On the Amazon, Belém do Pará, Brazil, 1974.
Exploring the Amazon was a childhood dream. Read too many books by explorers. The first time I got to the Amazon was in Belén do Parà, at the end of my second Brazil “road trip”, in 1974. Belén means Bethleem in Portuguese. A fascinating choice of name. The city is at the estuary of the Amazon, where it flows into the Atlantic, after traveling 6,400 kms from the Andes. In miles: 4,000 miles. Less impressive. We spent only a couple of days in Belém. Did have a chance to take a small boat upriver. Too short though.
Flying above the Amazon, near Leticia, Colombia, 2006. The Amazon is forest and water. Water and forest. Flew from Bogotá to Leticia, with my eldest daughter, my sister-in-law and her husband.
Sammy the Saïmiri. Brazilian name. Squirrel monkey in English. There is an island not far from Leticia called the Thousand monkeys island. An obligatory stop on the river.
THE Amazon. A wide, wide river. At certain times of the year, the waters rise and flood the forest for a few weeks. Most constructions along the river are built on stilts. Better safe than sorry.
Stevie the Sloth. (One of) the slowest animals on earth. Took it ages to move from one tree to the other.
We left Stevie to his own devices (Smallish head is on the left; not a tail) and hit the forest. (I’m almost sure I already did a post on the Amazon. No idea where it is.)
Your typical rain forest path. Slim trees here and there. No underbrush. A very thin layer of earth. Once the forest is cut, the earth washes out in 3 years. The original Indian tribes cleared a few acres for crops and moved on after 3 years. Now hectares are cut out. To breed cattle, mostly.
Frankie the Frog. (A distant cousin?). The Amazon is host to hundreds of species of frogs. Some highly poisonous. Our guide knew his sh… his job well.
Sammy and his BFF.
Suzy the spider. Most wildlife in the rain forest of the Amazon is small. (Except for Brenda). Tapirs are scarce. Jaguars are invisible. There are many snakes. Watch where you step. And many, many, many insects. The Amazon invented the mosquito. Repellent is a must.
Our stop on the Peruvian side of the Amazon. Leticia in Colombia borders with Brazil to the East, and Perú to the South. You can move across three countries in a day. There are piranhas in the water. Brother-in-Law caught one. Nasty teeth. The piranha.
Brenda the Cabiay (capybara) on the Peruvian side. Brenda has already been featured several times on this blog. A rodent and a distant cousin of the Guinea pig, it can stand 20-24 inches tall and weigh an average of 100 pounds. Brenda was a darling. Liked noting more than getting her head scratched.
Mickey the monkey, Peru side of the Amazon, 2006. Can’t remember the species. I think it is a Brown capuchin. This particular “shelter” was fantastic. We only had lunch there. Wish we could have stayed the night. The house was full of animals. Half wild, half tame. (Don’t try to pet a monkey. They bite.)
Albert the Ara. Amazon. 2006.
Fancy some piranha fishing?
Tommy the tucan. On the banks of the Amazon.
Terence the tarentula. Like I said, our guide knew his stuff.
We bade adieu to Brenda who put on a stiff upper lip, and we hit the road again. The River I mean.
The Amazon. thousands of miles of river. Millions sq. miles of rain forest. We saw pink river dolphins later on. They’re not salt water dolphins and have a pinkish skin. On the verge of extinction like everything else.
I’ve mentioned it before, I’m not too keen on sunset photos. No picture can capture the power of sunset. Still, sunsets on the Amazon are unique, and worth a photo try.
Sunset on the Amazon. December 2006.
Captain and crew thank you for flying Equinoxio Time-Space shuttle. No idea what the next destination will be. I’ll ask Spock.