Into Unknown. Colombia.

Into Unknown. Colombia.
...we were laying in a hammock and listening for a night Jungle Song. Of at least 7 different insects and a couple of frogs were performing the best lalabye ever. A couple of big hairy spiders crawled from the inside of the mosquito net in a search of a fresh food. The Amazon River delta was wet and swampy and the hammocks were the usual way to sleep in a jungles. The active life don't stop here and continues 24/7. So, the lalabye lasts the whole night and the different singers (or hunters) sing, moan, scream, whisper, lough, rub, squeal,stomp, eat, gurgle, grunt etc at the different times or all together. It was wonderful and unforgettable night in Peruvian part of one of the countless Amazon delta rivers.
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Jungle song.  Leticia. Gamboa. Sacambu. Rio Yavary.

...It can take a whole human's life to explore the only Amazon river basin and I don't think that it's gonna be enough...

I was mostly afraid for one very important lower part of my body, but Miguel said that Caymans are shy and piranhas don't bite you unless they feel the blood. Moreover he doesn't think that all of them are here in shallow waters, except anaconda.

I got naked and went for a swim in Gamboa river to warm up at night. My body came ashore untouched despite of piranhas and crocks. The water was warmer than air after one hour heavy rain. We got completely wet and cold during our crock-catching trip up of Gamboa river. We didn't find the big Caymans but found a couple of one-year-baby crocks who were easy to catch in a swampy creek at night because their eyes are getting red when they reflect the torch beam. 

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Lana was ready to cuddle them the whole night. The camera got wet but survived. We were somewhere in a middle of swampy nowhere which turns in a sucking legs half dry swampy nowhere during the dry season. Pouring rain and complete darkness were the main spices in this bottomless adventurous soup.

The  any-reason-non-flying-at-night Horned Screamer bird was one of the main ingredient. She was sitting in a grass trying to hide. Her look was strange and awesome at the same time. She was ready for everything but not to fly, because she doesn't fly after the sun drops behind the trees. It's here religion. You can handle here, throw her up but she would fall down as a rock even ready to die. There is no reason to make her fly on this planet after the sunset.

Horned screamer, Peru

Wet and happy we came back, got changed and after a fast night swim-wash fell asleep in a hammocks in a wooden three-walled house. The night was cold and we made the inside hammocks nests from the sleeping bag and a warm blanket. Wherever you go it's better to have something warm even in tropics.  

The second night we went to sleep in Amazon Jungles to feel their breath. We not only felt it we've heard it.

Amazon river camping. Peru....we were laying in a hammock and listening for a night Jungle Song. Of at least 7 different insects and a couple of frogs were performing the best lalabye ever. A couple of big hairy spiders crawled from the inside of the mosquito net in a search of a fresh food. The Amazon River delta was wet and swampy and the hammocks were the usual way to sleep in a jungles. The life don't stop here and continues 24/7. So, the lalabye lasts the whole night and the different singers (or hunters) sing, moan, scream, whisper, lough, rub, squeal,stomp, eat, gurgle, grunt etc at the different times or all together. It was the wonderful and unforgettable night in Peruvian part of one of the countless Amazon delta rivers.

The monkeys were everywhere.

Lazy Monkey. Peru.

One day we went to catch piranhas and find the pink dolphins on Rio Yavary. We went down the liquid border between Peru and Brazil and just before we got to piranhas place we found out that we forgot the baits. No worries. We went to the closest village and Miguel brought the chicken skin. It was even better, because the fish bait would easily fall of the hooks.

We attached the boat to one of the tree close to the riverbank, cut the chicken skin into the small pieces and threw them into water. To attract piranhas we had to make the noise with the tips of our wooden stick rods to pretend that the chicken is struggling and dying in water. Piranhas were there seconds later.

Their teeth were sharp and they bit off the baits easily from the hooks so we were studying the art of piranhas catching. The main thing of this art is-don't be late. Lana got the first one.

21-img_6863It wasn't big but was of enough size for dinner. To take out the fishing hooks Miguel was holding piranhas with two fingers from the both sides of their heads. I wasn't that gentle, that's why I got bitten twice. The second time the small fish bit off the 4mm round ball off my finger and there was a lot of blood which I couldn't stop straight. I thought: " Fine. I need to put some of my blood on a chicken skin and it's gonna definitely attract the bigger monster." It did. It took two seconds as soon as the bait touched the water and I pulled out the biggest piranha of our day catch. 

Miguel said that sometimes he is catching 1kg huge piranhas and their teeth can be used as a razor blades for shavings or as a cutters for the hair. They are so sharp! He took one fish and cut off some of my hair by sliding her head upon mine to prove. It worked.

They are not a tasty fish and I wouldn't catch them if I don't have to. They tasted as a dry carp. Sure Chinese would add some mayonnaise and spices and eat it all.

piranhas

But...there is the tasty fish in Amazon river. It's Pirarucu which is also called Arapaima. The fisherman go hunting for a week to find her. She can be 3 meters huge and can attain a weight of 220kg. It's an air breathing fish so they find her on sound when she comes up to the surface and sips the air. They have a primitive lungs and gills, but normally breathe with air because they live in the oxygen poor waters. It's one of the biggest freshwater fish in the world, biggest in Amazon river and the tastiest one.

We found it in Leticia's fish market and bought one kilo to cook. I used the top back flesh for ceviche and it's belly for frying. It was delicious! I must say it was one of the tastier fishes I've eaten in my life. That's why we went on a fish market the next day too.

There are several ingredients in ceviche but when I squeezed the lemon, salted, tasted it and gave it to Lana, we decided to eat it straight and don't spoil it with another stuff. The fried part was so tasty too-it just melts in a mouth.

Arapaima, Pirarucu ceviche, Leticia

Leticia is the main Colombian port on Amazon river and you can take off to anywhere from here but upon the water. There are some shamans too who can treat you with the magic mother of plants Ayahuasca-plant based hallucinogenic tea. They can treat a lot of mental and body problems and if you want to get rid of some or all of them-there is the way.

We didn't try it, because we didn't need it. Lana was the main drug and medicine for me (stronger than coffee, so I couldn't fall asleep), and she said I was the main drug and medicine for her:) 

There are another shamans in the remote areas of Amazon river who treat people with venom of tree frogs. The venom is deadly, but they mix it with some secret herbs and it becomes a medicine for nearly everything. It's hallucinogenic too and it takes 14 days return and $6000.00 to get to that place on the boat with two interpreters (spanish and local) and of at least one guide. You need to get a permit from Brazilian government for a decent fee and prepare in advance. It's definitely worth it to experience something unforgettable and heal up at the same time.

There are the cannibals too. They drift, don't sit on one place and if you travel by yourself upon the river it's better to know about the area they possibly live and have some treatments for them such as the lollypops or pieces of smoked enemies.

There are still a lot of untouched by modern world places and I wouldn't say that the whole human's life is enough to discover and live of at least for a while in all of them. Anyway, there is always something undiscovered in Amazon forest. It can be wonderful and fatal at the same time.

Me and Miguel. Gamboa. Peru.

Medellin.

 Black and white city with the constant spring. Serious-looking people who wear jeans and warm sport shoes even in hot summer. Nice souls without smiles. Rare people speak english. Beautiful scenery and nice food, especially Zorba pizza. Graffiti which tells more than books. Lots of staff to do if you love cities.

I would swap it to the coast of Santa Marta but only for a reason that I love coastal line more than mountains. 

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We stayed in a really nice rooftop place in El Poblado and enjoyed the view every evening. 

Cartagena.

The climate and city itself are so different. In the middle of June it was hot and humid. We lived close to the old town, walked to there along the water and enjoyed the narrow streets and cafes. I love old port cities with the fortress walls, cannons and colonial buildings. 

Cartagena, ColombiaIt was nice to stay there for a couple of days, swim and walk. 

Definitely it wasn't enough. WE would stay longer in Amazonas, go to El-Cocuy National park and travel and camping along the coast. But it was the time to fly to Curacao.

We have to study spanish. It would be easy to travel in South America. They don't speak english even in international airports and some of the air companies were so specific. If you ever fly with Viva Colombia you need to print your boarding pass in advance, otherwise they won't let you to board. They don't print it on place even if you don't know. We had to run to internet cafe 1.10 minutes before boarding and they wouldn't let us go 10 minutes later without the boarding pass. That's strange but it's how it is here.

Be careful with Avianca air company-they are always late. Always!!! So don't arrange the connection flights at the same day. Otherwise it's gonna be fast and  not fun at all.

But it's all good! The sun is shining and the planet Earth is always have it's wonderful presents for us. Plan, pack your bags, get lost, fall in love and enjoy the ride!

See you somewhere on the intersections of this beautiful planet.

Dimi Kash

 

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