…An early Mother’s Day present for Mom…
Gringo Adventures in the Amazon:
You may glaze over many of the things I talk about in this blog…but if you are even remotely familiar with the Dallos children…I dare say you’ll find this section rather entertaining. Anyways, after 24 hours of traveling, Matt, Julia, and Peter finally arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon. In truth, the whole experience of seeing my family and friends in this most unfamiliar of places was rather bizarre. It was as if Christmas Eve dinner had all of a sudden been transported…into the jungle. Nonetheless, I have to admit that their arrival in Santarem was a welcome change of pace.
Given the fact that creating a coherent narrative out of their trip is rather impractical, I’ve decided to present you with the highlights, lowlights, and hahalights…+ a few great pictures…of Matt, Julia, and Peter’s first few days in Brazil…enjoy!
- Despite being instructed by various health clinics to not swim in the river, all three decided to defy the advice of health professionals and take the big plunge on their very first day. It took Julia a few minutes to finally get in, but with a little time (and a slight push) she eventually overcame her fears and went river swimming. Quote of the afternoon: “Look at me…I’m swimming in the AMAZON!” (She was swimming in the Tapajós River however) – Julia Dallos
- Julia ate a giant, humongous, gimongous fish eyeball during on Friday night…all three men present were impressed…and slightly disgusted. Yes Mom…the girl who once lived off of gushers and hamburger helper ate…fish eyeball…and then acted like it wasn’t a big deal.
- We took a boat tour of the “Hidden Forest” on Saturday morning. Basically, the river level is so high in Alter do Chão that in some areas the forest is completely filled with water and you can take a boat into them and float amongst the tree tops. Pretty amazing to be cruising five meters above the forest floor. Funny of the Morning/Afternoon/Evening: Matt continually referring to the “Hidden Forest” as the “Forbidden Forest”…gotta love the subconscious Harry Potter references!
- Our boat pilot on the Hidden Forest tour spent a good amount of time telling us all about the dangerous creatures in the area. Everybody seemed thrilled to hear that 1. Anacondas are fairly common in the region and 2. “you better see them before they see you.” Nothing like spooking yourself out before you head into the rainforest.
- We made the big hike up Mount Alter (alright it’s really a hill…but again…it’s my blog) on Saturday afternoon and enjoyed an absolutely incredible view. Despite informing us that she wasn’t going to go up a solid 10 times throughout the day…Julia once again defied everybody’s expectations and made it all the way to the top. The only time she got angry was when we had to wade through chest height, murky water…that may or may not have been inhabited by stingrays and other strange things…but she was otherwise a picture of positivity.
- Peter, Matt, and myself went on a 3-4 mile run at 11:30 A.M on Sunday morning. Going for a run during the heat of the Amazon day without time to adjust to this environment…top marks all around.
- On Sunday evening we rented kayaks and watched the sunset out on Lago Verde. Truly stunning.
- We took the bus into Santarém (where I am posting this from now) this morning to get my birthday lunch with Donovan, Dan, and a few other amigos. Great time. However…being crammed like sardines into a humid, funky smelling bus for 45 minutes…the visitors weren’t amused.
- I slept in a proper bed and had a warm shower for the first time in over two months this weekend…small victories and simple pleasures…although I kind of missed my hammock and ice-cold showers.
Oh yeah…so my three visitors convinced me to come along with them during their Amazon riverboat three-day adventure that starts tomorrow. Although I have class on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I managed to ask for a couple of days off to spend time with people that flew thousands of miles to see me and that I rarely get to see. We head to the FLONA early tomorrow morning and will spend our first day hiking in the rainforest and visiting a local community. Should be an amazing few days!
- The ants ROLLED DEEP on me last Wednesday night. I wore a shirt to bed just to discourage them from biting me…but apparently that only inspired them to call in reinforcements and have a feast on my feet and ankles. Wearing socks to bed is about to happen.
- I found out that UFOPA is going to fly me out to Itaituba in mid-July for a week of teaching English to teachers located in rural communities throughout the region. Itaituba is about 300 miles west (even deeper in the Amazon) from Santarem and by all accounts is a pretty interesting place. Should be a fascinating experience!
- Another month…another lost umbrella. When you walk around with an umbrella all day you’re bound to lose it every four to five weeks. Don’t worry…I bought another one.
- If you like good hip-hop…go out and buy B.O.B’s new album Strange Clouds…I’ve been listening to it on repeat for the last few days. I may be living deep in the Amazon, but I always keep up to date on the latest music developments back home.
- My greatest-funniest-best-picture-ever wait continues…pairs of grown men tandem riding very small bikes keep passing me when I walk in the street…but I can never get my camera out in time! One day my dream will come true…one day!
Get ready for some entertaining Matt/Julia/Peter riverboat stories in the Amazon in my next post! Have a great week!
P.S We will be creating a Flikr album of their trip in the next few days with a compilation of photos. Facebook and Andyinhat updates to come at some point next week as well (internet cooperating of course).