Llamando el Jaguar

After an hour boat ride from the rio port at Iquitos we arrived at the jungle eco-lodge.

Right at the start of things I was kissed by a butterfly.

Here's my room. The only things separating me from the jungle are screens and wood walls. The acoustics emanating from the jungle at night are out of this world.

There's a maze of walkways and trails around the 250 acre property. 98% of the land is reserved for wilderness conservation and undeveloped. It was a private investment by the owner, without the assistance of NGOs and GOs, and I liken to his methology. I will invest the majority of my life earnings into wild lands so that they can remain so. The owner said that prior to when he bought the land it was protected under the government, but locals were still harvesting from it and got away with it because there was no monitoring. Now, he's taken up the slack to monitor the property and make sure no trees are being wrongfully caught or animals poached. When he hears a chainsaw, he checks it out.

It's a very magical place... my first chapter of the Jungle book.

There are two high points on the property they offer a 360 view of the jungle. I haven't seen any monkeys yet, but on my first night I thought I heard a few howling. Locals have nearly extinguished all the giant anacondas, jaguars, pumas and monkeys in the area. A few may pass through on the rare occasion yet it's unlikely. Amazonian indians of Peru, like the Bora and Shipibo, have lived in harmony with the environment for hundreds of years, but when the jungle is deforested and resources lost, they become more dependent on urban goods. They have realized the cash value for jaguar hides and lumber, so they harvest more than before, as are the urbanites. It's more of fault of the city folk that move out into jungle to harvest and bring back to the city than it is the native groups that hunt and gather jungle goods. I think the indians know that if they deplete their natural grocer then their culture will cease to exist.

Antactica does not have these big critters. I'm not exactly sure what it is I'm stepping on while running barefoot through the walkways, but hey, don't ask, don't tell... right?

Things to do... draw in the watchtower...

Row a boat.

Watch a sunset.

Do a rain dance.

Commune with the spirits.

Read up on native traditions. There's a phenomenal overlap in beliefs and practices of the natives of North America. The only difference is there are different animals, plants and seasons here.

Call for the jaguar.

The food is absolutely by far the best from-the-jungle food I've ever had. It's so simple and healthy. The cooks rarely use salt and sugar, but those excesses aren't even needed because the food is delish the way it is. My favorite so far is the alligator and quinoa. All the juices are hand squeezed every day. After 8-months of cooking in semi-corporate kitchens in the Arctic and Antarctic with processed and inorganic foods I've found my medicine. My stomach feels 10x better and my skin glows again. Despite the river fish and alligator I am going vegetarian. I've lost my lust for beef and pork.



The Chefs of the kitchen.

Yesterday we took a ride to the Bora gathering spot to do some trading.

I participated in one of the dances that was about hunting the anaconda.

The dude to my left in the photo below is Simon Amstell from the comedy world in Britain. He's stars on the upcomming sitcom 'Grandma's House' from BBC2 and specializes in stand-up. A pastey British stand-up comedian that rarely gets out of the city, now in the jungle, dancing with the tribeswomen is hilarious to watch.