... strange dreams
but i figured i'd be "doing ayhuasca" today
so i had tea for breakfast
all four varieties:
Maté de Cocao, Manzanilla (chamomile), Anis, Canela y Clovo, and a glass of Star fruit juice.
i enjoyed petting the capybara again this morning
that strange clicking sound he makes
... even the pet dog was friendly with him...
then we went off to the school
a small open air boat down the Napo
in the next stream
we went into the first big house we came to
surrounded by animals
... pigs, chickens...
and a strange raccoon-like creature they had made a pet of
the mother held it
played with it
then it jumped out of her lap and ran along the roof beams
Ary was using this house to explain things about the culture..
in this area
they are trying to make the people stop killing all the animals
-- everyone here kills everything they can get their hands on
and eats them
but it's not good for tourism:
all the animals learn to be afraid of humans
so don't come around
so this raccoon thing, the capybara at the lodge
trying to convince people to see them as friends and stop hunting them.
he showed us the construction of the house
open fire stove
flame licking up
smoke blackened ceiling
a work shop
the little raccoon thing interested... but skirting us.
we left there, thanking them
walked around and saw various houses
Ary gave me a fresh chiquita banana
small, but not a finger banana
The children gathered
clotted to us like platelettes
followed us in droves
to the house built high, on a little hill, to look over the river
the family that sold the gasoline
.. another strange raccoon beast
with baby kittens, still blind, staggering around the floor
it was a wonder they didn't get smashed
bought more necklaces from the young girls...
went through a large brick building with a satelite phone
men Taking the day off, drinking their own rum
drunk in the morning
across a large covered bridge to the school-house
... i'd started chasing the kids around
getting them all riled up
but in the school
everyone was calm
Jim remarked on how patient they all were--
lack of Tv & Cocacola?
they sang us their national anthem
so we sang them ours..
i didn't know all the words...
and could not sing it from my heart
just swallowed it
we sang the ABC's song twice
sang the second time with me pointing at the alphabet chart so they could have some idea of what we were singing about
... we gave our gifts
then headed out to the lawn
i bought another necklace
then took off my jacket
let down my hair (i'd braided my beard to entertain them)
took off my sandals
... and started chasing them!
running all around the yard
slipping in the grass
catching kids (not trying too hard to catch them)
lifting them over my head
roaring and growling
i stopped for a while to rest
and tried to teach a kid who was playing a string game by himself
our "cat's cradle"
which i played growing up
and it's more fun, right? you do it with two people...
... he didn't get it
Regina and i started doing it
and then a local woman recognized it
and she started showing the kid...
i grabbed a kid who had forgotten i was a monster
- a boy wearing a "quicksilver" shirt who i'd not been able to catch before
-- i spun him around a long time and lifted him up and down...
turned him upside down
and tickled him squirming on the ground
... chased a few more kids around
then we went to the boat to leave
the kids followed us
and one of them hurt another
so i leaped out of the boat
and picked up the little crying boy
& carried him away from the throng
cradling him like a baby
i pet/reikied his head & kissed his neck, trying to make him feel better
-- never been great at comforting people
but the attention made him stop crying
he just looked at me
.. i put him down in the grass
and ran down to the boat
back to the lodge
i napped & slept through lunch!
woke right before everyone left to visit the shamans at the EthnoBotanical garden..
caught up & sat & listened to another guide with another group...
Ary handed me a variety of spilanthes:
but different than ours: smaller flowers..
perhaps 7mm diameter
he then introduced me to one of the shamans who took care of the gardens
a guy named Guillermo
who offered to give me a tattoo from the same plant i'd read about Tobias Schneebaum using to colour his body black when he lived in the amazon..
it was called Huito
they asked me what i wanted on my face!
i told them "Jaguar"
and i thought he'd do it in the shaman style like i'd seen in the museum
but.. he did a little cat face on my fore head!
it looked kinda silly
but there i was: stuck with it for a week or so.
it was watery, very light grey when he put it on
over the next few hours it darkened to black
the two shamans (the other was named Julio)
gave out peices of Uña de Gato
and offered to sell us balm made of it
and some special type of oil they said was all the rage in china...
-- i asked Guillermo if he would show me the Ayhuasca (" Soul Vine ")
he showed me where it was... and then how it was growing Everywhere!
-- right next to some San Pedro cacti
he told me the vine was mixed with the leaves of Yage (they call it Ayhuasca "yage" in columbia.. but here it is another plant)
the leaves of another sisterplant: Chacaruna
and ... "Angel Trumpets"... "Toé" ... or what we know as "Datura"
he cut me a small slice of the vine
i smelled it
he said it was used here as a regular medicine to rid the body of parasites
but mixed with the others for shamanic work...
then he lifted the lid off a bucked by the wall behind us
and... there was an Anaconda inside.
he pulled it out and held it up for me to see
then let me hold it
... the rain was coming down now
and our group had left while i was looking at the plants
so i just enjoyed the feel of the snake on my body
let it crawl up my arm
wrap itself around my neck and chest
it's not poisonous: it's a constrictor...
like the snake i had as a pet for many years as a teenager
.. he took some pictures of me
then gave me a large piece of fresh Ayahuasca, Uña de Gato balm
and the special oil
and a plastic bag to wrap the camera in
i walked back through the rain, through the forest
and got to the dock just in time for the boat to be leaving:
they were heading off to catch Piranas!
so i ran down to the dock and jumped in the boat
and off we sped.
i took off my shirt
put everything in the plastic bag
.. everyone else was wearing panchos
- i was naked to the waist
i stood up in the boat
feeling the rain hit my body..
it was cold if i was sitting down
for some reason
warm when i was standing up
so i rode most of the way standing
it put me more in touch with my surroundings
all that nature touching me so intensely
i was high..
the destination was the same inlet the school was on
but much further back
we baited simple stick-rods, lines, hooks with...
beef? pork? water buffalo?
stuck hunks of raw meat on the hooks
and dangled them in the water.
because pirana have such sharp teeth
they don't get caught the same way
they don't try and swallow the whole bait
they just rip it to shreds: avoiding the hook
so the technique for catching them was different
: when you felt them biting
you had to yank the rod quicky
attempting to spear the fish
our beefy and very indigenous-looking boat driver was excellent at catching them
he caught three big fish
apart from him
i am the only one who caught any
and i caught two small ones
which, apparently, one wasn't a pirana
but some other variety of similar fish.
mine was the size of an angel fish
his were the size of two & 1/2 fists
orange belly, big teeth
Ary told us they wouldn't eat us
it's only in the movies that humans get devoured by pirana
he stuck his hand in the water
the women gasped...
out of meat
the mosquitoes getting heavy
and everyone tired of not catching anything
we rode back to the lodge
-- not much rain
i stood up in the boat when we got back on the napo to try and dry my pants...
i kept turning to watch our boat driver...
turning back to watch the water and sky
... eventually i got cold an sat down
right before we turned back up the Sucusari (where ExplorNapo is)
i was continually amazed at how much water our boat and small engine displaced
huge waves that would rock & fill the low-riding dug-out canoes...
sometimes we'd slow down as we passed the locals
the drivers wouldn't notice them and get them wet...
when we got back
Jim had been watching the Yellow Rump Cassics making their nests
hanging sack-like nests from the branches in the trees out front
he said he'd been out there for over an hour
.. i went to shower
then rub the oil of Copiaba on me.
i rested for a while in the room
then went back to the lodge & deck to chat with Jim &E&D&J&P.
we went in for dinner
i had more tea while Ary played & sang
i realized now was not the time for consuming & brewing Ayuhuaca
so i ate dinner
which wasn't great:
the first lodge had much better food...
and i notice Ary never ate the food they served for us...
but the papaya was good
then we got back in the same boat & went out for a night ride...
motor at first... slow... quiet...
just two men paddling (guillermo up front)
we saw birds, "manequin", sleeping in the trees,
their plump little bodies squat and still on the tiny branches
& in one
a black/green/shiny snake heading up the branches to eat one of the birds!
Guillermo grabbed the snake out of the tree (he's a snake aficionado)
and gave it to me.
everybody in the boat freaked out
-- Jim included.
very unhappy i had the snake in the boat
but i pet him and held him & wrapped him round my neck..
but he was uncomfortable... wanted to be released
and everyone was on his side
so i let him go on a bank after about 10 minutes from the tree where the bird was:
better luck next time..
more birds on the branches..
sleeping blue iridescent butterflies
and other frogs...
the sky cleared
the ring around the moon
watching it reflected inn the water..
the frogs, crickets, birds all talking
moving through the dark liquid night...
back to the lodge
Guillermo gave Pancho a massage
so i got my oil and worked on Ary for a while
sitting in the chair for a bit
but massaging in a char is no good [no bueno]
so i he layed on the floor & i did my proper style
neck, head, face, shoulders, back & chest.
he was zonked
he was impressed
i was glad
only us left in the lodge
he was passed out for a while
when he woke
i told him to drink plenty of water
then came to bed to write by the light of the lantern