WOW! That's the best word I think. We spent a week on a little pontoon boat, tooling down the Madre De Dios (Mother Of God) river. Caoba Lodge is a terrific outfit. The team of guide, cook, and pilot took such good care of us. It was a wonderful, relaxing way to experience the Amazon for the first time. And since we spent so much time moving on the river, we didn't have to deal with so many bugs. Owen is allergic to mosquitoes, so for us that was important.
Every morning we trekked into the jungle for an adventure. After lunch we sat on the roof of the boat, puttering down the river to our next destination. In the afternoons we cayaked up streams too narrow for our boat, or went visiting with our guide, Carlos. At night we jumped in the canoe and went looking for Cayman.
One afternoon we visited a local village, where the kids followed us around, staring at our light-skinned offspring. Another we went to the crazy medicine man's house, and danced the wild boar dance with him. He had fascinating stories about the missionaries coming to his village 60 years ago, when he was a kid.
We went to a tiny and beautiful hostel, with no electricity or running water, where the owner had created a wonderful medicinal garden. It was a magical place, with amazing views. I hung out there while the family did a trek, because I wasn't feeling altogether perfect. The owner had my cure: Three 2-liter plastic bottles, filled with a slightly opaque, swirling, brown liquid. If I bought all three and drank all 6 liters in a week I would not be dizzy, but it would come back. If I went back to his place for more of the stuff three times in the next year - I would never, ever, be dizzy again. It probably would have worked, but I knew I wouldn't drink it. It smelled foul! I kept my 60 soles.
This was our house for a week. Check out Owen with the machete! We're just about to go looking for monkeys on Isla de los Monos.
Not only did we find them - we got to feed them!! Our guide, Carlos, thought we were very lucky. We saw Capuchin and Squirrel monkeys that day. This is a Capuchin.
So are these two. They shares the banana.
Here's Carlos with Owen and Eleanor. They talked a lot about medicinal plants and their uses that week.
...and here's Carlos rubbing latex from a tree onto a strange bite that Owen just got. It was turning red and swelly. The latex turned dark brown over the day, and stayed on through several showers. The bite didn't bother Owen at all after that.
Along the river in the afternoon light.
Here's the medicine man, with his son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter. He doesn't wear western clothes when he hunts. He says the boar can smell them. He's wearing a garment made of beaten tree bark. The baby's name is Daisy. Her mother and father are both 16. They seem happy.
More to come. We have a lot of Amazon to show you...