Thursday, August 11, 2011

August 11 - Day 6

This morning we were able to sleep in, wake up call.  We had a nice breakfast, packed our – oh wait no we don’t have any luggage so easy to get ready – we are traveling today about 6 - 7 LONG hours to our accommodations very peaceful and we were able to spot many birds while traveling along.  We were poling down the Shiripuno River in order to enjoy the sights & sounds of the rainforest.  The sun was not as hot as it was still fairly early.  About 2 – 2 ½ hours we did stop at the Apika community – this was completely different from the earlier visit to the Achuar community.  Here they were signing and dancing, they loved to have their photos taken and with all digital cameras the young children loved to see their photos, really so did the adults so was a lot of fun here.  The women all danced together and laughed so hard and then the men got together with their flutes and palm leaves and danced from on side of the hut to the other.  Singing and laughing all the time.  One of the young lads took a liking to Kate and all the men started pushing them together, soon the ladies all joined in and afterwards we found out they were married.  Kate then had to serve everyone chicha (no still not trying this!)  A few minutes later all the men embraced another young boy and started shaking him and dancing with them trying to give him their energy, they were rubbing him and holding him. . . . This was so authentic, not at all a show – very real feelings.  They explained to us a bit how endangered the Yasuní Reserve is.  This was a great stop able to stretch our legs a bit from the dugout canoe.  It was soon time to complete our journey for the day, the kids were swimming and some thought was a good idea for a short break for a quick swim to cool off.  We continue to the campsite, but the heat of the sun and no padding on the canoe seats – we have to make many stops!   When the boat was moving, we struggled to keep still we were all hoping that we were strengthening our core muscles, but my legs were cramped from sitting in a near-fetal position.  The 6-7 hour journey ends at the Nenquepare campsite where your tents were already ready for us on wooden platforms.  Here there is only one bathroom and shower – they are in the works to add more bathrooms & showers!  Following a nice lunch we put on our rubber boots and set off with our guide Javier & Eme and the general manager Jascivan Carvalho to the waterfall.  This hour hike was hell for this 50 year old.  Much up and down and mud, I happily accepted the offer to use a walking stick and felt much better!  Then we got to the steps – I would swear there were over 2,000 but that maybe stretching it just a bit.  Until the steps were built (within the last 6 months) one would rappel to the waterfall.   These nice new steps were STEEP and there were a lot!  I lost count but I did make it.  The waterfall felt great and was beautiful.  But all I kept thinking about was the climb back up and the journey back to the lodge and if I would really make it.  As the others were putting their boots back on, I decided to start climbing / hiking up the steps – my thighs were burning and legs were shaking like crazy but I MADE IT!!!  It wasn’t easy but I did do it!  I sure needed the waterfall again as soon as I returned to the lodge!!!  We rested a bit and visited with each other amazed that we are only at day 6 and only 4 days in the Amazon as we have experience so much in such a short time.  Following our dinner we talked with the team about improvements that could be made to update the lodge and the campsites.  All to soon it was time for bed, the moon was shining brightly – would guess about 2 more days until the Full Moon, but it lit up the sky and where our tent was situated the moon shone through in the middle of the night – it was awesome!  This was a long day sitting all day in the canoe! 

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