The Peruivan Amazon Part I: The Cable Taxi

After surviving The New World’s Most Dangerous Road, Teresa and I set off for yet another adventure.

THE PERUIVAN  RAINFOREST in Manu National Park

Envisioning lush jungle with monkey’s chirping overhead, bright colored birds on every branch.  Flowers of enormous size and vibrant colors and a bouquet of fragrances.  Watching my steps for huge bugs, spiders, and snakes.  This is what I thought we were arriving to.

What we ended up experiencing was a bit different.  Lush jungle…check.  Monkeys….we saw them only fleetingly from a distance.  Bright birds….these were found at a local’s home and in what I would consider an aviary.  Flowers….they were all along the roadside as we were driving.  I can’t tell you if they had a fragrant bouquet or not as I only saw them fleetingly out the windows of the van.

Our first day was mostly spent driving.  The scenery was lush and beautiful; the road much like the New World’s Most Dangerous Road.  It didn’t bother me nearly as much this time as the driver took his time and I considered myself a pro at the wash-outs, cliffs and sheer drop-off’s.

Most interesting part however, had to be the CABLE TAXI.   When our guide told us to follow the trail to the cable taxi….we wandered the trail nearly blindly with only our headlamps to light the way; all the while wondering “What the hell is a cable taxi?”  I’ll give you an answer to that in a moment.

Here are the cabins where we spent our first night.  We arrived deep in the darkness and this photo was taken in the morning when we were leaving.  It was nestled about a half hour walk from the dirt road that wound into the jungle.

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The Peruivans’ hard at work removing one of the many land-slides that we encountered on the drive to our cabin oasis.

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Here is another picture of the land-slide that we had to walk across. That’s our white van on the other side. It came through after us with only the driver and the cook….brave souls!

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So…I’m sure that your still wondering about the CABLE TAXI.  Here is an arrival picture.  A rickety box-like structure hanging onto a cable.  We could hear the rushing water from the river raging below us but with the cover of night; we couldn’t see it.  This is probably a good thing as I don’t know if either Teresa or I would have gotten on this contraption if we had been able to see the river below.  The CABLE TAXI was ran buy an old man looking nearly emaiciated.  He however proved to be quite fit as he pulled the taxi along the cable over the river.  With a good push on one side; the cable taxi sailed over the river about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way.  The rest of the way the Cable Taxi ‘driver’ (?not sure what job description to give this guy), pulled hand over hand on the thick metal cable to pull us the rest of the way across.  Our group of 5 tourists, one cook, one guide, and the cable taxi driver all made it across without any problems.

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I told you that we got to see some birds.  Here is Teresa enjoying one roosting on her shoulder.  I’ve been close enough to my Step-Dad’s bird to know not to trust them not to peck at you so I declined.

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This one stayed on the roof.  He did not seem as friendly as the red one’s.

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We stopped for lunch near this waterfall.  Note:  This flows OVER the road that we crossed!

The red spot in the center of the picture below is of the Peruivan National Bird.  It’s very pretty.  The only place that we were able to observe this bird was at a sort of aviary along the drive to our first night cabins.

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Although slightly disappointed with Manu National Park as an Amazon jungle experience; we did see some wildlife and had a good experience overall. I know now that I really want to return to South America and explore more of it’s beauty.