Three planes, one temporarily misplaced item of luggage and a four hour boat ride later I’m finally here: Tahuayo lodge, aka “home” for the next three months. Nestled deep in the Amazon it rises out of the Tahuayo river on stilts, all palm roofs and wooden panelling, authentic and yet, surprisingly luxurious. Friendly faces greet us and our bags magically transport themselves to the dining room, where we are introduced to our guides and given a tour. There’s WiFi in the computer room, a newly built dining room and bar, a reading room and, my favourite, the hammock room.
Perhaps this place would be less surprising if I was a tourist paying the full rate for a week-long tour (though I must add here, it most certainly wouldn’t be a disappointment), however as a researcher my expectations have been exceeded in positively astronomical terms. My room, complete with a four post double bed, is not only larger than the room I was renting back in the UK but also has its very own en-suite. That first night, I slept soundly.
Upon waking, I could have imagined myself back in a hotel in London. That is, aside from the spider making itself at home on my pillow, barely 15cm from my face. After a quick discussion with one of the staff, who assured me that despite being the size of my palm he was in fact a house spider and would not kill me, I decided he could stay.
Outside the lodge is another story entirely, a complete separate world. Jungle. Let the adventures begin!