Tuesday, January 27, 2009

La Selva

alright i am back from the jungle. as far as i know i am malaria and dengue fever free. i do however have several dozen mosquito bights. the jungle was cool, very cool. the energy of that place is both healing and humbling. the jungle has the cures to all. as a matter of fact, i had a cough for almost an entire month before entereing the jungle. it was gone in four days.

first i will talk about the city of Iquitos: it is the largest city in the world not reachable by road, it is a city with very little crime and a lot of love. the people are very happy and take pride in their proximity to the "corazon del mundo" (heart of the world). the streets are ruled by moto taxis, which are three wheel motorcycles with a bench seat on back for passengers (see pic). it is a little dodgy crossing the street at any hour. after much shopping around i managed to book a jungle tour with a company called Paseos Amazonicos. i recommend them, they were knowledgeable and accommodating.

i spent five days in two different jungle lodges up the Amazon river from the city of Iquitos. the experience was a great time to reflect and think. i was at the most one of four guests at the lodge and i was the only guest for one of the four nights. it was so cool to be almost alone in the jungle like that. i went on several jungle walks where i was attacked by some aggressive mosquitos. i persevered without comnplaint none the less. on these walks we encountered several interestimg imsects one of which is worthy of mention: fire ants. these ants live in the sapwood/hardwood of small to medium trees. the tree and ant colony have a symbiotic relationship. the tree is the ant´s home and these ants defend their home not just from invading colonies but from vine and tree parasites. therefore, the tree is clean and free to compete for sunlight. i also saw several impressive trees. these trees are unlike anything i have ever seen. the trees featured in the pics range from 300-700 years old

i did some fishing and caught four piranhas and one catfish. the fishing is actually very poor right now because as the river rises the bigger fish go into the jungle. it is necessary to have falling water for decent fishing in the amazon. i did however hear some great fish stories. the amazon has some massive fish: black piranha up to 15lb, pache up to 300lb and 9ft long, peacock bass up to 25lb, giant catfish up to 300lb+, a strange sucker fish that is covered in spikes up to 10lb, Candiru a type of catfish that lodges itself into human orphases (you must click on this link to read about this one http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candirú), giant electric eels up to 200lbs and 9ft in length, and of course, pink dolphins (which are mammals). the river of course has many,many more varieties of fish but too various to mention here.

i visited several family run animal sanctuaries. most of the animals were free roaming and chose to stay because ov the good menu and relaxed conditions. it was a unique experience to get so close to these clever animals.

at night the jungle came alive with a beautiful symphony of insects, amphibians, and nocturnal birds. it was very relaxing. i also experienced a major lightning storm my last night there. what a trip! i would love to tell anybody about the experience in detail in person anytime. tomorrow i am off to a town called Chachapoyas, home of high mountains and dozens of ruins. i will make a plan from there. so until next time, adios.

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