I got to Peru about 12 days ago now (I think). Stayed in Lima for a couple nights and then got on a plane to Puerto Maldonado. I was then quickly picked up at the airport, escorted to the office of the Explorer´s Inn and then shipped off, by boat, an hour and a half up the Tambopata River, into the Tambopata Reserve, to where I am now living at the Explorer´s Inn.

The Explorer´s Inn is an "EcoLodge" where tourists come to stay for 1-6 nights. They hike around our many trails, visit our two lakes (which house Giant Otters), or go to clay licks (where 1000s of Macaws can be spotted), amoung other things. The Lodge is in the middle of nowhere. There are no phones. There is electircity only from about 6-10pm at night in one room (charging batteries) and there is one very slow internet connection that I can, basically, not use. I live in a bungalow with a bunch of Peruvians. I teach them english, they teach me spanish (we have a good relationship).

Even though we live in the middle of nowhere, the lodge serves three course meals. Salad or soup, followed by the main course, followed by dessert (I forgot which silerware to use for which meal, at first). The food is very good. And they even have a bar. But I cannot afford it (its about 5 bucks for a beer).

And the weather! I thought, since it is becoming the rainy season in Costa Rica, it would be really wet and really hot here in Peru. But it is actually the dry season here (southern hemisphere) so I haven´t seen rain yet. And every couple of days a cold front moves in from the Andes in the south and the temperature drops, it´s called a "friaje". I frequently wear pants and flannel and sleep in a sleeping bag. Crazy!

It is my job to do a bunch of different monitoring projects (Macaws, Caimen on the Tambopata River, Giant Otters in the two lakes, Caimen in the lakes, Weather, etc); I clear the trails (with a machette) and replace missing 50m markers along them; I help out any researchers by cutting transects, assisting in data collection, etc; and it is also my job to talk with tourists about the Lodge, about what we do, answer questions, teach them about nature, etc. Thats the gist of it. I find time to sit in the sun and read or lay back in a hammock and write. Not to mention the photo oppurtunities. It is pretty amazing: truly paradise.

My days usually go like this:

-Breakfast at 5am
-Hike around for anywhere between 4-6 hours, clearing the trails or helping with research
-If I am back before lunch, I usually read or write and take a shower (cold water, only).
-Lunch is at 1pm
-Then I work around the lodge or go on another hike
-Count Macaws at 4:45 till 5:15
-Take weather data down at 6
-Update data sheets or some other project
-Study Spanish or teach English
-Dinner is at 8pm
-Asleep by 10

Days go by quick, it seems, when I am busy. Pretty soon (the 20th), another RN will be coming to help me out so I wont have such a repetitive schedule, which will be nice.

I wont be putting up photos till I return, sorry to say. No internet or computers to upload/edit them. But I will be coming into town about once every week or two. So I will try to update this in some fasion.

I can´t wait to see all of you back home. I leave the Lodge on July 28th and will travel around Peru for a little bit (going to check out Machu Pichu, I hear it´s beautiful or something). My flight home (Milwaukee) is on August 6th.