23 June 2014

Peru: Day 13: Relaxing in the Amazon

This morning I woke to the sound of a bird that I've been trying to record for a few days. I crept out of bed, grabbed my recorder, and got some good samples. I had woken earlier than I had intended, so with my extra time I walked away from the cabanas to do some more recording. There are some amazing animal sounds around here, but any recording close to the riverbank is marred by the sound of motorboats putting up and down the river. Short of a hike three miles inland, there's not much doing to get rid of that sound. Bernie Krauss would have a lot to say about it.

The rest of D's group left this morning, so S and I had D to ourselves. We started the day off with a trip to a local farm. The farmers were in Puerto Maldonado for the weekend markets, so we wandered through ourselves. Most of the farm is agricultural, but they do grow some chickens for meat. Here's the house where the family lives:

As D took us around the farm, he told us a lot about farming in the Amazon. For example, there are papaya trees AND mamaya trees. The papaya trees have more fruit, but smaller in size. The mamaya has bigger fruit, but fewer of them. Also, after a banana tree fruits twice, it gets hacked off mid-trunk, and a new plant sprouts from the trunk We saw papaya, banana, lemon, lime, oranges, corn, cauliflower, cabbage, squash, cilantro, fake cilantro, basil, star fruit, coconut, and avocado. Here's a lemon -it's much larger than ours in the USA (about the size of a grapefruit):

S and D tromp through the fields

Also, D showed is this fruit whose name we can't remember (nina, or noni, or nani...):

After walking the grounds, we came back to the farmhouse and D hacked up a coconut, which he presented to S:

Then, a short boat ride back to the lodge and a chance to take a siesta before lunch (where I drank the coconut).

In the late afternoon, we met up with D one last time for a paddle around the lagoon here at the lodge. We saw lots of birds and insects, but only one fish (which was in a heron's mouth):

Then, back to the lodge, where we left D with a nice tip (he said he would share it with the others), and another break before we do the night cruise again.

After the cruise was one last dinner, which featured a spectacular dessert: roasted plátanos with clove, cinnamon, and vanilla, in a butter-rum sauce. Whoa. On the way back to the cabana, we stopped for a quick photo of the upstairs of the lodge. All of the buildings here are open to the air (but with screens) - there are very few solid walls.

Tomorrow, we depart our jungle habitat, bound again for Cusco, our final stop of this trip!



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