Real Life in the Amazon Rainforest. Morning, January.
My life in the forest bore no relation to the experiences of the muscled,adventurous, exuberant presenters usually seen on programmes about the Amazon.
I didn’t wrestle alligators, poke sticks into the holes of venomous snakes and spiders, or swim with hordes of Piranhas. Well, actually I did bathe with piranhas and venomous stingrays daily, but in a benign way, not in a threatening manner.
Real life in the Amazon is just like real life everywhere. It’s a day to day survival. I could just have easily got run over by a car or fallen down some stairs when in England, than get bitten by a cobra in Brazil.
I woke in the mornings as the sun rose. The growing light and the sounds of birds waking and flying off to their feeding grounds, was my cue to leave my hammock and prepare breakfast.
Often I had a guest or two. Mr.Monduco lived in his large canoe on the river and would regularly hang his hammock on the verandah. He was an elderly man, a man of the forest. Strong, gentle and a friend. We communicated in hand signals and my very poor Portugese, and somehow I got to know a lot about him. We had a similar silly sense of humour that helped too.
Just as often I was totally alone, sometimes for weeks, but I was never concerned about that. If anything I was able to see a part of myself that I did not know existed…I found a strength I didn’t know I had.
After breakfast I went to the river to bathe in the water along with the piranhas. Not a problem, most piranhas are harmless. Caiman were not a problem either, usually fishing at night, they rarely bothered humans. Anacondas too kept themselves to themselves.
I would sit on the wooden harbour deck with my feet in the water to keep cool, to do the washing up. Bird watching is easy done in the rainforest. Without any effort on my part, just patience, I saw from my position beside the washing-up bowl : several variety of Herons, Kingfishers and Birds of Prey. Blue-headed Green Parrots and Scarlet and Blue Macaws flew in noisy flocks overhead, as did Toco Toucans. A solitary Osprey perched in a tall tree to my right every morning. Sun Bitterns and Rails would often scuttle down to the shore, oblivious to my quiet presence.
I sat there in wonder until the sun rose above the trees and the heat became unbearable. I returned to the lodge and cleared, cleaned and tidied and prepared lunch.
That was my morning, similar to my mornings in England, but I must admit not so exciting as wrestling a caiman or dodging a cobras bite.
First photo Striated Heron, second photo Tiger Heron, third photo Blue-headed Green Parrots, fourth photo Great White Heron or Egret.