This is my Walden Pond.
Thoreau had his little shack on that small body of water, I’ve got my mosquito-net bed in the Amazon rainforest.
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” - Henry David Thoreau
Even without a working cell phone here in Peru, I find myself too involved in the consuming world of social media and email. I welcome this four-day stretch of devoting time to this rare opportunity – having no choice but to be without that omnipotent internet connection.
It is the evening of the first day in the Peruvian rainforest, 9:50 PM, and it is hot; really damn hot… and humid. They told me it would be, but after living in Houston, TX for almost a year, I figured, “No big deal.”
It is still 91℉, nearing 10:00 PM, and so humid you could distill a glass of water out of the air… it is borderline miserable. However, I am glad to be out of Cusco for a little while, at an altitude that my body is much more accustomed to. Finally, that nagging headache is gone.
Only about twelve hours into our stay here in the Amazon, and I have fed a wild monkey, kayaked down a tributary of the world’s largest river, got stung by some funky looking bee while napping in a hammock, and just finished a tarantula sighting night-walk through the jungle.
(Travel Tip: We got roundtrip transportation from Cusco, lodging, all meals included, guided tours, kayaking, and zip-lining for four days for $280USD. That’s a pretty good deal in my book. Thanks CarlosExpeditions.com)
The lodge, Monte Amazonica Lodge, is right in the thick of the Amazon, just off the Rio de los Dios, about a 30-minute boat ride from Puerto Maldonado, Peru. They offer a shaman-administered Ayahuasca experience that I am really considering partaking in, on the last night, for $70… When in Rome, right?
If you are unfamiliar with Ayahuasca, Google it. I’ll wait….
So, now you know that it is a safe, indigenous, spiritual hallucinogen brewed only in the Amazon, made from various plants/roots found here in the jungle. Just about 100% of the time, the user experiences a lot of vomiting as a reaction to the brew, and it is primarily supposed to be a very enlightening and beneficial spiritual experience. I might just find all that out for myself.
The sounds of the jungle at night are not unlike the CD’s they always sell at Target and Bed Bath & Beyond. Innumerable bugs creaking constantly through the night, the occasional nondescript bird “kakow”, and light drops of rain on the tin roof of our cabin. It’s nice… except for this damn heat. I do not mind the mosquitos buzzing about my net trying to infect me with malaria, so much as I cannot get away from the heat of this sauna-like room. Thankfully, we have running water so I can take a cold shower to cool down and even electricity during designated hours of the day to charge my MacBook.
I am looking forward to an early start tomorrow morning, filming the preparation of our traditional, Peruvian Amazonian lunch. Starting at 5:00 AM tomorrow morning, the lodge chef will begin preparing our lunch using some massive leaves as wrapping. During the tour of Monkey Island, our guide collected a large bundle of these giant elephant leaves . An aspect of South American culture that I want to share with you is the local cuisine of each destination, and tomorrow’s lunch should be a great way to share this part of the experience.
My computer screen has managed to collect tens of little gnats infatuated with the only light source in the whole lodge. Remember, only electricity during designated hours during the day. The evening graces us with electricity only between the hours of 6 – 9 PM, then after that total darkness.
Just me, the bugs, and this heat.