Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Brazil Days 2-5: Amazon Jungle Experience (part 2)

This is a follow-up to my first piece about our stay in the Amazon:

Some stand-out experiences from the Amazon region:

- Fishing for and eating piranha. It certainly wasn't a profitable venture, more raw meat was expended as a lure than what we caught. Still, it's quite an experience to catch something like that and eat it for lunch!

- Swimming in the Amazon right by where pink and grey dolphins were breaching, a very short distance from where we caught piranhas. Later in the day and the rest of the week, we repeatedly saw large Caiman (crocodiles) circling that exact swimming spot looking for lunch. A little bit later, a local girl was dangling her feet into the water - her foot and was bitten by a piranha!

- It rained every single day we were in the jungle, for minutes or hours at a time. You learn how to plan your activities - and whether it's a good time to put on a half-wet or a half-dry article of clothing...

- There is a concept of high/low water season, as well as the concept of wet/dry season - these two kinds of seasons do not exactly match up. When it is very rainy, it is wet season. When the river level is high from flow from up north, it is high season. During high season, the river level can increase by 2-3 meters, which is a huge amount when you consider what the human and animal kingdoms do to adjust.

- Every day as we made our way up and down the river, flying fish called Arowana (also known as Monkey Fish) were continuously jumping in the air as we boated by. They are an ancient species, with both gills and lungs. During high water season, they are known to jump and grab bugs, fruits, and even small birds from low tree branches! They are also pretty tasty :)

- There is no postal service, cell phone service, or internet service in the Amazon jungle. To pay your power bill, villagers have to travel 1 full day by boat every month to get to the payment office! Perhaps they take turns or combine multiple errands into one big trip...

- Now that they have electricity, what do they do with it? Refrigeration is great, but they seem to use it mostly for keeping their beer cold. Also we saw a few satellite dishes and giant speaker systems, with the same 5 songs playing day after day. This one is still stuck in my head:

- This section of the Amazon does a significant amount of cattle farming. The cows seem to be free to roam through swamps, along riverbanks, and across the river - but watch out for Caiman!

- The sky never gets completely dark - and we never saw any stars - even though we're about as far from electric light as anyone could be. Is it because it's so humid that the cloud cover never dissipates?

A few more photos...

Cows meandering up, down,
and through the river

Dolphins!! Right where
we were swimming :)

Practicing samba during
the Christmas party

Very special birthday party

Farewell photo of our group at the
gigantic and ancient Samauma tree

Dave swinging from a vine while...

...our boat drifted away! Luis and
Fabian had to strip down and rescue it!

Family of turtles at the
bottom of the tree trunk

Spending a little downtime
at the floating jungle bar

Annual holiday performance in
Manaus on Christmas night...
hundreds of thousands of residents!

1 comment:

Karen the first said...

What an adventure! So much to learn about jungle living -- some of which I'm glad I found out AFTER you guys left the jungle!