Narrative - Page Three
Day Six - Thursday, March 30
During the night, La Esmeralda cruised up the Rio Ucayali to
the village of Requena.  In the morning, a pre-breakfast trip to
the Rio Tapiche provided us with an opportunity to see some
Amazon Umbrella Birds, macaws, monkeys and sloths.  After
breakfast, we visited another village.  That was another good
opportunity to see how the people of the forest live, and our
presence seemed to provide a welcome break for them as well,
not to mention the money we spent.  Here the children sang a
song for us and our group responded with a song of our own.  
In the afternoon we went off on a special outing to fish for
Piranha. Stories about this fish abound, but those are mostly
exaggerations about the Piranha's fearsome feeding frenzies.  
Those in our party who could not catch anything while we were
fishing will attest to the fact that Piranhas will only eat when
hungry.   In fact, the local people view the Piranha as a valuable
source of protein and they are quite good to eat, although
somewhat bony.  They tasted very much like a
sac-a-lait fish
which one would catch in a Louisiana bayou.  Avispachocha,
the blackwater lake where we fished, is also an excellent place to
observe Pink Dolphins, Gray Dolphins and a wide variety of
birds.  Here, the still, mirror-like water is often crowned with
giant Victoria Regia water lilies.  The leaves can exceed seven
feet in diameter and are able to support the weight of a small
child!  The sharp, hook-like spines on the undersides of these
massive water lilies deter predators.  At dinner that night, we
were treated to fried Piranha and the crew had cleaned the skulls
of all flesh so that we could take back home with us evidence of
what we had caught.  That night, after dinner, we went off once
again to look for nocturnal animals as
La Esmeralda prepared
to sail on back to our starting point, the town of Iquitos
Day Seven - Friday, March 31
In the early morning, our vessel began its return voyage down
the Ucayali toward the Maranon.  We had a morning outing to a
small tributary, the Rio Blanco.  This little river featured
numerous birds and a large population of various species of
primates.  Like most of the places we had been, there are very
few people living in or near this area.  In the afternoon, we
cruised the Maranon and the Amazon as we enjoyed yet another
day full of adventure in the Amazon River Basin
.   Sailing
downstream, pushed along by the powerful current, we quickly
returned to Iquitos, arriving there in the late afternoon.  As soon
as we docked we checked into our five-star hotel and relaxed
for awhile before our farewell dinner that night at a popular
restaurant.  There we were treated to a delicious buffet of native
dishes while being entertained by a folkloric group playing native
instruments and singing and dancing while garbed in the
traditional costumes of the various tribes that inhabit Peru.  And,
of course, there was a rendition of the obligatory "El Condor
Pasa," which we heard everywhere we went.  Those Peruvian
musicians were truly magnificent!
Day Eight - Saturday, April 1
In the morning, we went off on a guided tour of Iquitos.  In the
afternoon, we were free to shop and explore Iquitos on our own.
 That evening, we boarded another Aeroperu flight back to Lima.
 We were met at the airport and again taken to the Sheraton
Lima, where there was a mix-up regarding our dinner
reservations.  Most of us went to bed without eating because of
the lateness of the hour.
Narrative continues....