Monday, 6 June 2016

Amazonas


In the end of May, at the end of my semester abroad, we did our trip to Leticia. Leticia is a colombian city next to the Amazonas at the border to Brazil and Peru. From here, we could start our Amazonas-trip that took us deep into the rainforest. It was also our last trip together before we exchange students parted our ways, me heading to the Galapagos Islands while some of the others went to the Caribbean Coast and the rest just stayed in Ibague for the last days before going back home. I already miss all of them, but I will write about that seperately.



So when we arrived, we had actually no idea what was awaiting us on our 3-day trip through the rainforest. And I certainly didn't expect we would kind of live on a boat slowly driving along the Amazonas for most of the time. Neither did I expect the boat we were using was more like a kind of house-boat, called "hipimovil".



But I shortly learned this was really the best way to travel along the Amazonas. Sure, there are some speedboats, but people there have no hammocks, no change of taking pictures of the surrounding area, no possibility to spot some delfines on the river or monkeys in the trees. Also, this was a great possibility to catch up on missing hours of sleep from the previous night.


You must know, I had probably the worst night of my life on this trip. On the first day, after a day filled with activity, lots of sun and not enough water, I had quite a headache. Furthermore, on the nightwalk through the rainforest I got my pants covered with mud. Since we all slept in the same room of some "hotel" somewhere more than 50 km from Leticia, we only had one shower. I didn't want to make my bed dirty with my pants so I just sat down on the floor to read a book while waiting for my turn. Which also meant, that while I would be safe from all those insects of the rainforest in my bed because it had mosquito-nets I was quite unprotected on the floor and already slightly annoyed with fighting off some weird insects while having headache. Unfortunately, it turned out there was no potable water in this hotel, so no way to take a pill against my headache, which was bad because once I have it, the pain won't stop without pills. So I was already preparing for a horrible night. When in almost exact that moment, one of my friends spotted this huge spider on the window above my bed.


I was so shocked, while I almost jumped to the opposite corner of the room while stating I won't sleep in that bed, I didn't even feel my headache for a while. So when I finally slept, I woke up everytime I touched the mosquito-net, in paranoia the spider might sit just outside of the net, and as well woke up like every hour because my head hurt so much I felt just really really sick. And when we finally got up for the next day, the spider was gone. I never went those 5 steps to the bathroom that carefully.



On the bright side, now I definitely won't ever forget my trip to the amazonian rainforest! The climate was really quite humid when leaving the river, but on the boat we could enjoy being cooled by the winds. What impressed me most was how wide the Amazonas really is. It's more like a big lake than a river, I guess the biggest river I saw until now had less than a fifth of the width of the Amazonas. And I can't imagine that the water line even rises some months of the year. Where does all this water even come from? They told me, there's this island called "Isla Fantasia", because every year the island disappears. That's why the houses are built on piers - and some years, even that isn't enough.



There are actually lots of people living even in the farthest spots along the river. They are organized in communities and even have TV and such stuff, so definitely different from what I expected. But they do know the plants around and some of the communities even have their own language. And some of the bigger communities are called "cities" and have at least 2 different churches - not only TV found its way into those regions. And, I was quite surprised, even 70 km away from Leticia, the nearest city that's probably not bigger than my hometown I grew up with, I had data on my phone and could get into the net. Never expected that - but really great because I really needed to share my spider-story.



Some weeks back, I was in the desert (I didn't manage to write about it, maybe it will follow) and they told me the stars will be marvellous. They were, but it was nothing compared to the stars in the rainforest, far away from city lights. That's a sight one can only enjoy and hope to see soon again! And what I would also totally do again is go to the hotel we were the last night. They had tame monkeys and parrots. The monkeys were really cute, one even sat down on my arm. But stay away from the parrots, they are mean! I got attacked by two of them, and one actually pecked me in my leg, I still have the mark. But then, I also had more than 140 mosquito bites all over my body (I counted them because my friends did a bet on how many I have) so this one little peck didn't really matter.


And I am totally sure I didn't mention all the important things I experienced while there, so you better ask about more stories when I come back! I don't know if I would go into the rainforest again, but I am really glad I got the opportunity to go there at least once in my life!