In my previous post, I noted that we had finally received our missing luggage. And the sole reason this miracle occurred, was because kind-hearted people chose to help us: both our Treehouse Lodge hosts, and the lovely lady at the Peruvian Airline desk at the airport in Iquitos.
In our newly improved state of mind, we hopped in another boat, this time to try fishing for piranhas.
Our lodge (and all Amazonian lodges) are located on smaller tributaries off the very large Amazon river… the confluence of which is a veritable playground for dolphins of both pink and grey varieties. They were jumping out of the water everywhere!
This video kind of jerks around…
Yes… there are pink dolphins too. If you’re like me and aren’t as wildly obsessed with dolphins as some (many?) females, this will may be news to you. (I’ve met more than one girl with an engagement ring shaped like a dolphin. Is that strange to you? I found it pretty strange. Definitely not my kind of thing. Seems a little intense. I mean, I don’t think we should eat them… but I also don’t feel a need to pay tribute to them via a tattoo or ring. But maybe that’s just me.)
Anyway you know what else about pink dolphins? I find them creepy. Pink dolphins freak me out. There, I said it. They’re not even shaped like the grey dolphins. They look more like long pink fleshy chunks swimming in the water… jumping out of the water at you. Ew!
This is what I get for not doing enough reading before heading to a destination.
This entire time, I expected pink dolphins to be prettier than their grey counterparts.
That was really not the case.
But nevertheless, it was a nifty experience to be so close to Amazonian dolphins. In fact, there were so many frolicking dolphins, that one hit our boat and we rocked a bit… I was going to say it nearly tipped us, but that’d be a ridiculous exaggeration.
We also saw villages… and villagers. Kids were playing during the day, and in the evening a few homes seemed to have battery-powered yard lights. As we quietly passed by in the light of the setting sun, women were coming down to the river to wash their clothes and their children. It was very serene and poetic. I also felt really conspicuous and invasive for being there, in what felt like a private moment for them. We have no pictures of this. But this glimpse of the rhythm of life in the Amazon left an impression on me.
When we were in the Amazon, it was the dry season. You can probably tell in some of the pictures… the water line is way down. We could see this especially clearly on this particular trip. Usually the Amazon River is much wider, but because it was now so low, we were sometimes just in a muddy swamp, and the vultures were feasting…
More waited in the trees…
When we came to the fishing location, this old man and young boy were fishing. They showed us their catch, and we gave them some currency in exchange for the photo op.
Then our boat stopped, and our guide announced that now we were going to fish. He had brought a bunch of raw chicken skin, which we attached to the rusty hooks, and plunked ’em in the water. Fishing for piranhas.
Our efforts were not wildly successful. I caught a baby catfish. Our guide released it.
We were on this adventure with another couple, and they were CRAZY-LUCKY. They kept catching piranhas!
I was tempted to say that’s a picture of our fish… but that’d be a lie. Though Andrew did catch piranhas that big… they just got away. (It’s true! REALLY!)
Seeing the jungle up close from the river is mysterious… dark… fascinating. Lush.
We spent a very long time sitting contemplatively in the boat as the sun went down. My ass was killing me. But the four of us guests were apparently very content… and because we were not requesting to return to the lodge, we simply remained on the water, watching the sun go down. We later talked about it, and realized we had all been sitting there so long in quiet, polite agony, wondering how long before heading back. Meanwhile, our guide was simply allowing us to take it all in, for as long as we liked.
And you know what? I’m so glad things played out this way. When we arrived back at the lodge, I lay in my bed, staring up at the mosquito netting, but all I could see was the sunset in my mind, and the way it drew the women from their homes and down to the river, to wash in tandem. And all I could hear was the gentle splash-splash of the occasional dolphin leaping from the water, celebrating the setting sun. I wouldn’t have had the chance to soak in all these things if I’d actually mentioned that my bottom was sore. Sometimes it’s good to shut up and sit still and listen and look and feel.
Passing through the village on the way back…
Back at the dolphin’s playground at sunset.
It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.
Then we returned to the lodge and hurried to the dining room to eat.
That night I wrote in my journal: “The food here is pretty delicious. Lots of fish so far, and I love it. The desserts are always delicious too. Yesterday it was lime rice pudding, and dulce de leche custard. Breakfast tends to be communal, with platters of papaya, banana, pineapple, orange, “lunchmeat”, fried sausages, and spam/liver pate, which everyone talks about being afraid of, but we love. The coffee’s pretty good, when there aren’t granules in it. I guess I have to let them settle. And the juice is delicious.” I say “delicious” a lot.
I can’t remember for the life of me what that was. I think there was a hard-boiled egg in the very inside, rice on the outside, and it was cooked in a banana leaf. It was HUGE and intense. I think something about the title of the dish alluded to “treasure” — like, there’s a treasure in that rice… and it’s an egg. Something like that.
And then, back to our treehouse for a very good sleep. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.