Sights and sounds of the Amazon

In the Amazon

In the Amazon

A bit of a random post, this one.  But these are some fragments that stick in my mind – ways I’ll remember the sights and sounds of the Amazon rainforest after our five-day trip there from Iquitos.

  • the tranquil mirrorlike flatness of still black water
  • a menacingly furry tarantula
  • the lonely donkey-like braying of a camungo (jungle turkey)
  • the peppery bite of bright yellow ají
  • the triumphant hooting of monkeys overhead
  • the seeming ever-present sting of yet another mosquito bite (word to the wise:  skin in contact with a mosquito net renders said mosquito net remarkably ineffective – if you are tall and typically sleep in anything other than the foetal position, this will result in many an ankle bite overnight)
  • the burning and tingling of a fresh coating of DEET on the neck
  • the valiant struggling of little piranhas in the floor of the canoe
  • the dead-ant smell of crushed termites, smothered on hands as insect repellent
  • the fresh dirt taste of the water while swimming
  • the incessant buzzing, chirping, rustling of cicadas
  • the unfamiliar almost sing-song, nearly Brazilian accent to local Spanish
  • the blue and red flash of a passing macaw (guacamayo)
  • the acrid smell (and, unfortunately, taste) of DEET
  • the flashy rainbow sheen of the baby rainbow anaconda (anaconda arco iris)
  • flashing swings of Herman’s machete:  everything from path clearer to pencil sharpener
  • the peeking heads of river otter (lobo del rio)
  • the cool, refreshing lightness of a midday swim
  • the languorous floating in air of a mamavieja (‘old mama’ eagle)
  • the coiled danger of a lancehead snake (jergón)
  • the confused glare of the hypnotoad (la rana)
  • the fluttering azul of butterflies at the river’s edge
  • the cool misty humidity of the early morning
  • grey and rose dolphins, snorting as they surface, playfully swimming, infuriating to photograph
  • the oppressive heat and stickiness of a still afternoon
  • the comfortable laziness of an afternoon resting a-hammock
Comfortably a-hammock

Comfortably a-hammock

  • the puzzled concentration of misunderstood Spanish
  • languid paddling of the canoe’s oars
  • the dusky tastelessness of local instant coffee
  • the eager, energetic grin of Herman off to search out something new in the jungle
  • the jarring inappropriateness of counting new species of spider while squatting to answer the call of nature in the woods
  • the near-hollow echo of the jungle telephone tree roots
  • the ominous bellowing of distant thunder
  • the glorious freshness of an unexpected breeze
  • an early morning chainsaw as a local fashions new beams for his house
  • a subtle pinkish tinge to the clouds before darkness
  • the quiet boredom of another hour or so waiting, ‘relaxing’, for the next scheduled something of the day
  • the soaring grace of a condor/eagle/falcon
  • the satisfying squelch of the mud trail in gumboots in the jungle
  • the satisfying ‘swish’ of bats swooping through the campsite at night
  • the brown and black waters mixing as tributaries join just outside the national park (Marden calls it ‘cafe con leche’)
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