Monday, 24 June 2013

Amazonian Jungles

Amazonians, Colombian, 12th to 21st March, 2013

Calara ( my seat partner in the plane) was
concerned that my ride has not arrived at the Leticia airport. She waited with me till Nancy,my host, appeared. Actually our flights have come almost  half an eralier.Arrived at Nancy's within 10 minutes.          I gelt that I was in the Amazonian Jungle already.

Her La casa is one of the 5 indigenous style huts scattered all around in a jungle type settings.One hut for the living quarter and the other dining room, kitchen etc. Just basics. It really shook me off but recovered shortly after. Nancy went for her advance Spanish teaching course and I dosed I had woken up at 530AM this morning to catch the flight from Cali. In cali, I had challenged myself to take the bus instead of the Taxi. And I did succeed very easily to the   surprise of all at the hostel. All were concerned that I will never be able to sustain the morning  office rush.They did not know that I was in Mumbai for two years commuting every day in the local..where 10 million people commute each day.

Here I am in the Amazonia, fulfilling my childhood fantasy of visiting it one day.

Leticia is small little town... sharing the Amazons with Brazilia and Peru. Muy ricco, as every thing is transported via air. March is not really the rush tourist season but still lots of young enthusiastic explorers wandering in the streets.The town is dead by 9 PM except for some cafes and grocetarias.

It is over 35 degrees C here..and it is like that all the time except when it rains.

Had Indian style Tikkas ( Carne barbecued) on the street and a iced cold coffee on a posh newly opened cafe. Nancy did not get anything as many Colombian do at nite but had a herbal tea at the cafeteria.

Back to the Jungle resort (Our  huts) and after a little chit chat straight to the bed around 1030PM.. Wandering what people do in such small places for entertainment? We have no internet, a TV that needs repairs. Just a fan and a mosquito net in my upstairs small room...the attic. 

Armando, Nancy's college friend is in town.He will take us along to his little town Purto Nanrnio. Armando, is a qualified art professor at the local school, owns the hostel..Pachamucha, a painter, a fantastic cook, great salsa teacher, a dancer and above all a great soul.. Always smiling and joking.

Abeautiful, 5 hourboat ride from leticia to Purto Narnio. I was advised to have the ayahuasca experience tomorrow nite because it needs a two days of cleansing by taking only water and juices the ayahuasca experience in Ayahuasca post.

The third day we have to leave early in the morning to hike through the Abayuaca Jungle .

Armando, woke us up early to be ready for the hike.

It is a four hour hike  through one of the oldest jungle in the area.We go via a small boat to the San Marta indigenous township .. via the grande,        The Amazon rio and the abayuaca rio.A most scenic water route.

A great breakfast..all freshly prepared...pescado, arroz, lulo juice, plantain boiled, lemon wedge and a cup of freshly brewed leche coffee in one of the best scenic township of  Puerto Narnio. This town have some mystic feel about itself. Perhaps the spirits from last nite ayahuasca celebrations were still around us.

 On arrival at Santa Marta we were greeted by the local guide, Victor. He also owns the small hostel..only hammocks and a little  kitchen ...where only the hosts prepare and serve  the food .
After some tips and a little chitchat, we .. Anna,Christina..Ashok...embark on another journey through a forest full of history , a mystic feel, and full of diverse variety of trees of every shade, size ,age and colour.

Walking trees..      yes. so structured with multi legged roots. When the Sun cannot reach it..the tree in search of light slowly moves to a place where the sunshine pierce trough.

Flowers of intense beauty and fragrance as if welcoming us human in their abode.

Musical trees when struck with hammer produce musical echoing sounds.
Tress with roots walking overhead on  both the sides of the peatonal.

Mariposas of different sizes and colours..bringing fragrance from the flowers by teasingly touching us without being caught.

Walking through this jungle one feels as if you are visiting a zoo,a parque, a herbal garden, a remote resort,flower garden and a butterfly garden at the same time. You feel that the the jungle is some wise old man trying to tell us that it has seen it all through ages.
Small monkeys tarzaning above us in the tallest trees, showing off their acrobatic talents but shy to come down, jumbo black mushrooms, guinea pigs habitats, creeks, the pacha.. which has never seen sunshine..

The trees are very densely grown. Victor showed us  the great number of herbal plants..curing anything from diabetics to cancer and purifying and enhancing the immune system. The deliciosos tasting water giving trees.

Yes, the water tree. I have yet to taste such a marvellous drink of agua..complete with all the nutrients..needed for the growth of the plant. Victor cuts a tall branch and make four pieces two feet long ..through the centre of the branch you could see the veins and the transportation system of carrying this nourishing fluid to all the parts of the plant. This is nature at its best. We were all thirsty and drank almost four pieces of the branches each.
You could stay for ever at the final destination..a shed complete with room for 10 hammocks, a barbecue small hatched strand, a creek near by, trees of great shades and the quietness of the jungle. We relaxed for a while there and started our return journey, reluctantly. Vicor advised that it will be dark soon and it is dangerous to walk through at that time.

We found a bunch of bananas lying on the ground. Perhaps nature's gift to five hungry souls. We took one just for a taste, afraid may be not for our consumption but ended up finishing the fresh as one can get.

On arrival back in Santa Marta, were served a dinner..arroz,fish, platain.. we did not order..perhaps part of the package.. were never told ..The girls did not eat but gave it to the urchins. I ate faithfully  lets it insult the chef.

Back on the small boat...where we have to be always alert with the it can easily tilt. Even taking pictures was not advised as it could tilt the balance.See Amazon rainforest facts.
But who could resist the beauty ahead of us. The Sun Set.. A scene you only see in dreams or some well directed movies..the Sun of the equator going down through the most beautifully painted grande sky. A sky so vast, so high and so wide I have never scene before.
Only regrets , we did not encounter any have to go much more deeper in the jungle. Perhaps the moderen man have driven them away. But they do come for food some times.

Thus ended one of my best hiking trip. Ever memorable. It was made more enjoyable and educational with two experienced  guides and two very  beautiful people from Germany.
I was in Colombia, Brasila and Peru in one day... Amazing !!!

Santa Rosa,Peru, the little island twenty minutes away from Leticia by boat via the river Amazon. Spent half a day..just wandering around. Nancy, my host knew the little town. We chose a place to eat..the woman was barbecuing freshly picked variety of fish.Had the Peruvian , Cursco, met some cute black long tail monkeys. Nothing much to experience  except  to declare that I have been to Peru.
In the after noon Nancy took her motor bike  to Tabatinga, Brasila, just five blocks away from the centro Leticia, Colombia. You dont even feel that you are already arrived in a different country.There is no border. Just few road blockades and you are in Brasila. Had some barbecued chicken and walked around , good merchandise to shop but did not buy anything.

And today, I ventured by myself to Benjamin Constant another neighbouring town in Brasila by espresso boat. Lots bigger than both Leticia and Santa Rosa and Tabatinga.


Some facts about the Amazona river..

  • The Amazon River is located in South America. It runs through Guyana, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia and Peru.
  • The length of the Amazon River is approximately 6400 kilometres (4000 miles).
  • During the wet season, the Amazon River can reach over 190 kilometres (120 miles) in width.
  • There are no bridges that cross the Amazon, mostly because there is no need, the majority of the Amazon River runs through rainforests rather than roads or cities.
  • The largest city along the Amazon River is Manaus. Located in Brazil it is home to over 1.7 million people.
  • There are over 3000 known species of fish that live in the Amazon River, with more constantly being discovered.
  • Anacondas lurk in the shallow waters of the Amazon Basin, they are one of the largest snakes in the world and occasionally attack larger animals such as goats that get to close the water.
  • The Amazon River is also home to the piranha, a meat eating type of fish! Being carnivores, piranhas are known to attack in groups, preying on livestock that strays into the water and possibly appearing in one or two of your own nightmares!

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