Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge, Amazon, Brazil
Three weeks into our journey today. Tomorrow marks the beginning of the longest period of time we have travelled away from home as a family of five, and the “firsts” will just keep coming. Ash and Nicky have always been incredible travellers, so we waited to see if Nesi would come into her own. She has travelled extensively and always with high drama since birth. It’s only been six flights into our Big Trip, but all within a short period of time. Already she seems to have cottoned on that there is no point to fussing on a travel day, now that traveling is part of “normal”. Getting from Cartagena to our lodge in the Amazon took 3 car transfers, 2 flights, a 1 night stay in an absolutely no frills hotel in Manaus, and involved 0 tantrums. A first for a traveling day, and gives us high hopes for the rest of 2016.
Sunday at Anavilhanas Lodge. First rains since we arrived 3 days ago. Locals tell us that the water levels of the river have not risen as they usually do this year, which is highly unusual. In fact, they rose a little at the start of the rainy season, but then fell again. There are huge ecological impacts involved, but for our family at this point in time, it has meant navigating up many steps numerous times a day to get to the river for all our excursions as well as our daily bath in the Rio Negro. By the middle of the rainy season in 2015, there were just three steps from boat to land. This evening we walked over a hundred to get to our “holiday house”.
The kids refer to all our accommodations as holiday houses. Since we left Tres Picos in Mexico City, we have had six holiday houses. We try as much as possible to choose places where we are able to have private spaces (rental apartments or family rooms within a lodge work the best) and not have to remind our kids to keep a lid on it as we are pretty much living in public this year. This is something I never thought about before the trip – how not having enough private spaces can affect us. Kids being too noisy, wanting to come to breakfast in pjs (we generally let the kids, but sometimes adults need that too!), someone being sick in bed, someone else needing quiet time, bickering, a good old fashioned tantrum over nothing at all to release the stress of being on the go. A certain amount of adrenaline takes over when we go on holiday and this helps with the stress of traveling. In the past when we return home, adrenaline levels go down and thus the immune system also takes a hit. It was not unusual for someone in the family to be down with a cold or a tummy bug soon after a holiday. At this stage, three weeks into our travels, I remember waiting for the other shoe to drop – who is going to get sick? Thankfully we stayed healthy in the jungle.