18 October 2009
This is from the car ride to the jungle.
They took us straight up to a little hut where we met our guide who was all geared up like really we're going into the rainforest with his machete and all.
First of all I will mention that this is a big area of forest because this guy won the lottery and decided to spend the money to preserve this floresta. So the Trilha Boa Paz that we took is just a section of it the rest is off limits for preservation. And they really do emphasize that the people on these tours be very respectful and they don't alter the environment much for this trail but this is why you will see signs with common and scientific names for the different trees and plants.
The guide was telling us all sorts of information about the plants in this forest, but also mentioned the traditional indigenous use. I am going to try to remember as much as I can but there were just so many things and I wasn't writing it down or anything so..
This tree's bark for example, was used as dye. They used it as body paint in many cases.
This trunk is from threes that when they rot, only rot on the inside but the outside is left hard and sturdy so these were used as pvc pipes.
This tree was the tree of 7 barks (common name) I forgot what it was used for but I think it had somehting to do with medicinal teas.
This plant, the bacris setulosa is a spine palm. The guide told us that it has poison in the spine that makes the area of contact swollen for days and numb? I think he said something like it was/is used for surgery.
That one pvc pipe trunk was put into the water spring and we drank some new, baby water.
The trees are just so majestic.
Then we came to a little hut where I guess we were going to be having a light lunch. The tour said it encluded a little cafezinho, we thought it meant coffee, but I guess it would be coffee with a little more. This boy was like a friend or son of the lady who was preparing us some lunch. He was so cute and knowledgable about the forest too. He was giving us a little tour too. telling us about his necklace made of seeds. He is holding on to a cacau in this picture.
Anyone know EL Chavo del Ocho? look at his shirt! It's pretty big in Brasil too apparently.
This one is a bit more green but this picture was more for the structure of the tree.
there were lots of interesting tree formations tha tI had never seen in my life!
This tree is like a tripod kidn of but with like webs in between, the webs being thin slabs of trunk, and indigenous people sometimes used these to communicate with each other by banging on the trunk so they didn't have to use their voices and disturb other animals.
The only two yellow flowers I saw in the whole forest.
This if it doesn't look familiar to you, is used to make brooms and brushes. My mom used to have her hair done with brushes made of this material in Mexico.
My friend has really good eyes. while I was overwhelmed with everything that was going on all over the place and she would always be like "look at that little tiny frog in that pile of leaves, or this stick insect that blends in with the sticks."
This is totally where they got the idea for the Mario mushrooms.
Then the guy told us to walk over this river across the fallen tree, and one friend was very scared about doing this, she told me to go afterward because if she was the last one she would most likely not go across. So she finally made it across then I went, and the guy was like okay now come back. And my friend "really? I thought we were going across because the rest of the trail was that way" it was kind of funny.
Here we are coming back. ps I know I look ridiculous I just ran out of clothes and didn't want to carry my sister's kanga so I just wore it.
Then we did the whole tarzan thing. It actually works. These vines are STRONG
Pineapple. I once had a debate with a friend about whether pineapples grow above or underground. It turnes out we're both right,...as usual.
Other things we saw were dried sap that smells like perfume and is used as incense, an oil tree, a really strong one that is usually used for furniture, huge seeds the size of bowls, a super huge spiderweb that could sustain a pound I bet. Lots of intricate flowers and leaves. We heard a tucan too. oh lots of things.
Then we came back and had lunch. The lady had prepared us potatoes, cooked plantains, coffee, orages, and cuzcuz! my favorite! And I must say this was one of the best if not THE BEST cuzcuz that I had in Brazil!
And simple with a little bit of butter on it. sooo good. It is my new comfort food!
And yes we finished it all. we had a little left over and this is what came of it
"okay we take out all the butter out of the butter container"
"but it's a full container"
"I know we'll just leave a little butter, enough to butter our cuzcuz and take it with us"
"neah, too much effort lets just finish it"
This is the only coffee I have ever liked! It was the best coffee in the world...that I have tried.
Oh i was soo full. And right after that we went kayaking.
I kept crashing. But crashing while kayaking in a calm river is the funniest thing ever, becuase it is in really slow motion but you can't do anything to stop it because of the momentum and the flow of the water so you're just like "noo...." for 5 minutes. jk. but it seems like a really long time.
then we broke out into a musical again. The whole time we were like being weird, and the guide would sometimes laugh at us, or with us, but I'm pretty sure he didn't understand because sometimes they would be inside jokes about cracki and he would still laugh. he was great for putting up with our weird stuff. Here we are singing the Color of the Wind from pocahontas, which is actually not that far from the real indigenous epistemologies of multinaturalism and perspectivism.
It was so appropriate.
The end of the trail.
Feelings, nothing more than ..feelings:
This has been one of the best experiences that I remember ever. I seriously really really enjoyed myself but I also felt like this was a very roots trip. I wasn't expecting this but, as I've mentioned before I have indigenous backgrounds and when the guide was talking about the plants' uses by indigenous peoples, I just felt like I somehow remembered this all.
And it just made me feel--even though my most recent indigenous group the Huichol aren't Amazonian--I still felt like "I come from this".
The guide said I looked like an indian espeically with the bark paint on. And I'm like, i know I AM. well, not Indian but I knew what he meant. And I'm not sure if it was that, or just being so in touch with the environment--or both. But I just felt like this is familiar, and I feel good here.
We actually stopped for a while at one of the biggest trees in the area and just thought/meditated. And I just felt like I understood more about the epistemologies. I wasn't seeing all this stuff as like "mine" and I can master or manipulate it. Like the conception is usually in the western/industrialized countries with this notion of property and land and territory. I felt like I understood the concept of interdependence a little more deeply.
And I know it is hard not to exoticize and other these other forms of life but I felt like at this point it wasn't really an issue, it was about learning about them and knowing what they do but with a lot of respect.
I don't really know how to explain everything that I felt on this trip but I was exhilirated like when you were homesick for such a long time that you forgot what you were missing and then all of a sudden you are back and you remember.
It reminded me of something my professor had said, that sometimes what happens is that this interest or re-membering, sometimes skips a few generations but then it comes back.
the word re-member is put pieces back together, like a puzzle. And I felt like this is what this trip gave me. It was really a trip.