Day 74 - Art of jungle plant medicine, night walk

Trip Start Sep 30, 2012
Trip End Jan 09, 2013

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Flag of Peru  , Loreto,
Thursday, December 13, 2012

Our day started with breakfast and a walk into the jungle to an area that has been assigned for marking the medicinal plants and trees in the area. Since the lodge is focused on research many visitors come to the lodge to study the plants, insects, birds and animals species. Leo and Plus walked us through the trees and explained the different properties and how they have been used by the Indians for many years. There were plants for the treatment of cancer, kidney problems, malaria, fevers, and even a wild garlic plant that is used to fix you if you have a sad or angry spirit or problems in your marriage etc. There was also a tree whose bark is the cure for snake bites. It was very fascinating. We also saw spiders, crabs, snails and several other insects that were unlike anything we'd seen before. There were even ants called Bullet Ants that were huge and could kill a person. Scary!

After quite a walk we arrived at the Shaman house. This is a place that has been built for visitors who would like to try the Hiyawaska plant. It's a hallucinogenic that is meant to help you overcome fears, worries or things along those lines with the Shamans help. Leo showed us the plant and also a plant that is used by the Shaman to help ease your journey. He basically hits the user on the head and body with the leaves to try calm them down while they are hallucinating. Very interesting.

We then headed back to the lodge for lunch and a rest. After a lovely storm and rain, we climbed into the boat and went for a cruise up river. Leo suggested that we return to the mouth of the river to see if we could find some pink dolphins. We agreed and were rewarded with an amazing dolphin show! Around six pink dolphins were feeding in the river mouth and we sat and watched for close on an hour as they surfaced and dived. There was even a mom with a baby. Leo then drove the boat in circles around them and they surfaced more regularly showing us the beautiful pink colour that makes them famous. It was exhilarating. They are incredible animals. We felt very lucky to end the day with them.

As it got dark, Leo and Plus took us for a short night walk. We grabbed torches and ponchos and headed out into the jungle just outside our lodge. We saw some big and hairy tarantulas, stick-like spiders, frogs, toads and great speckled geckos. The holes in each tree come alive at night with little creatures. To be honest our adrenaline was pumping at the thought of snakes and all the creepy crawlies but we really enjoyed seeing the jungle by night.

After much excitement we sat down to a traditional jungle meal. It was a piece of fish covered in a tomato and onion relish that had all been boiled together in a leaf. On the side was fried and boiled sweet bananas. We ended off with a purple jelly made from a purple maize plant. It was all delicious. We've had a super day and survived our jungle experience.

Tomorrow we make our way back to Iquitos and onwards to Lima. It's been a very interesting experience being in the jungle. We are totally out of our depth and have marveled at the local villagers who live in these conditions every day. Life is simple but definitely not easy.
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