Tag Archives: amazonia

Live and let live

When you travel to a distant place (not only physically) from the reality of everyday life, the tendency is to happen an initial astonishment. In my case, this “shock” is usually accompanied by a greater improvement of the senses, and here I am not referring only to the “sixth sense” … I look more focused; the hearing gets more concentrated to the sounds or to the silence; the smell gets absolutely intensified … I live the present, as if I didn’t remember of the past or even about the expectations and anxieties of the future.

These sensory connections allow me to live the here and now, in a state of attention. I feel alive and complete, as I often forget to exercise when I am in my “natural habitat.” This is then, for me, one of the great benefits of moving toward new experiences.

I will never forget my first days in Jerusalem. I felt absolutely “lost” and this had nothing to do with not knowing where I was. No. I felt absorbed in a new reality. A reality in which religion utterly dictates people’s lives. I even felt a bit “unfaithful.” For a Christian Catholic woman who grow up her faith in the midst of a parish community, experiencing Jerusalem in the first two days, was at least a reason for a lot of meditation.

Pelas ruas de Jerusalém provando novos sabores

Through the streets of Jerusalem tasting new flavours.

I also hope to never forget the surprise I had when I realized that, yes, it is possible to live in the midst of rivers in the Amazon. The boat shuttle to come and go everywhere. The trade with scarce items kept on “palafitas” (houses above the water). Children who can’t go to school in the heavy flood season. The life that is maintained through the nutrients offered by the forest itself and rivers. The fact that, in the XXI century, a family doesn’t have television at home and only know the outside world through the news heard on a radio stack. This was all shocking to see with my own eyes.

Água que não acaba mais (a época das chuvas ainda não tinha nem começado)

Water everywhere (the rainy season hadn’t yet started) – market in the background.

Goiaba colhida no quintal da casa de caboclos

Guava harvested in the backyard of the caboclos house

The stay in Jordan was short but lasting enough to realize the lack of presence of women in day-to-day tourist activities, such as the maintenance of a Bedouin camp where we spent the night in Petra. The men served the meals; they were also the responsible for entertaining the tourists with their singing and clapping of synchronized palms. I didn’t see any woman in the place. I’m not sure if this is due to the fact that in Jordan 90% of the population is Muslim, according to Wikipedia, but seeing a reality so different from the one I live in my country was a true expansion of consciousness.

Campo beduíno em Petra (essas barraquinhas brancas são os quartos).

Bedouin camp in Petra (these tents are the bedrooms, dining room and collective restrooms).

Confraternizando em Petra

Confraternizing in Petra

Last but not least, I remember Cuba. Anyone who goes to Havana and is not impressed, definitely didn’t experience the reality of the place. In Havana, there is almost no advertising. The only ones that exist make reference to the socialism and the figures of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro. I didn’t even see the picture of the brother Raul. I don’t believe that the “regime” still works in its entirety, but by official propaganda, it is in full execution. I don’t think I have ever seen a people so similar to the Brazilians as the Cuban. And I’m not just talking about the physical characteristics … they’re rhythmic, they love to dance, and they share an admirable positivity. I wish I had taken candies to distribute to the children. These items are absolutely rare there.

Na Fusterlândia (ainda escreverei um post contando sobre esse lugar em Havana)

In Fusterland

Dentro de uma farmácia em Havana (repare na foto de Che no mural)

Photo taken inside a drugstore in Havana while a guy treated my newly injured foot (note Che’s picture and message about the Revolution on the mural)

Essa foto poderia ter sido tirada em Salvador ou em São Luís do Maranhão não fosse pelas crianças jogando basebol.

This photo could have been taken in Salvador or in São Luís, Maranhão State, apart for the sport (baseball) chosen…

Three days and two nights in the middle of the Amazon Forest

A great satisfaction in my life has been the reconnection with nature and the discovery of its curative power and energy exchange. It was, therefore, that on a trip to the Amazon, I did not hesitate and I allowed myself to spend a few days totally immersed in the forest, in contact with riverside communities, giant trees, wild species and lots of fresh water on all sides.

After some research, I discovered that I could do this at a reasonable cost, while still having a certain comfort in transportation and housing, besides, I would have the security that someone experienced would lead me to the most incredible experiences. I hired Iguana Turismo, through a partnership with Local Hostel, the hostel I stayed in when I was in the city of Manaus.

In total, it was three days and two nights totally immersed in the Amazon Rainforest, more precisely in the Juma River, without any access to the signal of celphone or Internet. I wanted to have spent more time, but these days were enough to give me a taste of the Amazonian experience and, yes, want to come back other times.

1st day:

* The saga to reach the Juma River

The sequence was exactly this: van to the port of Ceasa – boat to cross the Black River – kombi again – boat to our jungle hotel. In total, it was about 3 hours of much excitement and adventure.

Place where we made the meals and where our boat went for the tours.

Place where we made the meals and where our boat went for the tours.

 Detail of the collective dormitory with mosquito protection ;)

Detail of the collective dormitory with mosquito protection ;)

Individual bungalows

Individual bungalows

* Fishing ‘piranhas’

After we arrived at the jungle hotel, we settled in, had lunch and in the middle of the afternoon we went out for fishing piranhas. And, yes, I fished one to tell history, and this is not fisherman’s one. :)

* Alligator Experience

That was the part where I felt a certain fear. Our guide focuses with the lantern in the eyes of the alligator, which loses for a few seconds the ability to see. It is at this moment that the animal is captured with all care and without any risk, either to him or to the human. I tried to hold the alligator with my own hands, but fearing any movement of it, I preferred to leave it to the care of the experienced guides. At least I touched the alligator before it was put back into the river.

The prove

2nd day:

* Contemplating the sunrise

There is not much to say … only feel through these images the beauty of the moment. It was worth it waking up at 5:20 in the morning. <3

 On the way to the boat stop in the middle of Juma

On the way to the boat stop in the middle of Juma

* Jungle trekking

After the sunrise, we returned to the hotel, had breakfast, and then went out for a walk in the jungle. We saw a bit of everything: from ants that can be used as natural repellents, a bracelet made with leaves from local trees, to various animals, especially birds. We were still amazed with rain above our heads, which made us run to the boat in order to return to the hotel.

Flower of the chestnut we found in the middle of the way

Flower of the chestnut we found in the middle of the way

Our guide Chitão making my bracelet. :)

Our guide Chitão making my bracelet. :)

Trees that give us so much life.

Trees that give us so much life.

 * River Bath

How could it not be, I jumped into the waters of the Juma River. Okay, I came in with my peculiar caution in itself dealing with water and depth, but I could not let the chance pass. I was also on the lookout for a pair of pink dolphins, who appeared there from time to time, frightened me. But they did not show up any more.

Um brinde! :p

Cheers! :p

* Sleeping in the jungle

It was late afternoon and we began to prepare to spend the night camped in the middle of the forest. Our guide, very familiar to this experience, had everything prepared: our hammoks with their respective proctection against moquitoes; a chicken, that would be cooked with the aid of the stakes collected in the own forest; some beers to the conversations by the fire; the coffee for breakfast the next day, as well as the crackers of salt and water.

To get to our camp (read: the straw structure that would cover our heads), we took a boat and sailed for approximately 1 hour. Arriving on the site, we helped to “set up” our hammocks and prepare the dinner. After eating and drinking, sleeping time had come and along with it the expectation of sleeping with the sound of the mosquitoes and the leaves surrounding us. I must confess I was a bit afraid of leaving the hammock at night and face a wild animal. Who knew!?

When the day dawned, it was incredible to feel the sense of peace, tranquility, and serenity that filled us.

View from our camp

View from our camp

Hammock with mosquitoes protection

Hammock with mosquitoes protection

Our guide in action

Our guide in action

The dinner :p

The dinner :p

Breakfast

Breakfast

Coffee time

Coffee time

3rd day:

* Visit to the caboclo’s house

After breakfast, we organize to leave the camp and visit the home of a local caboclo.

Chitão and I, our great guide!

Chitão and I, our great guide!

In fact, the figure that surprised me the most was a cabocla, named Nazaré, in her forties and 14 children (!).

We listened and told stories. It was incredibly fantastic to try to understand how those people live isolated from everything and everyone, without any technology, other than the small radio signal that arrives there. I bought a pair of earrings and an açaí seed bracelet made by Nazaré’s family and it was just that, besides the memories, that I photographed from the place.

* Bye time

After three days living with people from various countries and in a place totally different from my natural habitat, it is natural that the intensity of the moment generates a bigger “saudade”. That was how I felt.

<3

<3

Reasons to go to Brazilian Amazon

We are tired of commenting that we, brazilians, don’t know the Amazon rainforest. I decided some time ago to leave this statistic that I was not proud of. After all, I was born so close, however I had never been there before.

No! It doesn’t take great planning or financial investment to travel to the forest, although there are many options for all tastes and profiles of travelers. I would say that a handful of goodwill and luck in finding a flight promotion are already more than enough to reach the northern region of Brazil. And that’s what happened to me.

In January of this year (just when that prison problem occurred on the spot, remember?), I spent six days, divided between Manaus and a jungle hotel in the middle of the Forest, more precisely on the banks of the Juma River. And, yes, I went by myself!

I lived one of the most incredible experiences of my life there and here are some of the reasons why I strongly recommend including Manaus and region in the upcoming travel itineraries:

1) The arrival in the Amazonian capital is one of the most incredible that my eyes have ever seen.

Reparem no mundaréu de água doce

2) Manaus is quite rich in culture and history. This city, for example, was the first capital to have electricity in Brazil. Walking through its streets and squares, it is easy to see the colorful historic buildings embellishing the place.

Vista do Largo de São Sebastião. a partir do Teatro Amazonas.

View of Largo de São Sebastião, from Amazonas Opera House

3) Manaus is full of urban art, especially graffiti. You can easily find murals with reference to the indigenous culture.

4) It is worth it to try the local cuisine. I really liked the “x-caboquinho”, a sandwich stuffed with cheese and tucumã, a fruit of the region very rich in vitamins A, B and C. They say it has 90 times more vitamin A than avocado. 😮

Salivei! :p

:p

5) You have the possibility to connect with your origins, for example, visiting Indian reservations.

Visitando uma reserva indígena próximo a Manaus

Visiting an indigenous reservation next to Manaus

6) It is possible to have unforgetable jungle experiences in a safe and organized way (I will write more about a next post), and without paying much for it.

Contemplando o nascer de um novo dia no meio da Floresta Amazônica

Contemplating the sunrise in the middle of the Amazon Forest (me: hat and yellow t-shirt)

7) There are several surprises along the way. The Amazon is superlative.

Encontro casual ;)

Casual meeting ;)

8) In the region, cultural exchange is intense.

Na foto, temos: brasileiros, uruguaio, iraniano, chinesa e guianense

Here we have: Brazilians, Uruguayan, Iranian, Chinese and Guyanese