Located on the edge of Parque Nacional del Manu, in the park's "cultural zone", Pilcopata is a sleepy little village at the fringe of the Peruvian part of the mighty Amazon jungle. I spent two days in Pilcopata, on a jungle tour with some of my friends from Hampy.
The real part of our jungle tour began this morning, with a visit to a farm and tourist retreat just outside Pilcopata. There, we met the most gorgeous monito ("little monkey") you ever saw. Don't know what his name was; but all he wanted to do was climb up all of us, wrap himself around our necks, and cuddle up to our heads forever. He took a particular liking to me (because of all my hair, I guess — something of a jungle growing on my head), which unfortunately didn't turn out so well for me later tonight. Also very fond of bananas, of course.
This evening in Pilcopata, we were wandering around the main (and only) street of town, when we saw an ambulancia parked in the middle of the road, lights blazing and loudspeakers blaring. The driver was saying through the loudspeaker that they were offering Yellow fever vaccinations to the locals, on-the-spot, and 100% free of charge. As Pilcopata is on the edge of the Peruvian jungle, I guess it is technically a Yellow fever endemic area. Great to see that they're making a real effort to try and curb the prevalence of this illness, and to protect the locals from contracting it.
Also known as Cassava, yuca is a starchy, soft white vegetable that's eaten in many parts of the world, but more than anywhere else in its birthplace of tropical South America. It tastes like a bland potato, it's usually served boiled, and it's surprisingly filling. I ate quite a lot of yuca during my jungle trip in Pilcopata, where it's a staple food for every meal of the day.
Today began our three-day trip to Parque Nacional del Manú, and to the jungle town of Pilcopata therein. The trip has been organised by Ashley, who has someone in her family that works for the tour company that we're with, Selva Inka. The people on the trip are: myself; Ashley; Wil; Stephan; and Chris. Our first day consisted, more than anything else, of a very long, very trying bus ride from Cusco to Pilcopata.