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Bruce Parry

At the end of the Amazon

Bruce takes a dip at the end of his epic journey...

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Rob Sullivan

Sailing the Home Straight

Posted from: The Castelo Guedes, sailing east from Santerem

We're back on the Amazon on the final leg of the journey. Yesterday we left the Kayapo village of Krinu where we've been staying for the last week and it was an amazing feeling to know that from here on in we're all on the way was quite emotional bumping along the dusty airstrip waving to the Kayapo who came out en masse to say goodbye.

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Christina Daniels

Beware of Amazon magic

Posted from: Near Santarem

We're travelling down the Amazon River. It's dusk and pockets of sunlight shoot out from the clouds. As we travel downriver, we see the ribeirinhos, the families that live at the edge of the water, in their small wooden houses, always two or three cows and never less than five children running around.

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Bruce Parry

Bruce travels the Transamazonica

Bruce travels along the Transamazonica highway

Bruce travels along the Transamazonica Highway, an unfinished 5000km long roadway with only 175 km of tarmac, initiated in 1970 with the aim of opening up the Amazon to development. Read Sol's blog about travelling the highway.

Solange Welch

Travelling the Transamazonica Trail

Posted from: Apui
For me this is where the journey really began. The moment Raquel and I sat in the back of a pickup truck with our cowboy hats on and started travelling east on the Transamazonica Highway on our way to the gold mine. The precise moment in fact was when the smooth tarmac section of the highway, which cuts through Apui, gave way to the dirt road with a sudden thud of the back wheels.

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Marina De Brito

Fish Stock

Posted from: Sao Raimundo do Jaraua in the Sustainable Development Reserve, Mamiraua.
We have been here for three days now. This is a small community of about 20 wooden houses on the banks of a river channel called Jarauá. The channel comes off the main river Japurá, and Japurá feeds the Amazon river itself about 36 kilometres downriver from here.

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Matt Brandon

Fenix from the Flames

Posted from: Mamiraua nr Jaraua
Four months ago today was a big day for me, but I don't remember too much about it. I was being evacuated from our filming location in a remote Peruvian valley. A few days later I woke up in an intensive care unit in Lima - my wife Zoe was there and my parents were on their way. Everyone had feared the worst. The doctors discovered that I'd developed a brain abscess.

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Bruce Parry

Embarrassing comfort

Bruce worries about his reputation as an expeditioner.

Keith Schofield

The Perfect Shoot?

Posted from: Alvaraes - Rio Japura
Can’t wait to get off this river taxi - and its lesson on one of the dark sides of my favourite place. I wonder what became of those three hopeless horrified men in their chains. Fifteen years in some rank jail ahead. Still musing, I visited the wheelhouse and we promptly crashed into a floating village. The sound of splintering wood and groaning corrugated iron.

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Marina De Brito

Cocaine Raid

Posted from: On the Tabatinga – Tefe passenger boat
Our film started on a river boat on the 8th of March. This is a passenger boat that takes some 200 people up and down the Amazon River between Tabatinga on the Brazil/Colombia border and Manaus, the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas. It is a four day journey to Manaus, but for us a two day journey as we were jumping off in Tefe, half way through the trip. The boat had three decks, the first and second quickly filled up with hammocks, the third one was for socialising, not sleeping. It had a bar with very loud Brazilian forro playing all the time and a huge sun deck.

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Bruce Parry

Public transport

Bruce hangs out on a passenger boat.

Matt Norman

Arrival in Logging Camp

Posted from: Atalaia
One last adjustment to the camera and we swing it out over the water on our 25’ crane to film some passing shots of the boat. We have travelled ahead on a smaller, faster boat in order to rig this and not hold our journey up. The shot works well by having the camera drift across the water and up over a tree as the boat passes. It really captures the landscape that we are passing through in one smooth shot.

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Matt Norman

Avoiding the stench of feet

Posted from: Near Atalaia, on the river on the way to logging camp

We have resumed our boat journey to the remote logging camp and didn’t quite make it in daylight today so have pulled into the riverbank to sleep the night. Laura has stayed behind in Tabatinga to start transcribing the Matis tapes so it’s a very male affair for this section of filming. The sleeping options are pretty limited with hammocks being tied to every possible place inside of the cramped boat. This isn’t too pleasant as inside it stinks of diesel fumes and it's boiling hot from the lack of ventilation.

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Rob Sullivan

A Morning with Missionaries

Posted from: Vida Nova
We've just had a very civilised breakfast with a missionary couple in their beautiful home in the village of Vida Nova, a tiny village deep in the heart of Vale do Javari. Paul and Cheryl Rich are an American couple in their sixties who have lived among the Marubo people for almost 30 years. They have created a little patch of heaven in the endless forest, complete with rainwater-harvesting system, solar energy, email via satellite and home-made jam. Sitting in their backyard overlooking their vegetable patch and herb garden you could easily be mistaken in thinking you were somewhere in Midwest America.

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Bruce Parry

Leaving the Marubo

A skeleton team leave Parana

Rob Sullivan

The Last of the Marubo Shaman

Posted from: Parana
We've just spent a week filming with the Marubo people, the most powerful tribe in Vale do Javari, a vast indigenous reserve in the far West of Brazil. We chose the remote village of Parana for our filming, because it's home to a very young and very gifted Shaman called Robson.

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Matt Norman

Matt evacuated with suspected malaria

The fourth medical evacuation in full swing

Bruce Parry

On the trail of stinging ants

The team head off to collect ants for a traditional ant ceremony

The Marubo ant ceremony involves the poisonous tucandeira ant. Participants first dig up the ant from the roots of trees and then pierce its thorax with a stick. They then wipe the ant over red dots they have drawn on their body so that it stings them. The ceremony involves singing Marubo songs with the shaman.

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Matt Norman

The Art of the Passenger

Posted from: Aurelio just outside of Tabatinga
Once we left the Matis village we are back onboard our three boats again to travel further up river to the head waters with the goal of visiting the extremely remote Marubo tribe. Things didn't start well when the engine of our boat packed up before we had even left the river bank. The gasket had blown but, not to be beaten, our fantastic driver Mario tipped out his toolbox and announced that we should not worry as he would make one from spare parts. In the meantime we all sat tight and the process of being eaten alive by sand flies began.

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Rob Sullivan

Boats, Bugs and Breakdowns

Posted from: Aurelio just outside of Tabatinga
Whilst the Amazon and its tributaries may flow smoothly and steadily, you can be fairly guaranteed that trying to film here won't. This place throws new problems at you every day: from illness in the crew to boats breaking down, to tricky tribal negotiations and obstructive bureaucrats, not to mention swarms of insects, torrential rain, knee-deep mud and unbearable heat. As producer/director, my job is to deal with all of these problems as they arise, try to find practical solutions and keep the production going. Every delay is extremely costly, financially and editorially as valuable filming time slips painfully away.

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Rob Sullivan

A Historical Moment from Mid-air...

Posted from: Tabatinga*

Today has been one of the most extraordinary days of my whole life. We took a flight over Vale do Javari, a vast reserve set up to protect the territory of the indigenous tribes of this area. It's one of the world's last remaining true tracts of wilderness, and conjures up everything you imagine when you think of the Amazon: a vast sea of green stretched out beneath us, with occasional tiny settlements dotted throughout the landscape. It's home to the highest concentration of uncontacted groups in the world - with a known population of just under 4,000 people occupying an area the size of Portugal.

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Mission Accomplished

Posted from: Cardiff
I was sitting in the office in Cardiff on a rainy day, trying to make sense of some expenses when Sam asked me: "Can you go to Brazil tonight?" English is not my first language and sometimes I don't understand people. As always when I don't understand I nodded and said: "Yes, yes," and before I could amend my mistake a flight had been booked by the super efficient Jo and I received a paper with instructions: a man was going to meet me in Heathrow at 4 am and give me an envelope, then I had to flight to Brazilia to deliver the envelope to another contact in a place that he would confirm at the last minute. The envelope contained a key piece for a shooting device. I mean, how cool is that? I had just turned into a Bond woman!!

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Leticia Valverdes

A Blessing and a Curse

Posted from: Benjamin Constant
Being one of the two bilingual people on a shoot is hard. You are the one who has to be constantly aware of what's going on, in both camps, and non-stop translating what's necessary to make things work. You have to know a bit of both sides culturally, and even emotionally.

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Matt Norman

Easy Rider

Posted from: Benjamin Constant
We are back on the river today, which feels great. It's just a 20-minute ride to the small riverside town of Benjamin Constant where we will be spending the next four days filming carnival. Brazil is about to go carnival crazy so it should be a fun shoot ahead.

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Leticia Valverdes

"Brasil does not know Brasil"

Posted from:Tabatinga
Today we are leaving Tabatinga to go to the little town of Benjamin Constant where we will experience a carnival. It will be a new experience for us, perhaps even for myself as a Brazilian; carnival takes many different forms in the different parts of the country. It originates from the same paganism and catholic traditions but manifests itself in various ways: from the samba schools of Rio and Sao Paulo, to the samba reggae of Bahia and Frevo, Maracatu, and Caboclinho of Pernambucao. They’re all an amalgamation of rhythms and traditions and are also influenced by indigenous Brazilian and African culture.

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Laura Santana

Border Towns

Posted from:Tabatinga
We've arrived in Tabatinga after a simply mammoth journey. Three planes, three time zones and 24 hours after we set off we (Rob, Leti and myself) are greeted by the superman himself - no not Bruce - but our incredible fixer Marco. Marco is not only a professor of biology, he is an ex-commando, pilot, skipper, cook, and a truly lovely guy. Leti and I both spent a month each with him on our recces (pre-shoot trips) for films 3-6.

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Matt Norman


Posted from:Tabatinga
We left the buzzing city of Iquitos at 06.00am this morning having said goodbye to Steve, Willow and Angel the night before. Bruce, Pete and I are joined by the new fixer Marco for a day-long boat ride across the border into Brazil to start film three

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Steve Robinson

A Conversation with a Snake

Posted from: Iquitos Airport
Well, we've finished film two and so we're officially a third of the way through the series. It's been bloody tough but also pretty fantastic. We've seen and filmed some amazing things, made some incredible friends and passed through some of the most spectacular landscapes on Earth.

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Bruce Parry

Walking the Plank

The team attempt a river crossing

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Willow Murton

Preparing for the Ayahuasca Retreat

The team survey their reduced kit, before heading to an ayahuasca retreat.

Steve Robinson

Amazon at Last!

Posted from: Iquitos
We’re on the Amazon at last! Even though we’ve travelled well over a thousand miles since we started this epic journey, the river has always been called something else – Apurimac, Ene, Tambo and so on. Yesterday morning we hit the confluence of two massive rivers – the Maranon and the Ucayali - and at that point the river became officially known as the Amazon. It felt like quite a big moment for our bedraggled little team. It’s taken us three months to get to this point and we’re not even in Brazil yet!

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Bruce Parry

Welcome to the streets of Iquitos

Bruce is 'loving it'

Bruce Parry

Pete settles in

Pete settles in while Bruce takes the best seat on the boat

Bruce Parry

Oil spill

Bruce travels to an oil spill with Guevara, an environmental monitor for the Achuar

Matt Norman

Stuck in a rut

Posted from: Andoas

The team get stuck

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Matt Norman

Death Row and a Mud Hole

Posted from: Andoas
After days of travelling in tiny boats we make it to the grotty settlement of Andoas. We arrive late and are staying in a hostel made of plywood, as it’s the only accommodation in town. Around us are a few sparse bars and directly opposite a brothel lit up with twinkly fairy lights and blaring out 80’s music until the early hours.

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Steve Robinson

Vengeance in an Indifferent Town

Posted from:Andoas.
We’re still here, stuck in Andoas on a grey wet day in January. The vehicle turned up from Nuevo Jerusalem at about two this afternoon, five hours late. Then the driver told us he had to do a driving course with the oil company and would be back later. He’s still not back so we hope we can drive out tomorrow at first light. It’s frustrating as hell.

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Steve Robinson

Heal the World (I'll tell you later)

Posted from: Andoas.
We're in Andoas at last. It's been a mission to get here, as always. First the oil company agreed we could fly up here on one of their planes. Then they decided we couldn't (we later heard one of their platforms had been peacefully occupied by the Achuar so they didn’t want us around). Then they said we could fly again but then they bumped us off the flight. Eventually we reverted to Plan A, which was the usual option of three days on a boat with a stop-off in the Prison Hotel of San Lorenzo and the usual boat diet of crackers, tinned cheese, frankfurters and tinned peaches.

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Willow Murton

Arriving in Andoas

The team arrive at the petrol town of Andoas

Bruce Parry

Boat Politics

Posted from: Somewhere between Andoas and San Lorenzo
It’s great to be off again after our break and cool to meet up with our new team member Pete. He seems like a right laugh and though we all miss Zubin it’s great to have an influx of fresh blood. He’s very experienced and used to this sort of shoot and his dry sense of humor has had me in stitches more than once already. Everyone else seems on great form and we’re all re-energised for the next phase, which includes (as ever) a lot of journeying.

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Steve Robinson

Drowning and Calling for Help

Posted from: River Maranon between Yurimaguas and San Lorenzo.
We're back on the river again, going back to San Lorenzo, the ugly town on the banks of the Maranon. It's cold and grey and we're all wrapped up in Goretex and fleece as if we were on the Wye, not a tributary of the Amazon just south of the equator. Everyone is hunkered down inside the private world of their Mp3 players.

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Wet Welcoming

  • Pete
  • 11 Jan 08, 02:03 PM

Posted from:River Maranon between Yurimaguas and San Lorenzo
My first day on the river started well enough. As we clambered onto our 25 foot aluminium boat, my now new chums gallantly offered me the front seat. How thoughtful - as a sound recordist I rather appreciated being furthest away from the outboard motor. I settled in with my book and camera, only vaguely aware of the muffled sounds of bag shuffling and zip fasteners behind me. As the banks of the Maranon began to glide effortlessly past me, I turned round to share this moment with my colleagues. Having nested into a carefully arranged pile of all available soft bags, they were fast asleep. Well it was 5.30 in the morning and the dawn was breaking. Ah, bless them, I thought and returned to enjoy the rest of the journey.

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Bruce Parry

Following the coca leaf downriver

Starting in the high Andes and weaving our way down to the Apurimac and Ene Valleys, the first phase of our trip (which will probably make the basis of programme one) has an interesting central theme to it: cocaine. And what a story it has turned out to be. Looking back at it all now I can say that I’m glad I’m still in South America and not in the edit room back in Cardiff trying to put it all together as there was a lot to take in.

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Matt Norman

Love in a Cold Climate

Posted from: near Wijint

We left the Achuar village of Wijint with not the greatest of send offs, just two small boys waving at us - and they were there to take a pee.

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Happiness in an Ugly Town

Posted from: San Lorenzo
I'm in the little jungle town of San Lorenzo. The electric light is coming on and off after a storm so I hope I won't lose what I write. I've just shown the website to a lovely girl called Frida who works in this tiny wooden internet cafe and I was going to call this town a 'horrible little place in the middle of the jungle' but I don't want to offend Frida if she ever reads this blog!

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Zubin Sarosh

Christmas reflections

Posted from: Wijint
Following Matt's return home it was time to regroup and carry on with the filming. Steve Robinson, his boss, came out to replace him and we recommenced our journey down the river. Morale was obviously quite low at this point but following an amazing three-day boat journey through spectacular landscapes we all perked up and continued with the job at hand.

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Bruce Parry

Poison Fishing

Posted from: Wijint
We got up pretty early to trek to the fishing spot. It was a bit of an epic trek! There was loads to carry: I had a basket full of leaves weighing about 20kg, which I’d strapped to my head and we had the massive Z1 camera.

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Matt Norman

Turtle Swims to Freedom

Posted from: Wijint
Today we have been invited by Manto to go fishing with him and some other Achuar from the community. Zubin is so looking forward to this. He’s been wanting to catch a fish on the Amazon since we started this adventure and at every opportunity we have either been too busy filming or the boat has been travelling too fast. This scene should be great as we will be experiencing one of the Achuar’s traditional methods of community fishing so Zubin has promised us that he will be supplying the much needed food for us to eat tonight.

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Steve Robinson

Three Days on a Boat

Posted from: On the way to Wijint
I never want to see a boat again in my life. We've been on this bloody boat for three days now and still haven't got there. The river is low and strewn with fallen trees. And we damaged the propeller on the first day so progress is painfully slow.

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Steve Robinson

A Dose of Swiss Efficiency

Posted from: San Lorenzo
We're on our way to visit the Achuar people, way up near the border with Ecuador. We left Pucallpa today on a charter flight, with a very efficient Swiss gentleman called Rudolph at the controls. He wore long socks with his shorts and had a neatly shaven head, which we thought was a good sign. A lot of small planes come down in remote regions of the Amazon, so Rudolph's brisk Swiss efficiency put us at ease as we loaded up the plane.

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Steve Robinson

Film one nearly done

Posted from: Ashaninka Village near Catunga.
Thank God. It feels like we've arrived somewhere safe at last. We're in a tiny Ashaninka village four hours downriver and it is quite beautiful.

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Steve Robinson

Amazon United F.C.

Posted from: Catunga.
Catunga is a weird place. Two years ago a local logger built a road through the forest and roads change things quickly around here. In return for the right to log the forest around Catunga, he built them wooden houses, probably made out of their own wood.

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Steve Robinson

Cocaine Badlands

Posted from: Miraflores / Lima.
It's strange to be back in Peru so soon. I wasn't expecting to be here again for a while, but have come out to take over from Producer/Director Matt Brandon who fell seriously ill just over a week ago. I saw him at the clinic yesterday and he seems to be recovering really well.

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Matt Norman

A Surreptitious Journey

Posted from: Louisiana
5.00am: There is a beautiful sunrise and the mist crosses the mountains as Bruce, Luis and myself meet early. We await the possible go-ahead of a filming opportunity with illegal cocaine paste manufacturers. After lots of pacing and phone calls from Luis he finally gives us the thumbs-up. We load a lightweight shooting kit and jump into an unassuming car with local San Francisco number plates.

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Steve Robinson

Matt B taken seriously ill

Posted from: The Amazon production office, Cardiff
Producer/director Matt B is taken seriously ill in Peru. Steve Robinson explains what happened

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Matt Brandon

Time out

Posted from: Louisiana.
The trip so far has been incredible - the source of the Amazon, Rodolfo and his family, an epic trek, white-water rafting, and a lot more - but I'd be lying if I said that we didn't all enjoy a couple of nights in a hotel in Ayacucho and choosing food from a menu.

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Matt Norman

Magic Hour with the Coca Growers

Posted from: Louisiana / San Fransisco
At about 4pm we all meet up and take a 30-minute drive to join up with a family of coca growers. It has been difficult for Luis to find a family who are happy for us to film them, as they are very aware that the growing of coca is controversial and they do not wish to get into trouble with their community.

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Matt Norman

U Can’t Touch This

Posted from: Louisiana
Luis, our multitalented fixer-translator-local producer, has pre-warned us that we should do our utmost to arrive at our destination before dark. This is because the region we are heading for is the primary cocaine producing area of Peru and is pretty much lawless.

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Matt Norman

On the Bandit Trail

Posted from: Ayacucho.
John, our fixer, is in our vehicle and says that the road ahead is notorious for bandits holding vehicles up at gunpoint. He says there are two roads to Ayacucho and to keep safe we should not take the left fork ahead as that’s where the bandits hide ready for an ambush. We take the right fork - hopefully the bandits don’t try this road for once!

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Matt Norman

Bone shaking all the way to Ayacucho

Posted from: en route to Ayacucho.
So we’ve got the all clear to make our journey into the Red Zone, which means that today will involve another two hour journey in a bumpy vehicle. Today is not Zubin's day as, highly inconveniently, he has the runs - not the best on a long drive like this.

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Matt Norman

Amazon team enter the Red Zone

Posted from:Machu Puente
In a few days time our journey will take us into the coca growing and cocaine trafficking area of Peru known as the 'Red Zone'. This region is pretty much a no-go area, even to the Peruvian army. This means that a mix of local militia police, members of the Ashaninka community and the drug traffickers control the area.

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Bruce Parry

Anticipation in the High Andes

Posted from:Cusco
Here we are! The team and I have been out in Peru for about five days and I'm now sitting in blazing sunshine in Colca lodge in the High Andes. Ever since I've arrived I've been overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of Peru, from the temples in Cusco to the incredible mountain scenery of yesterday's fifteen-hour drive.

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Steve Robinson

The Adventure Begins...

Posted from: Cusco
The team has finally arrived in Cusco after a gruelling three days travelling. Amazingly all of our 45 boxes and bags got here too, and the two Matts and Zubin are now in the hotel lobby with cables and cameras spread everywhere, trying to cut down on equipment before they leave for the source of the Amazon, which is up in the high Andes.

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Zubin Sarosh

Twenty Hours in Transit

Posted from:Lima
Just arrived at our hotel in Lima and we need to be up in two hours so everyone has crashed in their rooms for a power-nap. I've had too much coffee so I've decided to sleep during the journey to Cusco tomorrow instead.

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Matt Brandon

His and His watches

Matt B and Zubin show off their new purchases

Bruce Parry

Taxi for Parry

First look at the capital city Lima


Stuck in Miami

Posted from:Miami
The epic journey has started, and stalled! After sitting in the plane on Miami runway for two hours we were ordered to leave the aircraft. We waited another two hours, then queued for one hour to get a hotel voucher, then the printer broke down and the queue rushed off somewhere else with people scrambling to get to the front.

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