I had never really had a picture in mind of what the jungle – The Amazonas – would look like. I guess my only idea was based on Walt Disney´s ´The Jungle Book` as a place filled with all these exotic animals – not quite! I had also not envisioned been guided through The Amazonos by an Indian Rastafarian from Guiana. He was quite a character, a all time Mr Cool, jungle junkie and nature lover who loved to sing ´Everything is going to be alright`. He was at total ease with his surroundings which I found extremely alien and at times intimidating.
I spent three days and two nights in the jungle covered in my new perfume – also known as DET – on both body and clothes. I faired better than the rest of the group in the bite department but did annoy myself that I had to drink so much water as the result was always more more bites on the bum – those sneaky mossies just seemed to be waiting for the very moment.
I enjoyed the boat trips up and down the small channels of the Rio Amazonas for the breeze it brought in the heat, the distant view of the dense jungle and to sit quietly for a good couple of hours trying to catch Piranhas with pieces of fresh chicken. I managed to get a few nibbles as they feasted on my bait while clearly avoiding being caught – I am sure they must love novice fisherman. A few others were a lot luckier and it resulted in Piranha soup for lunch the following day.
Our night adventure on the water was eerie and exciting as we motored along the unnaturally calm river from bank to bank looking for Cayman which would be big enough to eat. I have never been on a hunt before and it is some serious business. One of the local jungle residents easily balanced on the boat and managed very quickly to spear and catch a female cayman. It was tied up for safe transportation back to base – well for the benefit of the passengers that was.
The next day we once again ventured on the river in search of some Pink Dolphins (yes they do exist) before trekking into the jungle for the night. I was not overly excited about the prospect but still needed to see what this jungle talk was all about. We made our camp (15 minute walk from the waters edge) using all resources the jungle could provide us with. So while some people helped chop down trees, others swept the area clean, built a BBQ or started marinating our skinned cayman in garlic, salt, lime and citrus herbs found in the jungle. I did ask myself at this stage who on earth would ever want to be on Survivor.
The cayman was just yummy – a smooth smokey flavour from the fire and neither tasted of chicken nor fish. It was not all about building camp and we made tracks into the jungle to explore. Our Rastafarian guide showed us medicinal plants for malaria, cuts, bruises, water vines (whose water tasted very sweet), how to make fans out of the local palm tree leaves, crack open fresh Brazil nuts with a machete and I guess the best highlight of the day was to see a tarantula.
Back at camp we set up our hammocks and mossie nets before settling down on a log to enjoy the relaxing properties of cacacha with dinner. Even with a few strategically placed candles the jungle was very very dark and I did hope that no snakes would be going for their nightly stroll. When it actually came down to going to bed it really was entertaining and annoying all at the same time as some people hammocks broke when safely settled inside and then to top it all once we were all in bed I found myself hitting the hard wet ground with a big thud – along with everyone else. This happened a few times and at this stage I did not appreciate the quirky saying of our guide ´Everything is going to be alright` and wished ever so hard that the morning would come so we could leave this place that made me feel very uncomfortable.
I had a big smile as we got back on the boat and smiled even more when I got to see a sloth for the very first time. My jungle trip was finally over and I could not wait to get back to the city of Manaus.
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Green with envy!!!
Hey my dear… your jungle trip sounds AMAZING!!!! I’m very jealous and now DESPERATELY want to quit my job and do it all again!!! You sound like you are having great fun…. even if you hd to trek through the mozzie filled jungle….
L xxxx From , on Mar 14, 2008 at 08:37AM