24.01.2016 30 °C
Day 2 in Amazonia
Too hot for clothes! Was a scorcher today. Glad I made it through the night. Was feeling the effects of post dehydration and exhaustion, ended up taking a Tylenol for a sore back.
The New York University English group invited me along to their Saturday plans. We took a bus to the Rio Napo where we boarded a long canoe with a motor. Down the river we went to come to a place where they grow and make chocolate, legit willy wonka! Cacao grows everywhere here, it's deep red colour when it's ripe is stunning. They showed us the step by step process of how to process the cacao into chocolate. Orgasmic was the raw cacao bean straight out of the pod. Covered in a sweet buttery substance. After showing us the process we gathered around and tried the fresh chocolate. Gourd blown! I'm already planning my cacao greenhouse. Cacao has a deep and rich history for these indigenous peoples, a rich tapestry of tradition and story that is woven into their ancestral roots. Later that day I told a cacao tree, while on my walk through the jungle to the river for a swim, that I was sorry for abusing it for so many years, and that I'd appreciate the process and the history next time I indulge in one of my favourite foods.
After this deliciousness, we hopped back aboard the long canoe and continued down the Napo to a wildlife sanctuary. They bring injured animals as well as animals people had as pets, but left them to their own when it was no longer convenient. Monkeys, toucans, parrots, macaws, wild cats and wild pigs. Really felt what they were doing was fenominal so I donated what I could to their cause.
After we got back to where we were picked up, the group was waiting for a bus. I had heard someone say it was going to be an hour. So I meandered down to a local kitchen and had some stew, similar to what I had the other day. They kept bringing me more food. By the end I had a bowl of stew and a big plate of rice and chicken with lemonade. As I was chowing down, I seen the group drive by in the bus. It had only been maybe 15 min. At first, wait! Then, Hakuna Mattata. In what would have been a slightly stressful situation, I realized I didn't really have anywhere to go other then where I was. Our thoughts really are our worst enemy sometimes. The travellers philosophy. I continued eating the delicious meal the women had prepared for me, thinking about what words I knew that could communicate a hitchhikers vocabulary. When, just then, I seen the bus pull back into view and everyone laughing. They were super apologetic, but I insisted they need not be.
I got off the bus at Jatun Sacha, our home base. As the others continued on to Tena for treats and shopping. Decided to take a walk a few km to the Rio Napo for a swim, what a refreshing treat that was; Again! The river bath is preferable, a lot warmer, then our freezing showers. No doubt, takes my breath away every time.
For dinner they made us pizza! Nuff said!
Ps. Connected with the queer brother, Connor, from New York. We talked about RuPaul's Drag Race of course. Feels nice to have a small space to allow that queer rainbow to shine. I'm sure the local indigenous peoples have a history of two spirit people, but we are playing it safe by trying to not be obvious, ah the life of LGBT. Also had a fantastic conversation with Malaika, a University graduate from New York, and young African American women who has some wicked politics. Systemic racism, decolonization, white privilege, as well as some of her stories about skin colour and hair issues within the black community, were some of the topics we covered. I feel fulfilled when I can have these sorts of real conversations with people.