Monday, November 21, 2011

Welcome to the Jungle, Part 1

We arrived last Monday into Iquitos, Peru, explored a couple of days around here then went on a four day jungle trip into Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. This entry is 'part 1' because from tonight we will be on a fast boat ride down the Amazon to Colombia...

I have figured out one environment I am not suited for and that is the jungle. There is something here that is hard to describe... it is not the unbearable heat and moisture, the massive and numerous insects of flying, crawling and biting varieties ... combined with an over abundance of life making the air heavy, everything feeding off each other parasitic and symbiotic, all decaying and being reborn. There are indigenous peoples who have lived simple lives for thousands of years, but now there has been some misplaced attempt to impose a society that was born out of a temperate Europe in this place and just doesn't seen to work... Well works enough to mine the resources, but leaves quickly disintegrating ugly ruins in its path.

Iquitos is the product of the rubber boom of last century... The only city for miles and the only way in or out is by boat or plane. To exemplify what it had been Gustaf Eiffel (guy who designed the Eiffel tower) designed a house here. If you wonder if rubber is good...think of two other places where they got rubber...Congo and Indochina. It's a hard product to get, grown in the jungle and requires lots of manual was slavery but worse. Fast forward to Iquitos today: streets choked with mototaxis (three wheeled combi motor bike and carriage for passengers), touts trying to get you go here and there, sell you things, and lots of old men (some are missionaries, some are here for fishing, but there also seems to be a big sex tourism element here as well of both adult and less than adult variety). Due to extreme poverty, this seems to be one of the results...and is quite out in the open. I am not writing this to judge, or call to action, but as an account of what there is. To de-anthropomorhize actually reminds me of the jungle...the young trees feeding off the old trees, slowly killing them, this bouquet of rot and decay and new life all in one.

I wanted to name this blog post Welcome to the Jungle after the GnR song. I vaguely remembered the lyrics, etc. I just read through them again and damn how they fit. It's even off the album Appetite for Destruction. Go now and read it.

I haven't written much about seeing the jungle or the animals. River dolphins are of my life long goals, accomplished. Fed baby manatees some papaya. Eventually after trekking in the jungle I felt some calm, almost getting used to it, but it was more that I got the point of maximum irritation and just had to accept the uncomfortableness.

To be continued...

No comments:

Post a Comment