Welcome to the jungle! (Day 544)

If you have been reading this blog often over the last year and a half (good lord, time flies when you are wandering around the planet) you know that I have ventured into jungles all over the planet and I don´t love them.  They are hot, humid, and nasty.  They smell the smell of things that never dry.  They contain weird creatures (some dangerous, some not) and funky plants (some poisonous, some tasty) that I don´t understand.

Why I keep going back into the jungle, I am not sure.  But, the Amazon has a strange lure to it.  Once again I ventured into these strange forests, this time with an indigenous guide armed with a machete.  To tell the truth, you can´t get too deep into the Amazon jungle on a 3-day trip such as the one I did, but you can definitely dabble.  You can get far enough into it to hold sloths and alligators (oh, shit!), fish for piranhas (they really do have sharp teeth), sleep in a hammock, nearly get carried a way by mosquitoes, eat some weird-looking fruit, etc.  You know, the usual.

Piranha fishing.  Here, fishy, fishy, fishy.  We used a string tied to the end of a bamboo stick.  Who needs a reel?  Just like bass fishing back home, I didn’t catch a thing.  A Colombian and a Chinese woman, who I am sure have never fished before in their lives, each caught one.  Beginner´s luck, I´m sure.  I´m not bitter, though, I swear.

I’m told this is a “small” tarantula… sure.  In that case, I am not disappointed that we couldn’t find a big one.

One night we canoed at night into the flooded jungle.  Our guide put on some rubber boots, told us not to leave the boat, and waded out into the darkness.  We waited… and waited.  I was starting to think we had lost him to the jungle for good when he appears with this little guy in his arms:

“Of course I want to hold the alligator.”

Hammock + mosquito net = classic jungle accommodation

At one point, while canoeing through the jungle, our guide motions for us to be quiet and points up a tree.  As usual, I don´t see anything but leaves.  These indigenous guys that live in the jungle have x-ray vision, I swear.  I start to think he has gone crazy when, barefoot, he starts to monkey up the tree…

(don´t try this at home)

   

I should have kept the camera rolling because a few seconds later I see something fall from the tree and splash into the water next to the boat!  Our guide climbs down, fishes it out, and proudly shows off what he´s found for us:

Sloth

Brazil has been good to me the last couple weeks.  I had a great week in Salvador.  I loved seeing the Brazilian side of Iguacu falls.  (It is my favourite, contrary to popular consensus.)  But, I have to say, after 7 months travelling in spanish-speaking countries, I am having a hard time changing from “gracias” to “obrigado” :)

Unfortunately, I have skipped over a large part of Brazil, not because it is not worth visiting, but because it is too damn big to manage on the measly 30-day visa I was given.  That, and I have actually been here before.  In 2005 some buddies and I flew into Rio de Janeiro for Carnaval, which is quite possibly the best party I have ever been to.  If you the time, check my friend Bart´s blog on that trip.

My next destination:  the Atlantic coast.
My transportation: river boat.
My route:  The Amazon River.

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4 Responses to Welcome to the jungle! (Day 544)

  1. Derick says:

    Hi Shawn,I read this the other day and thought of you."So the journey is over and I am back again, richer by much experience and poorer by many exploded convictions, many perished certainties." -Aldous Huxley after returning from his first trip around the world

  2. Shawn says:

    Nice, I like it. This guy knew what he was talking about. Muchas gracias.

  3. Greg says:

    What does sloth taste like anyway?

  4. Shawn says:

    Unfortunately, I didn\’t get to try it. Maybe like chicken??

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