Indiana, Peru
2° 30' S 73° 3' W
Jan 24, 2008 20:58
Distance 0km

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Text written in: English (US)

Day 2 In the Amazon Rainforest

My Timex watch alarm beeped through the rainforest at 5:20 am this morning.  Our 'wake up knock' came around 5:30 am.

We were having breakfast at ExplorNapa lodge this morning (1.5 hours away by speedboat) before our hike, Canopy Walkway Tour, lunch, Shaman lesson and local Sugar Cane Rum Factory Tour... Busy day!

Our small boat met up with the larger boat (full of 20 other Canadians touring Peru and staying at the posher Lodge).

Had a great breakfast together, then went our separate ways - Tyler and I still with our private guide Cesar.  Have I mentioned Cesar grew up in the Amazon at a village nearby? He went to High School in Iquitos and learned English.  Cesar is an outstanding guide and is constandly teaching us.

We hiked 45 minutes in the rainforest - Cesar lead the way as a) he knew the way and b) he had to check for snakes on the ground.  Yes, that's right.  We were warned of three snakes in the Amazon.  Two deadly if not treated.  And one just plain deadly.  Period.  And one we were told to turn the other way and run from.  "If that snake keeps following you take off your shirt, throw it to the ground and keep running!"  (I don't think that was a ploy to see me without my top on either!)

After no snake spottings (thank Goodness) we were at the Canopy Walkway (much like a Capilano suspension bridge - but 14 of them - and much skinner walkways).  They are the World's Longest Canopy walkway, connecting tree to tree, progressively getting higher.  At our highest point we were 118 feet above the rainforest floor.  Made for some good bird, butterfly and monkey watching.  And a nice little lesson in rainforest vegetation to boot. 

After lunch at the ExplorNapa, Tyler, myself and a couple from Toronto that mostly spoke Spanish walked to see the Shaman (Medicine Doctor).  He showed us certain types of plants and trees that Shaman create Amazon medicine from.  For example:  He crunched a leaf and it cleared our sinuses when we inhaled it, we chewed a twig and it numbed our tongue (used as topical medicine), we rubbed the Dragons Blood Tree sap on our skin and it formed a lotion, stopping the itch of a mosquito bite.  Very interesting stuff.

Want to hear the best part? I was the volunteer for a Shaman ceremony.  I sat up straight, closed my eyes and relaxed.  Tyler filmed the ceremony so I'm not sure what all was done, but the Shaman lit a big fatty smoke, chanted, wafted me with smoke, blew smoke into the top of my head (lips on head; full on), patted me with a bouquet of dried leaves and chanted some more.  I felt weightless, airy and terrific afterwards.  At the end of the ceremony I opened my eyes and he rubbed a floral fragrance on the palm of my hands and I was to rub it three times on my cheeks.  What an experience! 

There was one more stop by boat (as if this day couldn't get any cooler).  We stopped at the local rum factory, a village quite close (by boat) to our lodge.  This is the village Cesar grew up in and the rum factory and local bar belongs to his Uncle and Aunt.

He showed us the sugar cane fields, and the great big old cast iron machine (brought over from England) used to squish the sugar cane.  Horses help to run this machine by walking round and round in a circle, pulling the mechanism that spins the 'sugar cane squisher'.  Tyler got to be the horse, Cesar fed the sugar cane into the machine and I held the bucket.  We had a blast.

From there it is put into a trough to ferment, then a giant barrel to cook.  Viola - Rum!

He brought us up to the bar where his Aunt brought for sampling their four types of rum as well as sugar cane molasses (which we had on bread).  White Rum, Sugar Cane Molasses Rum, Ginger Rum and Seven Root Rum (rum with seven types of tree root juice said to be the 'underwear breaker' or the 'Amazon Viagra').  We purchased a small bottle of Ginger Rum to bring back with us for 10 Soles.  Hopefully it'll last the trip.

Made it back to the lodge and took a nice cool, then started writing this blog.  While writing the rain started up - fast and furious.  The thunder and lightening came, too.  It's strength shook dining room and you could feel it rumbling deep within you.  Deafening and wild! Love the storms.

Had another good dinner and dessert and washed up for bed.  I think it was 'lanterns out' by 9 pm.

PS:  We were previously writing this at a table in the hammock hut.  A red parrot flew in and stole our pack of soda crackers right off our table! Then a blue parrot swooped in and stole the pack of crackers from him.  They wouldn't leave us alone as they were looking for more.  Afraid their sharp beaks were going to puncture the screen of the Palm Pilot we moved into the dining room!

PPS:  I should also mention we no longer have the ENTIRE lodge to ourselves - a group of college students from Florida are here with their instructors (that adds about 30 more people, give or take).  Anyway, quite a difference when you go to bed and the snoring neighbour in the room next door drowns out the rainforest noises!

Photos / videos of "Day 2 In the Amazon Rainforest":

Walking Into Explornapa Lodge for Breakfast Friend or Foe? The George of the Jungle Vines in the Amazon Bird Watching on Our Canopy Walk A Cluster of Catapilers On Canopy Walkway Tour One of the Many Plants In the Amazon Our Highest Vantage Point in the Amazon TNA in the Rainforest TNA on a Canopy Walk Tyler Climbing Up Amy Walking Over Kisses on the Canopy (gag) Hiked Through the Forest ACTS:  Amazon Conservatory of Tropical Studies Bird Nests The Largest Rodent in the Amazon.  His Name is Charlie! Lunch at Explornapa As Stated Shaman with Pickeled Dangerous Snakes Local Bird Heading Back to the Boat Tyler on the Boat Tyler Making Rum at the Local Rum Factory The Parrot That Stole Our Crackers