Day 4 Jungle Expo

Trip Start Jan 08, 2007
1
21
139
Trip End Oct 01, 2007


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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Got up early today despite the pounding head to have a bath and proper wash (with soap indeed) then Victor and I took the shotgun and went hunting through the deep jungle. Without my glasses I cant see nowt for love nor money but Victor has well trained, ever observant jungle eyes. He did manage to hit a bird but all we recovered was a few feathers splattered with blood. The rest had escaped into the foliage and we didnīt get another chance, such is the way of the jungle. He should me various tracks in the mud including what I think was made by an Oncilla and a mud patch created by a large Armadillo.
After brekkie Victor, Dan, Elisia and I went on a foraging mission for Palm hearts (Pushiwaa Yuyu - in Kichwa). I think the family has taken quite a shine to me as I spend all my time helping and trying to learn as much from each of them as possible. The young boy (Martin) back at the camp loves my tongue piercing and keeps sticking his tongue out at me so I show him mine. I also keep giving him sweets and lollies which of course is the easiest way to a child's heart (Elisia really appreciates this as well).
Palm heart collection involves axing a medium(at least 30 foot) sized palm tree just above where the "Devils Penis" roots stop and then finding the black part near the top(this is the growing part of the tree). Next you hack a metre length of the tree just above the black bit and use a machete to remove all the outer layers until reaching the succulent innards which consist of an inch diameter yellow heart. From all this it is obvious that in order to maintain their jungle(same as with the fire wood previously) most will never have the opportunity to observe these methods of survival in action, so I feel very privileged to have been part of this amazing opportunity (Thank you ever so much Dan). So anyway for the large amount of effort the reward is just enough to become part of a very nutritious meal for 4 persons hence we needed to fell yet another Palm (in fact we did 3 as the second fell in a very dangerous(Peligrosa) way so we left it in search of another safer option. It is also possible to use parts of the palm lower down but only after they have been soaked in water for at least a month.
Elisia prepared the hearts for lunch by chopping finely and wrapping in leaves. These packages where then placed in the embers to give an amazing smoky flavour like nothing Iīve ever tasted. The were extremely delicious and well worth the effort of collection. Elisia is an accomplished jungle chef, having prepared almost every meal since we entered but tonight will will prepare cock for ourselves! I refer to the remaining camp chicken we have been fattening up on yuka for the past 3 days. After killing it and watching the headless chicken jump around for a couple of minutes, it is submerged in boiling water to make the plucking of feathers a lot easier before gutting. Little bit of random info: did you know that male chickens also produce eggs!? They take 1 month for 1 egg and these eggs will never hatch but taste the same- I never knew this either!
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