Yea, the Amazon, that big jungle thing with rivers in South America you see on tv. The Amazon is a moist broadleaf forest that covers about 5,500,000 sq km. Brazil contains approx. 60% of it but overall it can be accessed by 9 countries in South America. I happened to be in Ecuador at the time, which although hosts only a small pecentage in comparison, its varied geography and equatorial location makes it one of the most bio-diverse jungles in the world.
Ive heard the mosquitos are renlentless in the Amazon, however luckily this part of the jungle doesnt get too many so my weak Irish skin could relax for the most part. The wooden lodges were nice, albeit basic. Besides a mosquito net and some elevation from the jungle floor, there wasnt much keeping the jungle activity from getting to you. On one occasion a tarantula spider the size of an adults open hand rested one metre from my head while sitting on one of the lodges couches, it was one of many tarantulas lounging about the lodge over the course of the trip. Another moment one night saw Irish companion, Lorcan, raise his feet in despair as a rat darted across the floorboards. We laughed after, not because of the fright but mainly because we knew that the rat was not gonna last long in the jungle, LOL! Bats and big ass flying insects zipped through the mid night air and the noise of the jungle at night time is extremely loud, dang animals having a party out there!
There had been a lot on the itenerary but all encompassed some kind of transport on the river or river networks everyday, be it motor boat or paddling (video above). Everytime, although with some patience, some form of wildlife could be seen (endless amount of birds, multicoloured!). Pink river dolphins and caiman alligators were present here, although it was hard to really feast your eyes on these evasive creatures as they would often momentarily bob to the surface at a safe distance. The sunsets on the Laguna Grande were worth a mention, with its still waters and relatively clear colour in comparison to the more murky black and brown rivers of the deeper jungle. Overall the weather was good for this time of year, although thunder in the distance was an hourly occurence and became, along with the background noise of insect hum, a quintessential sound of the jungle. On the third day it poured rain, true Amazon-style, forcing us mere mortals to curl up in the fetal position in our rain ponchos. I was stupid enough to film that, now rendering my smartphone extremely glitchy.
The last day at the local communties was a real adventure. It rained throughout but we got to see the locals up front & personal. The children playing, the women cooking and the men having the banter at the local bar. We were supposed to visit the local Shaman (priest) who would tell us about the famous jungle medicine, Ayuascha. A powerful hallucinagen made from jungle vines that is believed to remove the bad energies from the body. For the first timers, apparently, this syrupy potent jungle juice will give you one hour of extreme vomiting and diarrohea! I didnt try it this time but just managed to get a taste of it. The Shaman didnt turn up that day, he was fishing! After travelling down stream to find Shaman no.2, we found him skulling beer & spirits at the local village bar, dressed in a black gown, front teeth missing and...well... the life of the party! nice gig there bro!
The trip back to the lodge that evening wont be forgotten either. I dont like to spill the beans too much on this whole event but lets say our drivers had a little too much local Chicha juice in the community village which made getting back to base in the dark a slight problem, not to mention they didnt have a proper light to navigate with! In the end, the gringo passengers had to navigate the way through the eerie dark Amazon using small toy flashlights. Highly unprofessional from the crew but I wouldnt change a thing, it made the trip!
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