Geoman’s Journal - April 21, 2013 - Final Post!
It’s time to bring this incarnation of Geoman’s Journal to a close. I’ve returned to Las Vegas with new and wonderful experiences to share. I’m a bit tired and my back muscles a little sore, but all in all, extremely happy about my involvement in the 2013 CONAPAC/Explorama Adopt-a-School Program. I would once again like to send a gigantic thank you to Claire (Detroit Zoological Society), Pam (Explorama), Megan (CONAPAC Librarian), and my friend Cliver (Explorama Guide) for making my time in the Peruvian Amazon both productive and fulfilling. The project and our work was facilitated by many people including a myriad of Explorama and CONAPAC staff, and two amazing teams of volunteers from across the United States. I would also like to thank all the southern Nevada schools that donated to the Adopt-a-School Program & raised funds for the CONAPAC Amazon Library – Hyde Park MS, Leavitt MS, Martin MS, Sawyer MS, Silvestri MS, Webb MS, Miller MS, Goolsby ES, and Sandy Miller ES. Now that I have personally experienced the magic of this fine program and understand fully the wonderful impacts it has on communities and families that it serves, I can assure students and teachers more than ever that their generosity and hard work is not being wasted. Just the opposite is true. Their donations and letters are helping to inspire and help individuals and entire river communities! I’m so looking forward to revisiting and personally thanking every teacher and student at the schools involved. I have so many more pictures and stories than I was not able to share here, so I hope they are prepared for a wonderful presentation and to receive their actual Peru school packets that I was entrusted with to bring back to Las Vegas. Surprise! That’s right – you’ll get to see (and touch) the letters and artwork from the Peruvian schools on the very day I visit each school. So teachers, don’t delay! Contact Geoman and set a date for me to visit as soon as possible. Until then and until the next time Geoman takes off on another adventure (possibly Tibet & Everest Base Camp in June 2014), this is Geoman signing off with a reminder to explore you’re world – both near and far, and both virtually and in person!
Geoman’s Journal - April 19 & 20, 2013
Friday is as good as any day for a travel day. A WARNING: travel days in the Amazon Basin can be a little more complicated than in more developed parts of the world. The Napo Lodge is just about as far away from Iquitos as you can get at an Explorama property, with only ACTS and the canopy walkway more distant. After taking it somewhat easy yesterday it was time to think and ask about how I was going to get back to Iquitos for a Saturday afternoon flight. I was hoping to return a day early to visit with my friend Cliver who had corrective wrist and arm surgery earlier in the week. Operations informed me that my best option was to hitch a ride back to Ceiba Tops Lodge on today’s garbage and recycling boat and then join two guests on another small boat scheduled to return to the Explorama office in Iquitos later in the morning. The only drawbacks were that the boat described above was an open boat, and that it would leave Napo Lodge at 6:00am. So, get up early and hope for an hour or two without rain, and gamble that I’d make it to Ceiba Tops before breakfast ended and in time to join the other boat with guests going back to the city. No worries, a piece of cake. I love this plan! In total this plan would include the garbage/recycle boat described above, a three-wheeled motor taxi from the Napo River town of Mazan to the Amazon River town of Indiana, a super short 5 minute transfer boat to Ceiba Tops where I could possibly grab some breakfast, and finally an hour or so on the scheduled speedboat back to the Explorama dock in Iquitos – no sweat! Well, it turns out that Friday is indeed as good as any day. Maybe better, because each segment that I outlined above came off in clock-like fashion and I arrived at Cliver & Megan’s house, after a stop at the Hotel Acosta, dry and ready to visit by 1:00pm. I woke up in the rainforest, more than 100 river miles from Iquitos, and had lasagna with my friend at a Peruvian chain restaurant in a city with approximately half a million people. Not your typical day in the tropics, but certainly a good and lucky one! This good fortune allowed me to spend half of Friday and half of Saturday visiting and helping Cliver while his wife Megan remains with the volunteers of group two as they complete their work in remote communities and the library. All I needed was a fine company with experienced boat drivers, a good map of the city (drawn by Megan), and a little luck. And, if you noticed not a single car (only a short ride in the Explorama’s luggage truck from the office to the hotel). I left Iquitos Saturday on a 2:15pm flight bound for Panama City and a Sunday connection to Las Vegas where I’ll write the final installment for this Geoman’s Journal adventure at home.