Saturday, February 28, 2009

pondering the world on a bus

although i am writing this from my home here in S.L. i still plan on writing in chronological order; starting from when i left the jungle:
from Iquitos i took a plane to Tarapoto, spent the night, and then continued on a nine hour bus ride to the quiet town of Chachapoyas. this town is great because it is so damn hard to get to. i stayed here four days and met a total of maybe a dozed other tourists (one gringo). this area was home to the ancient Chachapoyans. the name means "people of the clouds" and they were known as great warriors. i will highlight some of this regions sites i visited:

-Kuelap: fortress built by the Chachapoyans about 1300 AD to defend against other tribes such as the Incas. the fort was overtaken around 1470 by the Incas by cutting off the town's water supply in the dry season. city walls reach 40 ft. i was one of seven tourists on the register that day. this place almost rivals Machu Picchu's grandeur in size and accomplishment.

-Gocta falls: third highest waterfall in the world. very few visitors, i spent the entire day there alone. i could have been walking around naked. i was accompanied by a puppy i fondly named Frankie along the trail and waterfall. he is my friend.

-Sarcophagus: the area has several sarcophagus and tomb sites in the steep hills around this area. it also has eight major caves used for sacrifices, rituals and worship. the shaman from Kuelap would venture out of the fort to visit these places and perform San Pedro visions.

Chachapoyas was my favorite part of Peru. it still holds mucho mystery and undiscovered ruins. it is also a friendly and virtually crime free area. to leave this place was difficult but after my four days moved on. i took a pensive nine hour bus ride outta there to the coastal town of Chiclayo.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Save the Rainforest

¡forgive spelling errors, the auto check is down!

my recent trip to the amazon rainforest was bittersweet. the experience was so great and yet i realized the rain forest is in danger of extinction in our life times. at the current rate of de-forestation the amazon rainforest will be totally gone by 2048. i knew this alarming fact going into the jungle, but it just didnt hit me untill i absorbed some of the powerful energy of that place. i witnessed some prety big lumber companies right on the bank of the river outside Iquitos. these were not small trees, they were trees only found in virgen forest. this was alarming enough for me but the fact is that the majority of the cutting (and burning) happens in brasil.

the problem is divided into two parts: logging companies and farming. farmers are a huge problem because they can buy Amazon land for very cheap. after purchase, they slash and burn everything on the lot to clear the way for crops or cattle. because rainforest soil depends on constant decomposing organic material for fertility the land is virtually un-usable in about three years. hence the cycle repeats itself. so what can be done to save the rainforest? i talked it over with my guide Ricardo over some tall boys (beers) on one of our dugout canoe fishing trips. we came up with the fllowing ideas:

-attack international demand for amazon hardwoods (europe, U.S.)

-establish green waste facilities for local communities so they can both reduce landfill tonnage and utilize precious compost.

-instatewell funded paper recycling programms in major cities.

-provide aluminum boats for local communities so they don´t have to cut down and hollow out one tree per year per adult.

-educate local farmers about the many benefits of composts/fertilizers.

-establish international co-operation to stop logging virgin forest and start sustainable timber farms.

these are just the results of two men simply talking on a boat in the river. so what can we do to protect the Rain Forest? what we need is a group of strong minded thinkers to act in unison...and a bunch of money. where can all that be found? politicians only care about popularity. rich men are wary of any cause that demands immeadeate investment and no immeadeate results.

my thoughts continue on this critical topic. i hope you too will pray for the forest.