Since my last post a few days ago, I’ve been mostly working, working, working. Thursday evening I walked down to the market to pick up a few things. It’s only about 2 blocks away from the place I am staying, but they are doing construction on this road – turning it into a concrete road from a dirt road. Being developing world construction, there isn’t a great “pedestrian/traffic redirection” plan built in, so I spend a little time weaving and snaking around and through the construction area to get to the store. Well, this Thursday, I had to walk down the opposite side of the construction for a bit and walked right by the 4 foot tall piles of rocks they are storing for use in the concrete. Every time I’ve walked to the store, kids have been playing in them, standing on the top and throwing rocks down. So, long story short, two little kids threw a bunch of rocks at me. I feel awesome.
Friday I started collecting data north of Puerto Moldonado, which meant taking a ferry ride across. They’ve been building a bridge across – a bright orange monstrosity – as part of the Interoceanic Highway, funded by the World Bank, that will run from the coast of Brazil through to the coast of Peru.
When I was in Puerto Maldonado last in December, the bridge was in pretty much this exact same configuration. No, they’re not just slow construction workers here (actually they’re remarkably fast), but it turns out they made some engineering mistakes. As I’m told, the pillar toward the north (in the picture below) is actually shifting and sinking into the ground under the river. I have no idea how they will fix it (and how much money it will cost), but it sure makes me not worry so much about my little daily mistakes.
So as we were speeding through town to get to the dock area, I swore I saw a guy in a Boston Red Sox shirt. He probably was just wearing some knock off, but I had that image in my head as I rode across on the ferry, noticing how muddy the water was. The combination of those two things at the same time led me to have The Standells “Love That Dirty Water” in my head for the rest of the day.
At the dock area on the north side, there’s a little community. Well, a large community by Madre de Dios standards (that’s the department I’m in; Peru department = US state). If you’re wondering what I mean by large community, here you go:
When we were driving back along some dirt roads from way out, we were almost killed by a tree. This sucker fell about 50 feet in front of us, giving us just enough time to drive around it. Scary indeed.
Also on Friday, I got to see a Laughing Falcon down a whip snake – whole and head first. I have a mediocre video of it. I’ll post that when I get back to the states (and have reasonable bandwidth).
And here’s a pic of some trees. Yes, the sky really is that blue. I didn’t boost the saturation or anything
See the bottle-shaped white thing at the top of this 75-foot tall tree? That’s a particularly cool wasp’s nest. I felt the need to share it with you all.
On Friday afternoon, we drove around the actual city of Puerto Maldonado to get some urban points. We drove by the prison,
an awesome harpy statue,
and a cool palm swamp, running on either side of the highway.
In case you were wondering what ‘urban’ Puerto Maldonado looks like, here ya go:
Full day, no?