Our first full day in the Jungle. I woke up feeling disgusting. Sweaty and tired. Another square meal in the morning boosted my spirits, though.
Our itinerary for the day called for a hike one of the parts of the forest / swamp / jungle (I need to learn the precise differences between those terms) and then a visit to a "Shaman" – a healer who uses plants in the jungle for medicinal purposes.
Trekking through the forest in boots provided a nice change of pace from canoe life. We stopped every now and then to inspect some tree that had a medicinal purpose or in some other way was used by natives for everyday living.
The forest was dusty, bug-filled, and somewhat dark as light couldn’t always stream through the top of the canopy. At one point, our guide picked up a dead tarantula with his fingers. Yuck.
We arrived a couple hours later, by foot, at the home of the Shaman and a small, indigenous family. They speak an indigenous language. The Shaman did a presentation about his healing ways and how they use trees and plants in all sorts of novel ways. Apparently, they work – for the locals. He was dressed in indigenous attire with a long arrow horizontally stuck through both his nostrils. We ate our boxed lunch and then headed back to the canoe.
We stopped at a "community". La communidad is where people live in the Amazon. Incredible to see their set-up. They live very much off the land, no electricity (except some solar power). I’m sure they ship in food or something but they get very far off the land. The indigenous Ecuadorians are dark skinned and have darker eyes. We pulled out some yucca plant — one of the staple plants in this area, along with bananas. It was blazingly hot and the bugs don’t stop.
After stopping in the lagoon for more swimming and admiring of the sunset, we let darkness fall and slowly navigated home looking for the bright eyes of alligators. Fortunately (ok – unfortunately) we didn’t see any crocs. But they’re there.