After church services, we boarded a medium-sized motorboat and headed out onto the Itaya River, soon joining the Amazon River itself (or, as it is apparently sometimes still called at this point, with the Marañón River). The place where they join is easy to recognize, because the Itaya is blue while the Amazon is distinctly brown, roughly the color of coffee with cream.
Although I’ve been to Peru once before — and also, very briefly, to Brazil — I’ve never before been to the Amazon. It was fun, though, to muse that I’ve now sailed on both the Nile and the Amazon within roughly the past month.
The scenery was exactly as I had always pictured it. The river is vast here, though smaller than it will become, and it is lined on both shores with jungle that is punctuated by the occasional small hut. I saw almost no people, except those on other boats.
We traveled for the better part of an hour, about twenty-five miles, downstream. Headed, in other words for Brazil. From Iquitos to the mouth of the Amazon, where the river empties into the Atlantic Ocean, is something on the order of 2300 miles. That would be a fun cruise to take!
We finally got off on the north bank, at a kind of resort or lodge called Ceiba Tops. It consists of clusters of individual or duplex cabins around a central eating facility, reception area, and swimming pool. It’s in the midst of dense jungle forest and is quite beautiful.
I’m looking forward to meeting the resident tapir, whose name is Cynthia. She is apparently very friendly and, since some critics, in their confusion, have pronounced me “Tapir Dan,” I need to greet her and see whether she’ll consent to have her picture taken with me. (Out here in the jungle as she is, she may not care about the social disgrace that such a photograph will inevitably bring upon her.)
This afternoon, we took a two-hour nature walk around the Ceiba Tops area with our local guide, whose knowledge combines having been raised in a tribal village roughly 125 miles upriver from Iquitos with, he says, a lot of time spent around scientists. Anyway, although the humidity was unspeakable, it was fascinating to walk through the rainforest with someone who can read the jungle like a book. We even saw the frogs and ants who provide two of the main ingredients for curare, the poison that certain tribes use on the darts of their blowguns. Given my notoriously vicious personality, such knowledge may prove useful not only for message board interactions but in future engagements with children, puppies, and bunny rabbits.
Incidentally, while I’m thinking of it, I need to mention that one of those in our group is a retired member of the music faculty at BYU, a historian of music and a percussionist. So it was fun, in the museum of indigenous peoples in Iquitos yesterday, when he had the opportunity to play a set of the Amazonian drums that they have on display there.
Posted from Ceiba Tops Lodge on the Amazon River, Peru