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Noblemotion: Storm Front. Photo by Lynn Lane

Best of Festival, The Dance Gallery Festival.

On multiple media lists for performance invitations from around North America, it is rare that I find myself in a city on the same night for which I have an invitation. Despite my lifelong love of different forms of dance, both doing and watching, reviewing contemporary dance is way outside my comfort zone.

So when I realized that my one free night in New York this trip coincided with the Dance Gallery Festival's Best of Festival gala night at the Manhattan Movement and Arts Center, I decided that this opportunity to see contemporary dance performances from a variety of choreographers was not to be missed.

Suspension bridge for traversing dense jungle territory

One of the advertised highlights of this Amazon River exploration was the opportunity to camp overnight in the  jungle.  Since I am not a hardy out-door type by nature, and camping is not my preferred travel accommodation, I was not so sure that I would feel safe in a jungle tent. During my pre-trip reading I seriously considered taking the offered alternate option of returning to overnight on the boat.

But when the day arrived, I thought that it would be the height of insanity to travel to the Amazon jungle and let my fear of biting insects, scorpions, mosquitos,...

hoatzin

From the time we were met at the airport in Iquitos and taken to our coach for the ride to Nauta, we were in the capable and highly organized hands of the naturalist team who were leading our Amazon explorations.

In my professional career I have encountered many people who were experts in their field, but the visual acuity and speed of Juan-Carlos Palomino and Robinson Rodriguez made an indelible impression on me.  How they could spot a tiny black dot high in a tree as we were speeding down river in our motorized skiff, and instantly identify the type of

...
Approaching La Turmalina, our riverboat

I love the jewel names, amethyst, tourmaline, emerald and aquamarine, given to this group of riverboats. La Turmalina, the ship on which we traveled is part of a fleet of four, built in the ship yard in Iquitos in the style of 19th century river boats. La Amatista and La Turmalina can take 30 passengers and the La Esmeralda and La Aquamarina can take 17 and 24 passengers respectively. La Turmalina, our expedition riverboat is registered in Peru and operated by English speaking Peruvian Officers and crew. There can be up to 14 crew members on board for a full...

A festive day in Nauta on the Amazon River
From Lima airport a direct flight on LAN Airway  took us into Iquitos, Capital of the Peruvian Amazon. Iquitos, with a population of just under 500,00, is the largest city of the Amazon rainforest and the sixth largest city in Peru. It has the dubious distinction of being the largest city in the world that is inaccessible by road, other than the 100 km road between Iquitos and Nauta, on the Amazon River. The main way to reach Iquitos is by air or by boat.
 
LAN at the Iquitos airport

As I was traveling with someone from California  we determined after much on-line searching that the most cost-effective way to get to Lima, the capital of Peru, was a LAN Airways direct flight from Los Angeles Airport to  Lima International Airport - Jorge Chávez. The direct flight is about 9 hours. Our flight left at at 9:15 in the evening and got us into Lima at 8:50 the next morning. Peru is 2 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time. I liked the idea of an overnight flight but I am one of those people who does not really sleep on...

Dusk on the Amazon River
The Amazon river is the second only to the Nile as the longest river in the world, stretching 6296 kilometers from its origins high in the Andes Mountains of Peru, Ecuador and Columbia to its mouth in the Atlantic Ocean. However it carries more water than any other river including the Nile, and is responsible for 20% of the fresh water carried into the oceans, more than the next seven largest rivers combined.
The confluence of the Maranon and Ucayali rivers is the area usually considered the start of the Amazon River proper, which runs through Peru and Brazil. Some of the tributaries...
Susinn McFarlen & Anna Galvin. Photo by David Cooper

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
by Christopher Durang
directed by Rachel Ditor
Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage

If the names did not already tell you that Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is intended to be a comedic homage to Anton Chekhov, the bust of Chehkov in Alison Green's wonderful book-lined sitting-room set would be a strong indication.

I took Dukoral

One of the things that can ruin a great vacation is traveler's diarrhea. And when going to countries where enteric diseases such as typhoid and E. Coli are even more common causes of traveler's diarrhea than salmonella and campylobacter, it makes sense to do all you can to avoid getting sick.

As well as obvious advice about frequent hand washing and not drinking tap water, our information sheet contained a stern warning about not eating food from street vendors as you can't trust the sanitation of the preparations. I am not normally that adventurous in foreign countries so that made...

Tilley hat and lightweight breathable shirt and pants

The most perfectly planned travel can be ruined by an unanticipated illness or injury. Obsessive as I am, I found it absolutely essential to check out all possible health precautions so I would not "check out" on my jungle trip.

From a health perspective, a seven day journey up the Amazon River into the jungle, even on a "luxury" river boat, is nothing like the luxury cruises in the Mediterranean or Caribbean, that I was accustomed to. The rain forest environment is hot and humid, and vicious little mosquitoes carry nasty organisms that cause malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever and...

Hiking boots, Dancing shoes!
Bet you are wondering about the dance shoes. Dance shoes - in the Amazon jungle? Well read on!
 
Before I embarked on this wild adventure, jungle cruising on the Amazon, I had three aspects to consider.
1) Planning the trip - How does one get to the Amazon?
2) Researching - What preventative health measures were needed to keep me healthy and happy? and not mosquito-bitten.
3) Preparing for travel - Finding the items I would need to take with me?
My travel and preventative health measure posts will come later in this A toZ Challenge. But here was my...

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