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Nature hike to Monkey Island


View Wonders of Brazil on bejjan's travel map.

After breakfast we gathered in the reception at 8.20am. A group of Australians joined my group and they had arrived yesterday. They were a happy bunch of elderly ladies who now after retirement traveled around the earth to see the world. They were really nice and we got along very well. The Russian couple honored us with another late arrival to the gathering. Anthony was moderately happy. But when all gathered we started to walk into the jungle. Anthony told us it was very important we did not touch any trees or plants (unless he told so) since some trees/plants were toxic. It was also important for the group to stay together on the track so no one got left behind alone, since they had seen a Puma in the area with two cubs. Oh well, so they claimed… first you got scared as hell. But after some logical thinking, would they really bring tourists out in the jungle if there really was a puma nearby? Felt more like a made-up story, just to scare us.

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Another guide, an Amazon Native Indian, by name Antonio joined us and contributed with his knowledge and interesting information during our hike. Compared to me, Antonio was short a thin, just like his ancestors. That is necessarily for the Amazons to survive out in the Amazon Jungle. The Amazon children are taught to live according to the jungle laws by their grandparents. At 8 years old they are sent out into the jungle to survive on their own during 90 days. By then they have the knowledge about which trees who gives fluid to drink, which ones that stops bleeding wounds and which trees to sleep in. The trees chosen to sleep in, must be thin enough for a jaguar or puma not to being able to climb up. Therefore it is very important for the Amazonians to be short and thin, so they can sleep in slim and thin trees. When an Amazonian hunts they wear only pants. The visible skin gets camouflaged and they cover the smell of human. During dry season they use formic acid and during rainy season flowers to cover the human scent. Anthony stopped by a tree with a large ant house hanging on the tree trunk. Even though Anthony had been very clear on us not touching anything, Sergei started to pick on the ant house and the ants got pretty upset and attacked him. He has himself to blame for that. But it was just what Anthony wanted to demonstrate. How the Amazons camouflage themselves with formic acid to be able to sneak up on their prey.

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Anthony let the ants calm down and then took a stick and hit the house. Furious ants came out and wanted to know what the hell was going on. Then Anthony put his hand there and let the ants climb up his arm and crushed them to death. The scent, formic acid, is then spread and covers the human scent. Many are allergic to formic acid why the Amazon people are sensibilities at early age.

When the man in an Amazonian family go out to hunt he only tells his wife he’s going out to hunt, never how long or when he’ll be back. The wife expects the man to be gone for 2 months. Hasn’t she heard anything by then, she waits another 2 weeks. Thereafter she telegraphs a message by using a special tree that transports the sound up to the crown and can be heard up to 50 kilometers in diameter. Anthony stopped by a tree just like that and demonstrated how it’s done. He grabbed a stick and hit the message “Hello” on the trunk. The tree did look very strange. The trunk looked in cutaway like a V and when you think about it you could understand how the sound accumulated in the tree and be heard at long range. And if we are scared of human being cutting down the Amazon, the nature helps in its way just as much. The trees here in the Amazons have large superficial root systems, just to hang on to the sand bottom and root. Due to this phenomenon the trees fall easily during storms, and according to the law fallen trees cannot be moved. According to Anthony, Amazonas itself will contribute in becoming a sand desert, even though the human devastation would stop tomorrow. But how do the trees receive their nutrition if they grow on a sand bottom? All nutrition is in the crowns, in the green leafs and flowers. When these fall down to the ground the trees have only a couple of hours to soak up the nutrition.

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After an hour we arrived in an area without any trees, just a lot of sand like a desert. On distance we saw a few vultures sitting in a dead tree and look at us. Nice. Are they waiting for someone to break down so they could eat? Ha ha, almost felt like that. Slow but safe we walked towards Monkey Island. But really, there wasn’t an island but a peninsula. The monkeys there had been rescued and taken care of. The monkeys are slowly changing diet and rehabilitates before they released into the wild again. I guess you could call it a Rescue Center.

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The monkeys presented were Woolly Monkeys and Red Faced Monkeys. When we were there they fed the monkeys so we had opportunity to take pictures pretty close up. One woman, I think she was French, was chosen to have a monkey on her shoulder holding a piece of fruit for the monkey to take from her. Had been cool to try, but at the same time you never know what diseases they possibly could have in case they would bite.

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Monkey Island wasn’t that far from Amazon Ecopark, we had been walking in like a circle. It didn’t take many minutes to walk back and at 12.30pm it was time for lunch. Just as outstanding lunch buffet as the days before. Now I had no more jungle tours or excursions. Could just enjoy the afternoon and try to figure out where my checked-in bag was. I had not received any email or update about its whereabouts. It could be in Australia or Antarctica as far as I knew. I mean, how difficult could it be to get the bag on the very next flight? There must be X number of flights each day bound for Brazil… so what was the problem? Really bad! Took a power-nap in one of the hammocks suspended somewhat aloof by the reception. It was very peaceful to lie there and listen to the sounds, smell the scents knowing you had no time to care about. Last dinner at 7.30pm. The complex was pretty much empty. Guess the others were out on an evening tour. Almost at eight o’clock the dinner tent started to get crowded.

Posted by bejjan 16:00 Archived in Brazil Tagged amazon_rainforest

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