Sunday, October 21, 2007
1995 Peru: The Amazon River
Touring up the Amazon River on the boat La Ezmeralda we went to small tributaries, the Ucayali, Tapiche and the Yanayacu; as the Amazon itself is a very wide river. The Ezmeralda is a triple deck, sixteen passenger river boat with a six foot draw which can handle very shallow waters. The rivers were populated by pink dolphins, and the shorelines with crocodiles, harpy eagles, hawks, parrots, toucans, herons, macaws, kingfishers, howler monkeys, and capybara. The din of all the animals combined with a plethora of insects made for a constant chorus of jungle sounds. The highlight for me, however, was visiting the villages of Progresso, San Pedro, and Galicia where the "Riverenos" lived (river people). They were subsistence farmers with little contact outside the jungle. As we approached the entire village would come out on the banks to see us, and then follow us as we toured their village. The photograph of the man with the turtle -- click on it so its enlarged. Do you notice the tatoo on his chest? I believe it signifies he is a local medicine man. Many of the people wore tattered t-shirts, and after I returned to the USA I collected 80 t-shirts and sent them to our guide, Reny. Months went by and I assumed they had been stolen, until I got a letter with a photo: an entire village wearing my t-shirts!