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Final Morning and Trip Home

July 15, 2011
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Group in front of Ceiba

Group in front of Ceiba

Bob and Monkey

Bob and Monkey

Our final morning we visited “Monkey Island,” a rehab facility for orphaned monkeys. Unlike what we might picture in the states, the monkeys are not in cages, rather they are roaming freely on the island. The facility provides food for them at one location, so most of them hang out nearby. They are very accustomed to humans and readily come running to see you.

If you are willing, the will hold your hand or climb up on your shoulders. We had been warned to take off any objects (like glasses or earrings) that they might try to take. We saw several different kids of monkeys, including Wooly Monkeys, Red Howler Monkeys and Spider Monkeys. Roldan gave us a presentation about the work of the island, and we enjoyed our time with these new furry friends.

We headed back to Ceiba Tops to visit the giant Ceiba Tree on the property. This large tree, also called a kapok tree, is hundreds of years old and home to an abundance of bromeliads and other epiphytes, and a nest from a Black Vulture. This tree is highly revered by local people and it was amazing to stand at the base and look up at its branches.

Liz and Howler Monkey

Liz and Howler Monkey

Then it was back to our rooms to finish packing. We got our bags out and enjoyed a final lunch at Ceiba Tops, where we each received a Peruvian Flag in honor of our trip. We boarded a boat for a trip to Iquitos, and after a quick stop at the “tourist” market in town, we got on the flight to Lima. We were really surprised at how cold it was in Lima when we landed – 65! Many of us were not dressed for the switch from the steamy jungle to the crisp cool “winter in Lima” air.

We split up, with folks heading on to Machu Picchu going one way, and folks going on different flights another. The group taking the late flight went to the Inca Market and shopped for Peruvian musical instruments and Alpaca products. The blankets and hats felt great in the cool air although we knew we would not need them when we got home to North Carolina! This group got back to the airport, ate dinner, and got on their flight at 2 a.m. Peru time (3 a.m. East Coast time) for their flight to Atlanta. After some delays in Atlanta, they all arrived home safe and sound on Thursday, July 14, more than 24 hours after leaving Ceiba Tops.

We had a wonderful adventure filled with lots of learning, new experiences and great friendships. We look forward to seeing what each of us will develop as a result of this experience.

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