"THE LUNGS OF THE WORLD"
Trip Start Jul 12, 2009
255Trip End Aug 18, 2010
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
We were woken up by a bright and breezy telephone call from someone at the Lodge reminding us that the bus will be by at 8.30 to collect us for the journey to the Lodge. The trip was going to take about three hours and in three stages – crossing the Negro River first in a car ferry and then travelling on a road for 78 km passing Amazonian creeks and lakes. Finally we headed north to the small town of Novo Airao and then onto a dirt track, which led us to the lodge.
In the bus with us were two couples – one from Los Angeles, Ann and Moose and another from Holland – Caes and Inez. Thankfully they were happy with children and within minutes we were all sharing our stories of Brazil and Argentina
The camp was in a natural setting with two communal areas – a bar and resting area and restaurant. After a much needed lunch we had a visit to the Tiriricas Community, a Caboclo village in the Negro River. As there are no roads the only form of transportation was via boat.
Silvio, our guide accompanied us and introduced us to the life of the Tiriricas people. Their main form of income is making barbecue sticks. They also make manioc flour, which they use to trade for other essential items from the boats that visit them. They also raise money by selling handicrafts to the tourists that visit them.
Their homes were more like wooden huts on small stilts. Looking inside most was exceptionally neat and tidy. I spoke to a lady who was making tracksuit bottoms for the school children working on an old manual sewing machine.
Fynn and Edie played football and were eventually joined by a little boy. Lily chatted to a little girl and then it was time to return to the Lodge.
No rest for the wicked as after supper we were back in our life jackets and off for a night safari
Silvio has eyes like a Hawk as he could spot an Amazon Tree Boa from the other side of the river. He managed to pluck it from its tree and dangle it in front of us all as he casually introduced us to the ways of the snake. We spotted a sloth but he was too far away to even get a photo. However, after spotting the red eyes of a Caiman we managed to get close to one and within seconds Silvio had grabbed its tail and plucked it out of the water. Happily for me (and others on the boat) it was only two and a half metres long but it belongs to the more aggressive breed of Caiman.
At the end of the safari we ventured into a lagoon where we were entertained by the sound of frogs. A choir of frogs. Silvio then pulled from a leaf the tinniest bright green frog, Hyla Frog, one of many responsible for the chorus. This frog is poisonous. It is not born poisonous but it becomes poi nous from all the spiders and ants that it eats. It is so toxic that if Silvio had put his fingers in his eye after holding it would blind him
The next day we had a bow and arrow session culminating in a competition, which I am happy to report, I won! Then after lunch we went to see the Pink Dolphins. These were amazing creations, a blend of pink and grey with long noses with little sharp teeth inside that they remind you of a hedge cutter. They were gentle and sweet creatures and when they came up you could rub their bellies and their skin was super soft. Ann and Inez went into the water to feed them, which I considered very brave.
Afterwards we went to a project for locals. A resident set the project up for the men of the village for something to do. He collects the waste wood from the local ship building area and locals make handicrafts which 90% are exported.
The following day we were taken by Krishna our other guide on a Jungle Hike. This was excellent and possibly one of my highlights as Krishna guided us through the delights of the Amazon. There were so many medicinal uses that it was as if you were walking through a free pharmacy. Also an understanding of how the natives survive by using the fauna and flora of the Amazon, from using the palm tree leaves in the night as markings as they are fluorescent, rubbing the Tapiba Ants on your arms as they create a red powder and their acid spray means that animals cannot smell you and the mosquitoes avoid you
The heavens opened up at the end of our jungle hike and we had to canoe back to the Lodge. We had a shallow canoe and Fynn was at the front enthusiastically scoping more water in the boat. I am afraid to admit I lost it, my survival technique washed away – I just wanted a speedboat and a towel.
Our final day consisted of a canoe ride (slightly more confident today and in a more stable canoe) through the Amazonian creeks and flooded forest. The water was clear in some areas and Ian's boat capsized (he had Fynn) as they limbo’d under a fallen tree and Fynn and Edie used it as an opportunity for a swim through the waters.
In the afternoon we found ourselves Piranha fishing once again but this time from a boat. There were no bites until we moved to our third site and then I caught three and a French visitor caught a large one which she and her husband (a Chef) ate that evening for supper.
What an experience. What a special place. What a high to leave Brazil on. To truly appreciate the diversity of Brazil it is important to visit both the Amazon and the Pantanal. The former for the rivers, jungle and understanding of native living and the latter for the animals
Brazil has many places to visit; the culture is rich and the history fascinating. As much as the Carnival is a worldwide calendar event you certainly do not have to wait for the event to visit, no one would be disappointed. However, if you do get the opportunity to visit during the carnival we would recommend throwing some money at it and watching it in Rio and then flying to Salvador or Olinda for a different Carnival atmosphere.
Thank you to everyone who made our time in Brazil so enjoyable and interesting. We all had a fantastic time and met some lovely people.