Puerto Maldonado, Peru is no place to write home about. It’s booming, as far as jungle towns go, with a frenzy of rickshaws and motorcycles zooming and beeping through the rutted, dusty streets.
Brian and I found ourselves here with two days to kill. We’d flown to Puerto Maldonado in order to visit the Amazon jungle and, because we’d found a cheaper flight back to Cusco a few days after our jungle tour was over, we were stuck here amongst the buzzing and honking and the thick Amazon heat.
The shuttle from our Amazon lodge had dropped our fellow jungle travelers off at the airport and, upon request, Brian and I off on the side of an unpaved road at the edge of town. We had no idea where to stay or what the heck we’d find to do. Lonely Planet told us that ‘at first sight a mayhem of mud streets and manically tooting mototaxis, Puerto Maldonado soon endears itself to you’ but Brian and I could both tell that that probably wouldn’t actually be the case. Sometimes even the travelers bible gets it wrong.
We trudged our way down the road towards the Anaconda Lodge, reputed to rent one-room bungalows to passers-through. We were met at the gate by a tiny Thai woman and shown to an adorable thatched roof hut.
We quickly learned that the Anaconda Lodge is a little oasis tucked into the bleak and beeping madness of Puerto Maldonado. They have hammocks, they have a pool, they even have a pancake breakfast. But most importantly they have monkeys.
And, OH MY GOD, we fell in love.
These little monkeys roam the grounds of the Anaconda Lodge. Brian and I were so charmed by them that we didn’t leave the property. Not once. We just couldn’t pull ourselves away.
Each morning after breakfast Brian and I would lounge on the porch of our bungalow
willing the monkeys to visit us reading until, like clockwork, the monkeys would run to us like a trio of hopped up toddlers.
They would swing from the rafters and climb about our hammocks or wrestle and roll around on the ground. Sometimes they’d pause long enough to groom their senior monkey.
They loved Brian. I think they could sense he was one of them.
Each time I peeled myself away to use the restroom the monkeys would follow, squeezing themselves beneath the gap in the door to sit and watch as I did my business. It was awkward but, also, kind of awesome.
But the best part? THE! BEST! PART!
When the monkeys tired of playing they would curl their warm, fuzzy, tiny, monkey bodies into our laps and fall asleep.
They fell asleep!!!!!
And we fell hopelessly, jello-leggedly, heart-flippingly, knee-knockingly in love.
This must have been what Lonely Planet was talking about.