Sunday, October 14, 2012

Jungle Life

August 28, 2012

I wake up feeling the most refreshed I have in ages. I might consider purchasing a jungle sounds for sleeping. Anyways, we get up to head to the main cabin to have breakfast to get ready for a day time jungle hike.

We pile into the boat to head to the trail where we're looking for some black caiman and other wildlife. We're told that this area of water we're walking to was part of the original Tambopata river but closed off from natural changes in the water levels from rain.

The hike takes us into the jungle and Ricardo shows us lots of bugs and identifies calls that we hear. It's a really neat hike since we learn about the various plants that the locals have always used and western medicine has started to discover. Unfortunately, with such a large group, it's less likely that we see animals. This butterfly is super awesome! It's got transparent wings:

We hike and see the jungle trees. There are so many strange trees that have unusual habits and characteristics. Compared to the boreal and broadleaf forests that I'm used to, some trees here are not trees at all and are a parasitic vine that strangles and suffocates a tree and eventually kills it through growing all around it. Others are capable of moving from one spot to another, in order to get sunlight. Then you have those which bear very large and unusual fruit--such as the canon ball tree. Don't walk through a durian orchard at night? better not to walk through the jungle at night!

We find many fruit trees and one of them happens to have dropped clusters of its fruit--apparently a favourite of our rescued friends back at the lodge. I climb into one of those vine-trees and get to the center where the original host tree had died and rotted away...

When I look up and around me....

There are shrubs which tribes use for painting their bodies with--we get initiated into our own little tribe when Ricard paints our faces with this red pigmented leaf. Our group takes a photo in front of a big wide tree which I've already forgotten the name of! but it's wider than our group is!

We feed piranha at the little "pond" from a big canoe and get to see a flock of the stinky bird (AW must remember the name of these birds... he wanted to see them very badly) that can regurgitate their meals back to chew them... kind of like cows? Ugh. Kind of gross if you ask me.

I'm so glad that the weather has been moderately cool (by jungle standards) since we were asked to wear full long pants (see mosquitos!) and long tops. It's nice to return to the lodge and get some time to relax and have lunch.

We are greeted by our lodge friends with excitement since we brought back a jungle treat for them...

Our afternoon activities? We have options to visit a local fruit farm or to head to the interior of the lodge lands and check out the mini river tub. They have built a small pool area where the river water flows through and you can soak yourself in mineral rich river waters. Note "mineral rich" doesn't always mean clear water... hehehe

We decide to check out the local fruit farm.

Do you like cashews? This is why they're so darned expensive: 1 seed per fruit

This is an indigenous fruit of the area and it's called "ice cream bean". We eat the fuzzy cottony part that surrounds the bean.

Then we take a guided tour of the orchard where all the fruits are being grown together: pineapples, noni, avocado, banana, star fruit, hot peppers, cassava root... This is called polyculture. In many countries, this practice has been found to be more productive than the traditional monoculture we use in North American commercial farms.

Do you know how pineapples grow?

 What about avocados?

Or bananas...

The noni fruit is indigenous to Southeast Asia but does very well here. It's particularly useful in the medicinal realm and many seek it for its phytonutrients and other nutrients. It isn't very tasty though...

This is a hot pepper bush with extremely hot peppers that make my mouth salivate excessively while thinking about them!

And, since he could, he kept chickens.

What an interesting day! Call me nerdy but I really enjoy the educational parts of a trip when I learn about the nature and the people. Time to head back and relax.


  1. Replies
    1. that monkey was a trouble maker! people spoil the little devil and then he thinks he's the most happenin' primate around.

  2. LOVE these!! Also, for some reason, that picture of the rooster cracks me the heck up!

    1. awesome! thanks so much. my favourite is mimo's photo as it came out the most clear. just the perfect bocay with the clear crisp focus on his face.
      and that rooster... hehehe he looks frazzled! might have been the way that andrew was looking at him aroudn noontime...

  3. wasn't it nemo? and that chicken sure looked tasty

    1. we've had this discussion at length already... and we already determined that you are incorrect.