This is my own personal experiences
over a twelve day period on a trip that for me was a once
in a lifetime adventure and I hope that it will give you
an insight on what to expect if you ever have the fortune
to experience it for yourself, and of course to also have
an understanding bank manager!
MY adventure actually started at Glasgow Airport on the
Wednesday evening flight to London/Gatwick on the 12th
July and an overnight stay at a B&B near the Airport.
Next morning I met Steve Pritchard and Alan Appleton at
Gatwick, meeting Alan for the first time, as I had known
Steve for a number of years. The flight for Atlanta USA
was leaving at 11.55am and at 11am there was still no
sight of our traveling companions the husband and wife
team of Julian (Jools) Dignall (from www.planetcatfish.com)
and his long suffering wife Clare! We boarded the flight
ready to fly when the aforementioned couple scrambled
aboard all stressed out before we had even started our
adventure, their flight from Edinburgh was late but no
worries as we all settled down for the 8 hour flight to
We arrived at Atlanta Airport at 4.30pm after a good flight
and had a 6-hour wait for our next connection, the Delta
flight to Lima, Peru. If you ever have to hang about at
this airport try the yogurt on offer, lovely, lovely!
We boarded the 10.20pm flight to Lima and tried to sleep
on and off which was only broken by the hilarious antics
of Alan when he woke up with a start and sent his dinner
halfway down the aisle, priceless!
Arrived in Lima, capital of Peru, at the unearthly hour
of 4.30 in the morning of the 14th (I think) then we were
off again on our internal flight with TACAS Airways to
Iquitos on the edge of the Amazon.
highlight of this flight was the view of the snow-capped
Andes Mountains from the plane window, fantastic, then
again from the window our first look at the Amazon Rainforest
and its meandering tributaries.
Landed at Iquitos Airport which by the way has the longest
name for an airport that you will ever see in the world,
so long that I couldn't remember it.
Flying over the Andes
Cezar, the local manager for Margarita Tours, met us and
if there ever was a man organised, he is that man. Off
we went in the minibus into town to our Hotel, the short
journey was memorable as I had never seen a place like
it, there seemed to be a soap opera being played out on
every corner and the taxi's were something else, a fantastic
and vibrant city.
Flying over the Amazon Basin
We arrived at the Amazon Gardens
Hotel or Hostel as they are called here where we had a
small pool situated just outside the reception area. The
rooms were pretty basic but comfortable. We went for a
short walk around to get our bearings then retired for
a short nap to recharge our batteries. Before we went
out for a meal at night we met our tour guides and operators
Drs. David Schleser and Devon Graham who turned out to
be the two most enthusiastic people I had ever met.
We took our meal at Ari's Diner, which was recommended
to us and known to the locals as "Gringolandi"
as tourists usually find their way here. This is were
I ate something that I thought I would never eat, Catfish!,
it was the local variety labeled in the menu as 'Dourada',
and most probably the large Pimelodid, Brachyplatastoma
flavicans, it was very nice and I put my guilty conscience
to the back of my mind.
was a fun relaxing evening and the five of us rode back
to the hotel in these fantastic taxi's which was basically
a motorbike with the back cut off and double wheels welded
on with a seat and canopy, great fun. Steve and I retired
for the night and we woke at 5.30am with Steve suggesting
that we head down to the fish market before breakfast,
well why not I was on holiday.
This was the time that I wished that I had learned
some Spanish as we had trouble communicating with the
taxi driver and ended up at the Fruit Market instead,
it was still interesting and I had never seen so many
bananas in the one place before. After breakfast we headed
off for a look at the fish exporters in town.
fighters at Rio Mamon
First one we stopped off at was Rio Mamon and let
me tell you we only got here and most other places by
taxi with Devon, who was pretty fluent in the lingo.
Rio Mamon is run by an Austrian who breeds believe it
or not Asian Siamese fighters which were lined up in rows
on half a dozen shelves. They had lots of Cory's here
notably C. fowleri and C. aeneus (Peru Gold
stripes). We then headed for the second exporter, Yacarunas
International Enterprise that had some nice Loracariids
and Characins. In the afternoon we visited the fish and
food markets an experience in itself. In the evening myself,
Devon, Jools, Clare, Steve and Alan went for a few beers,
the Peruvian beer is to be well recommended. We then went
on to a Chinese Restaurant for a great sweet and sour
and a few more beers of course.
All pictures © Allan
Follow link to part 2 of An