Trip Start Dec 26, 2009
95Trip End Dec 22, 2010
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"Cuidado; hay mucha mantarays en esta rio" translates to, be careful there are many sting rays in this river. I quickly snatched my jandles(flip flops) and was soon trudging through the river simultaneously extracting them when stuck in the mud below. This may have been slightly stupid on my behalf. Theres this invention called a shoe, in which I neglected to utilise. However from many bad experiences in the army, I couldn't allow my shoes to become soaked. Now if somebody has the nerve to tell me I'm not a true Kiwi, I can tell them where to go. How about you walk through an Amazonian river infested with stingrays for a whole day(and as Tam would say), then you can talk to me
Sabastien and I decided to evade the normal three day Amazonian jungle tour, thinking it would be to touristy and because of the high frequency of people stamping through the same area, their wouldn't be much chance of seeing anything spectacular; other than medicinal plants and insects. The result; a five day experimental excursion through Pilon Laja Reserve.
Accompanying us were two guides; Ninjo and Darwin. The necessity for two goes beyond me, just one more mouth to feed. Their relationship, similar to that of master and apprentice. The cook learns off the guide and later becomes one. I must admit, having the flexibility to leave the cook behind to prepare meals, while we go off gallivanting about in search of wild animals was quite handy. Plus consuming succulent pancakes with jam in the morning was more than a moral booster for me.
Darwin descending from one of the Amazonian "communities" was brought up in the jungle. His father a previous jaguar hunter, Darwin had to have attained similar skills. His knowledge of the fauna and flora was impressive and his ability to simply just know his location within the dense, sometimes confusing Amazon astounded me
Although skilled in these area, he was laking in others; planning preparation and execution. This encompassed with an experimental excursion was an equation for either a really terrible experience or an inspirationally surprising one. Sadly it was the former.
Terrible is a strong word, disappointing would be more accurate. Sabastien and I did stumble upon some wild bores. Their musty stench so strong and thick, you could smell them before you could see them. Stalking them through their habitat, we stumbled upon a heard of around 80 plus. They started to get aggressive and we were soon running like little girls...well maybe just teenage girls
Great thing about the Amazon, their is a vast amount amount of fish in its rivers. All you need is to find a frog and you have yourself a good size cat fish; a spear and you'll soon be slurping stingray soup, we didn't go hungry.
The need to experience sighting a jaguar in the wild had consumed me to the point of lying down on the banks of a river late at night, in hope one would prowl buy
His machete raised high in the air, abrubtly slashing the once untouched fauna of the Amazon, chop after chop. There was no stopping Darwin as we advanced deeper into the Amazon. We were bush bashing and as Sabastien quite rightly pointed out. The chance of observing animals with the sound of us destroying the forest, was as much chance as Bonno has solving the world wide problem of AIDS.
This " bush bashing" reminded me of the army. I wasn't enjoying myself and started to think about memories past. Without the possibility of discovering animals, I realised that stumbling through this forest, was definalty not one of my many passions.
"And on the last day, you'll make a raft and float down the Rio Benny". These words rolled off the lips of the man working in agency, as if it was a usual occurrence which encounters no problems. In reality, we spent most of the fourth day in search of special wood which wasn't found. The guides had no idea what to do and one of them, Darwin unprofessionally turned to the bottle. To resolve his inner demons he decided to "discuss things" with Sabastien; who like I was pissed off.
Instead we left via Darwin's cousins boat, inclusive of a faulty motor leaving us slowly drifting down the Rio Benny in the hope it may miraculously initiate. Sabastien and I just laughed; It seemed like the more ridiculous the situation got, the more convinced we were that everything would be fine. One hour later, the motor somehow regained life and we were happily exiting the Amazon into civilisation.