Well, I ate a termite...
I just got back from Manu last night, it was a great trip. Tons of fun from the start. We took a convy for many many many hours from Cusco, it seemed like we were in that stupid thing forever! Very bumpy trip across the dirt road, winding around a mountain for hours. It was nice to watch the scenery change along the way though. Typical jungle vegetation and tons of waterfalls.
We stopped along the way to check out some pre-Incan tombs. They were built by the Wari about 800 years ago...basically just looked like hollow piles of rocks, but amazingly perfectly intact. The dead were placed in there, unwrapped, but because of the climate they were very well preserved until the tombs were discovered and opened by people. They were often entombed with pets, because the Wari believed when you died you had to travel on a dark road, and the animals would lead you because they have night vision and we do not. Also, the animals had to be male, because female animals would get killed quickly and otherwise couldn´t survive the journey. Haha. Usually the animals were dogs.
We stayed in lodges every night, complete with mosquito netting (no need, I didn´t find the bugs a problem at all...there were barely any). Woke up every morning at 5 am to go see some birds doing things really early.
The second day, we rode mountain bikes for probably 4 hours, over rocky unpaved roads. It was easy but uncomfortable...Julie and I were the only ones to stick it out ALL the way to the end, most people jumped in the truck as it passed occasionally. We ended up with bruised palms and bruised butt bones...hard to sit or pick anything up for a few days! At one point we passed this guy cutting wood in the forest, and he looked really native in a grass skirt and bone necklace. A little bit unnerving, when we are the only ones around for miles...Also, I passed a place where they had just done the slash and burn thing, and some of the trees were still on fire. I took a few pictures, but when I heard shots I decided I was going to keep biking along. I´m sure it was deeper in the woods BUT I wasn´t going to hang around and find out haha.
We got soaking wet when we went white water rafting, but it was a fun experience. My clothes got clean at least! Then we took a motor boat for awhile and finally got to the other lodge. Very remote, an hour by boat from the nearest "town" which only had a few houses on one road, one telephone in the whole town, no electricity, but it DID sell Snickers bars!
My favorite part was when we did the zipline through the canopy, it was scary before I did it but when he pushed me off the edge because I wouldn´t go on my own, it was immeadiately super fun! Did that a few more times and then we went hiking.
We saw a couple monkeys, too, but they were really high up in the trees, and small. And we saw a tiger footprint...our guide reassured us they are only out at night. But he wanted us to take a hike at night the night before!
Julie and I also went swimming in the river, and she went under water which was probably what led to her being violently ill the following day. It was a pretty sketchy river in terms of health and safety, haha.
Overall, a very nice trip!! Oh yea, the termite tasted like mint. =)