screwed up the tickets).

View from the airplane:

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So I´m staying at our guide friend Richard´s house here in PM. It´s really quite a nice place. It´s a standard South American house area, with no real doors (except a solid wall of metal and wood around the perimiter), with a small courtyard/garden area in the middle and a shared bathroom. Richard has given me the nicest room – as he calls it, his ´getaway´- which is a room with a bed, couch, tv, mini-fridge, etc and a locking door. I am as safe as possible here (ahem, dad).

Tonight I arrived, we talked through a couple of things and I took a nap. Now we´re going to go (I think) to the market to get a few things and then call it an early night. I.ve been told to not go anywhere alone at night (duh), but not for the usual reasons — there´s apparently, as I understand it, a rowdy bar and possibly brothel down the street a few blocks. So I think I´ll just adhere to my standard “in another country” rules and just read a book and work with my data every night.

Every time I´m in a foreign country alone, I get a little homesick for the first day or two. Maybe homesick is the wrong word, more anxious and uncomfortable. Which is mostly because I´m really ridiculously far outside of my comfort zone. Once I start to get used to everything, I´ll be fine. But I´m pretty tired and am in a whiny mood right now. A good night´s rest and jumping headfirst into my research tomorrow will make me feel better. That plus I´m the only gringo for miles and miles (probably the only one in PM for more than a night this month, since every other tourist type that enters this town goes to the jungles to stay).

Anyway. Much love to all those back home! Wish me luck on the research and I promise I´ll try to not bring dengue, malaria or any other fun disease home with me.

L

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