Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Rumble in the Jungle

Welcome to the Amazon Jungle. 

You’d be crazy to go in there without a guide. Hiking is insane. Five minutes of walking and I didn’t know where I was, it all looked the same.

The river is the life of everything. We bathe in her, drink her, wash our clothes, dishes, move along her and feed from her. Village life is simple. 

Women run the town. The family I stayed with had four young children. The mother (only 32 years old) would cook, clean, fish – she knew how to do everything. We would load the canoe up with the kids and take off piranha fishing for the next day's breakfast. She was a skilled fisherwoman.

My bedtime was early as I craved the safety of my mosquito net. My sheets were from a hospital; they still had the logo and the splattered bloodstains. After a while my bug bites started to grow stuff but the kids helped me scrape them all out. 

The family sent me to school with the children for two days. They told me “your Spanish is so bad you need to go to school.” So I did, but I couldn’t even keep up with the five year olds. They all thought it was pretty funny. 

The Tarantula  We spotted its dark living hole just off the path, with a few big hairy legs and sparkling eyes barely visible. It took four people and a few large sticks to extract it unwillingly. It was everything I could have imagined – big, hairy, and totally unreal, like straight out of a movie. 

I’ll miss the morning swims and the sounds of the jungle. Taking a slow breath and swimming deeper and deeper into the cool brown water and racing the kids to the other side of the bank. The magic of  the life in the Amazon.