ESCAPE THE ORDINARY: The Amazon, Part II – Parrots

Apr 11, 2016 | | Say something

“It’s a strange moment when you realise the sound of nature is the sound of millions of birds, animals and insects trying to get laid.”

Day 2 we woke up to wolf whistles -There were a lot of birds, no idea what species, that were all around that part of the amazon. They constantly called out to each other, and it sounded very close to a wolf whistle.

We hiked to see the parrots that live in the face of a cliff. The exact place we had been told about a previous visitor’s death. On the way, our guide Ernesto pointed out the paw prints of a jaguar in the sand. I have read that the jaguar, while smaller than a lion or tiger, is considered smarter and potentially more vicious, we never saw one, the paw prints were surprisingly small.

The parrots were beautiful, yet for some reason my camera could never capture their colours. I have a couple of bad pictures of grey parrots. But I held a bright blue feather in my hand, it was real, they weren’t grey, I’m not crazy. Not that crazy. Then we hiked to the top of the cliff. It was an amazing view of the jungle. There was a headstone, the only warning we needed to stay away from the edge. The writing was all in hebrew, the only thing I could read was the arabic numerals – the guy was 22 years old. Ernesto left some coca leaves and a lit cigarette by the headstone for the man’s spirit.

Another bird we saw is the condor – a predator that just glides around in slow circles, looking for it’s prey. One thing I’ve noticed is that most apex predators move slowly 90% of the time. When a lion chases a buffalo, it speeds up and attacks with ferocity. But when it’s going about it’s usual business, it moves as slowly as it can. I felt that same predatory calm in the condor. The parrots flew quickly, getting from A to B as fast as they could, not wanting to invite any danger. We survived the cliff and returned to base camp.

While our group consisted of just myself, Rory and our guide Ernesto, we were part of a bigger company. They all arrived in our camp, several guides, a french family, a young couple from London that looked like the English equivalent of Ken and Barbie, the kids of some of the guides and the czech woman that had married the head guide. The kids looked between 5 and 7 years old, and it was amazing to watch them running around with machetes, no-one seeming to mind as they had dangerous fun together.

After a rest at our camp, we packed up our stuff and went for a long hike to another section of the river. There we set up small tents with mosquito nets. W had dinner, and made our necklaces. We sandpapered down these hard shells from a peach palm fruit – chontaduro, for a good 20 minutes. Then Ernesto took over and did about 5 minutes more sandpapering on each one. Finally, he lit a cigarette and let it burn. With the ash he polished the brown outside of the shell into a dark black. Someone later asked me if it was onyx. Then he added a fish tooth and a couple of beads, threaded a string through it and gave us our necklaces. Protective amulets – more protection from Pachamama. Can’t say it didn’t work, I’m still here to type this.

After some relaxation, we went for a night walk. This is a walk with torches, our main goal was to find jaguars. If we were lucky we might see it’s eyes glowing in the dark. The walk took an hour, and sadly we only saw a spider.

Then bed. I tried to kill the mosquitos trapped inside my net, but gave up after I realised I couldn’t kill them all. I woke up to bites and more wolf whistles.



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