Last stop in Amazonia....

Trip Start Jan 04, 2008
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12
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Trip End Apr 08, 2008


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Flag of Peru  ,
Monday, January 28, 2008

We decide to stay an extra couple of days...it's too relaxing and beautiful...hammocks on the porch...quiet, isolated, all good except for the mosquitoes.  Our friends David and Sandra, head out...we've got the place to ourselves...except for the staff...so the next day feels like a family outing...me, Lisa, Frank, and about 7 staff members of all ages from 2 to 60 years...head out to see an indigenous family and a tropical fruit farmer.  This indigenous family was relocated by missionaries who apparently had to walk 4 months thru the jungle just to find them...frankly, I can't even imagine the missionaries I've met walking 4 months thru the jungle...and, of course, I wonder what they might be doing in the jungle in the first place...but that's another issue.  Anyway, this family was relocated 5 hours up-river from their original homes... their lives were changed, they now wear clothes instead of bark tunics, they learned about different foods, alcohol, some learned to speak Spanish,  they learned that not everybody had 4-5-6-20 wives...and I'm not sure if they're considering all this learning a good thing or a bad thing.  But this old guy, actually he's less than 10 years older than me, is completely entertaining even though he's mostly speaking his native tongue with some Spanish thrown in.  I understand him for the most part but even if I didn't, I'm enjoying his routine... his family is able to earn some money by teaching visitors about jungle life and as a visitor, I'm glad we're here.  He's surrounded by family, lots of his kids and their partners....and one of his 4 wives.  I do my part and buy a little seed bracelet that I really like, although I realize quickly that it can't get wet or the seeds start to germinate.  A living bracelet.... 
 
Then we visit this fruit farming family...they came from Cuzco to tend to this farm that has over a dozen types of fruits....and we taste all of them.  There are the standards...mangos, papayas, bananas...and then there are a lot that I've never even heard of...ranging from creamy, rich, juicy fruits to tart, tangy succulent fruits.  It's an interesting visit and I really appreciate Frank bringing us to these places that we probably wouldn't be quite able get to on our own.  Tomorrow, we try again to go to Isla de los Monos, a relocation project for some monkeys that had been trapped and are free to live in a protected area on their own.  I know you've got to hike through deep, deep wet mud to get onto the island...we already tried once and it was over the boots so we had to turn back.  But perhaps the water level dropped a bit...we'll try again...mostly I just like being on the river...
 
Back from Monkey Island...no, the water level didn't drop any...so we wade in with boots to our knees but it doesn't take long before I feel the water deluge over the top...they are full of water and heavy...every once in a while I pour them out but then we submerge again....looking for monos.... with about 6 Peruanos who are making monkey sounds and yelling out for them...it's very entertaining.   We keep walking...the mosquitoes are swarming around the back of the guy in front of me...I've got my DEET on but I can feel them biting my shoulders...we cross a submerged log bridge...which means two logs that have been laid across the water but are not attached to anything...I'm in water up to my thighs...got to get the camera out of my pocket so it doesn't get wet.   We've brought fruits for the monkeys...as I said, there's not a lot of food on this island of relocation for them so when guides come out here they bring bananas...plus it lets you get really close to the monkeys.  But they are wild animals and people have been bitten by them so the guides are a little cautious.  The monkeys come in really close for the food, grabbing it out of our hands...we're face to face with brown capuchins...one has 4 bananas stuffed in his mouth but his gaze is directed at us...but then the evil monkey, the biter, appears.  We're thinking...let's take our time and watch the monkeys...after all we've worked hard to get here.   But the guides get visibly nervous...we have to hustle out of there...thru the swamps, the underwater bridges, the mud... Johann starts rattling in Spanish phrases that basically say...walk faster, faster, faster, this monkey is dangerous...I look back and can see his nervousness on his face...he's the last in our group  and would be the first bitten... he's keeping his eye on the monkeys while imploring us to exit muy rapido.  The evil one is following our trail...I'm going as fast as I can but it's slow going ...two of our group fall off the bridge into chest high water...not a big deal but I'm still protecting my camera...I'm trying to keep it above water line but all it takes is one misplaced step... The river is in sight...the boat awaits...slog thru some more sticky mud and finally we all make it without a monkey attack...but with some great monkey pictures, both in my camera and in my mind, and with half the swamp in our boots. 
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