Monday, September 27, 2010

25 August: Amazon Jungle

This morning we were up early and headed via boat to an Oxbow lake where we got to see Giant River Otter, Black Caiman and loads of birds, especially Hoatzin. We were very lucky to see one of the otters and the caiman having a bit of a fight. Apparently they aren't usually both around during the day so generally can share the same area.

We stopped for a while and used raw beef to try and catch piranha which was great fun, even thought I didn't actually catch one myself. They are quite fascinating, their teeth look like really tiny shark teeth. And the fish themselves are quite small too.

Then we went back to the lodge and had a quick break before a few of us headed off to try and spot some macaw or toucans (I *really* wanted to see a toucan for some reason) from the bird-hide at the clay-licks. Sadly we didn't see any there :( But we did see a couple of scarlet macaw in the canopy above us on the walk home. Wow, they are bright, so really you'd think they'd be easier to spot!

We also heard such loud howler monkeys as we were walking back. It was incredible, such a guttural sound! Our guide told us that the alpha-male was obviously warning another monkey who was encroaching on his territory. Once back at the lodge, we actually managed to find the tree that the little group of howler monkeys (about 3 females, the alpha male and a few babies!) was in and stood watching them and listening for quite a while. Very cool.

And then we all went for lunch, we've had some really nice food at this lodge :) After lunch, @UselessRob & I headed down to the river so that I could go for a swim. I figure it's the closest I'll get to actually swimming in the Amazon, and I have swum in the Nile too, so I kinda had to :) The water was fabulous compared to the boiling air temperature although it was pretty shallow and *very* sandy. A stronger current than I was expecting too.

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Then we had a chance to relax a little more before taking the boat down-river to a Shaman's botanical garden for a presentation of some of the Amazon plants (although we sadly did not actually meet the Shaman). Our first interactive experience was all being given a little piece of a leaf and told to chew on it all together. Which we did, staring at each other blankly wondering what it was supposed to do. And then suddenly the flavour kicked in, like a very sharp peppery flavour and I spat mine out. And then we realised it had a similar effect to Novacaine ... our mouths were all numb! So peculiar.

Further along they showed us two fruits, one that temporarily provided a bright red dye, which the girls all got put on their lips like lipstick. The second was a fruit that we were told was the Amazonian Henna, about 5 of us were brave enough to let them finger-paint it onto our arms, I got a heart. It goes on completely clear, but a few hours later I could see it was starting to turn blue. By the time I went to bed I thought I'd got off lightly. Side note: The next morning it was dark blue and I had a smudge of it above my elbow (obviously from folding my arm while it was still clear) that looked like a bruise. It lasted about a week and a half and definitely caused plenty of questions once I was back home - haha. I think it'd be pretty awesome if we coulda got cool intricate designs like they do with actual henna ... I wonder if the tree would grow here ;) Haha.

Before we left we also got to taste a few of their "potions" which just mostly tasted like strong alcohol.

By then it was dark and we headed back to the lodge for dinner. It is our last night all together because our tour leader and one of the Aussie girls aren't going back to Lima with us tomorrow so a few of us stayed up drinking and chatting. The most peculiar thing was finding frogs sitting in the toilet bowls once the electricity had gone out (it's only on between 5 & 9pm for charging cameras etc.)

I have had a lovely time in the Amazon, although I'll admit to being a little disappointed that we didn't see any snakes or spiders or capybara ... or much wildlife at all, actually. Am devastated to realise that we actually only have one day left of our trip and most of that will be spent traveling back to Lima :(

2 comments:

Tamara said...

Wow... the piranha is prettier than I pictured.

You've seen some amazing wildlife just in this one day!

Angel said...

I would have loved to see snakes and spiders... and piranha fishing!?! How awesome is that!?!!

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