We’ve had a fascinating time with Sarah (Lori and Neil’s daughter) visiting over the last few weeks. She’s never been to Perú before so we flew down to Lima to meet her flight from Amsterdam. The next day we visited the Historic centre of Lima. This is where the Spanish were based once they conquered Peru and has lots of old buildings as well as some new ones which try to confuse a bear by looking as if they were built ages ago. In the evening we visited El Circuito Mágico del Agua. During the day it is one of Lima’s parks but in the evenings they turn the fountains on and, once it is dark, do a brilliant laser and light show with them.
Back home in the jungle we set out to show Sarah around. She wanted to see what our normal life was like but as well as meetings and bible studies we still managed to fit in a few visitor friendly things including cake and the butterfly museum. This involves a small boat ride from Iquitos and has monkeys, jaguar, tapir and other rescued animals as well as butterflies. Our friend Elias, who is a translator, helped us visit the famous Belen market in Iquitos where we were also accompanied by a couple of local police officers who made sure we were kept safe – though from what they said I don’t think they have shown many bears around.
We had a couple of days up river in Santa Rita thanks to our friends at JungleMaster. This was a chance for me to show both Sarah and Paddington some of ‘deepest, darkest, Peru’ and introduce them to more local pastors. The hospedaje was a chance for Sarah to get used to staying somewhere without running water, showers or electricity (though they have a few hours every evening). It’s interesting that how something that felt basic the first time I visited now seems quite normal, and even luxurious after a few days further up river. The water level is so high at the moment you get down off the boat onto the walkways rather than having to climb up the river banks. We were fed tapir for lunch which felt a bit strange as it was only a few days since we had fed a rescued one. It was also another chance for Neil to practice his preaching in Spanish (he’s getting better but it still needs work.)
Then it was time to return to Lima. This time we stayed in Miraflores, which is the nice modern bit on the coast. It’s a huge contrast to the jungle, but I had a great time showing the others around the shopping malls and artisan shops, even if we did accidently get wet in the ocean. In the evening we had a chance to meet up with Ruth and Paul who live in Lima as Paul is international director of Latin Link which is a really brilliant mission organisation (he’d not met a famous bear before so I agreed to pose for a photo).
And now we are safely back in England. I’ve not yet adjusted to the time zone changes and England doesn’t really feel like home anymore but Paddington is happy to be back, he seems to prefer it here. I think his favourite thick coat and hat are more comfortable in England and he much prefers marmalade to plantain.
I wonder what my next adventure will be? The family are talking about taking me on holiday in the summer.