Ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted to see the great Amazon forest, now known to me as the Amazonas. I am a tall woman at 6’2” or 188cm. Throughout my life many have called me an Amazon woman. Even though the Amazon women warriors that the Greeks illustrated are not related to the Amazonas, I thought the title of this blog was fitting.
The Amazonas (Amazon Rainforest)
When I knew I was going to be travelling to Brazil, I made a conscious travel decision to see this most amazing dense and rich forested area called the Amazon rainforest that helps oxygenate our entire planet. In fact, 1/5th of the earth’s oxygen comes from this awesome place. I consider the Amazon one of the best places to travel, especially now! Watch this great little PBS video on the Amazon! Thanks to Anita Jetzer for posting this on her facebook page.
I travelled from Recife by plane to Manaus staying at a sweet little Airbnb in the rainforest (outside the main city) run by a vegan couple, Douglas & Rebecca. It was a most intriguing and enlightening experience being in the rainforest.
My room had air conditioning and I try for the most part not to use it unless absolutely necessary. It is good to get fully acclimated to the weather here. There is 100% humidity every day. The temperature ranges from In December it is the high season for travelers and the rainy season. I do not mind, after all… this is the rainforest. That being said, I have seen plenty of sunny days and I prefer the slightly overcast days with some rain over all sun.
Amazon Rainforest Sloth
Within the first couple of days of being here I got to see a sloth! Sloths are such beautiful creatures moving so slowly – they seem to be a symbol for me while I am here to slow down and truly smell the sweet air and the flowers.
The air is so sweet smelling every day. You see birds and crawly things every day and I for the most part do not have any issue with any of it. Surprisingly, even mosquitoes don’t seem to be a big issue here. I have been here for almost 10 days and only a couple of small bites that went away very quickly.
Known as the largest rainforest on planet Earth, there are 427 different species of mammals, 1300 types of birds, 378 reptile species and more than 400 different amphibians. Thus seeing the rich diversity of wildlife here is a real treat.
I have watched the great parrot fly over my head many times, Macaws and tiny hummingbirds (known as colibri in Portuguese). There are so many varieties of birds, always chirping, always singing or at times squawking. I’ve seen monkeys, big ones with fat fluffy tails and little tiny ones too. I’ve also seen many types of lizards. The quantity of wildlife is so beautiful and I never tire of seeing or hearing them.
Amazon River Cruise Bucket List Experience
Yesterday, I had a dream come true bucket list experience. I have always wanted to see the beautiful pink dolphin of the Amazon river. I finally got to see these dolphins in the wild amazon river and experience them in their home. They came very close and I could feel their smooth skin under my feet. Some people would get frightened from this. I was very much at ease with their presence.
I felt a lot of hope for the planet after seeing the abundance of dolphins almost everywhere in the Amazon. My tour operator said with a smile “Yes, they are like dogs, they are everywhere.” The people here definitely care for them. They are fed fish quite often by tour operators (which is not really ideal, however, at least they are not being hunted or kept captive). There are also plenty of dolphins that don’t partake in free food. The river dolphins are always free to swim wherever they want. None are held against their will. As soon as the fish are gone, the dolphins usually take off too and enjoy the rest of their day.
After this, it was a wonderful time to meet with the Tiyuka tribe (still not sure of spelling). Although they are influenced somewhat by city culture (and tourism), it was wonderful to see that they care for their traditions and they live a fairly simple life in their own self-made huts. I really appreciated the children as you can see that their lives are very sweet and gentle. I don’t see any smart phones on them and that in and of itself is a beautiful thing.
There are also some amazing small communities that live on the waters edge. Their homes are like houseboats only larger and you can see that they live simple lives. Again, you see less smartphones and just living very simple lives. Hanging their clothes outside. Eating together in their small community. It is really beautiful to see that people live like this today.
As much as I am happy that I was born into the life of modern reality, I cannot say for certain that my life is any better than the tribal person or the waters edge community of the Amazon. It seems to me that their lives are very simple and happy.
One of the most famous places in Manaus and the Amazonas is called “the meeting of the waters”. This is where the Amazon River and the Rio Grande connect. Here you see dark colored water and muddy water mix. The muddy water is quite warm and the dark water is quite a bit cooler. I love how the bodies of water converge. Even though you can see that the waters try hard to mix, they still remain like separate entities only touching like they are holding hands.
Having this experience in the jungle of the Amazon rainforest has been truly enlightening and incredible to witness. There is such diversity of wildlife and incredible nature to be seen here. When you know that the planet depends on the safety of this place, you start to realize its huge magnificence.
Despite the fact that there is a lot of recycling that goes on in Brazil, there is still a problem with garbage and seeing plastic or other junk in the water or the forest. Thankfully, it is not as bad as what I thought I might see. However, it is important to note that it does exist and that there are people, particularly Gen Y and Millenials that want to make a difference and fix it. I am confident, especially after seeing the difference in India, that with some leadrship, the cleanup of plastic waste could happen very quickly.
Also, it would be wonderful, like India if the Amazon Rivers could be considered sacred and a living being like they have done for the Ganges in India. This is my hope and dream for all bodies of water.
ADDENDUM AUGUST 3, 2019: I was on twitter and noticed a story by Nomad Relevations and his time in Manaus. It really highlights how you can help support indigenous tribes in the Amazon by visiting their tribe. The families love their lifestyle and want to continue sharing their customs. It makes me feel really happy that I bought a handicraft from them. You can read the entire blog here.