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.
over the Andes
The 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
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.
over the Amazon Basin
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.
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
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.
It 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