Friday, October 27, 2006

Agua blanca, crab brains, and the great flood...or...Don´t mess with big snakes

Picture 1: Rainbow in Tena.

Picture 2: The village of Huasila Talag, with brilliant green, rainforest-covered mountains rising dramatically in the background.

Picture 3: Pet parrot in a tree in our back yard. One day I was headed for the bathroom when I heard someone say "Hola." No one was around, but I stopped to make sure... As I headed for the bathroom once again, I heard another "Hola." OK this is a little weird. Finally, after making a complete idiot of myself, I looked up to see this wise guy...

Picture 4: Heliconia flower...theyre everywhere!

So, even though yesterday afternoon started out to be just about the most boring afternoon of my trip so far, it certainly grew more eventful with time. So, as I was deciding what to do, I heard a rumble of thunder...thus, I decided I had better not postpone my date with the river for a bath. Well, as I finished, it started I have never seen it pour before...EVEN HERE!!!!11!1 And my host brothers come rushing out and we wait under the roof of a building for the rain to subside a bit. Except that it they say well, let´s stay here, you won´t believe how fast the river rises. I´m like ok...right. Except that in 20 minutes, the normally slowly flowing river that is hardly deep enough to lie down in grows high enough to wash away full-sized trees.

After the thunder subsided, we still heard rumbling, which my host family explained was boulders being washed down the river bed and also landslides in the distance. It was almost a huge disaster, because the water came within 1 inch of flooding the school of which houses their new mini computer lab. About 20 villagers came wading through waist-deep water to help one family save their belongings as the water threatened to flood their house. In fact, 7 of their chickens had already been washed away. It was a really touching show of community solidarity, but the water thankfully soon began to subside.

So of course the logical conclusion to this eventful evening go fishing. Many fish by hand after a flood, but we had a small net. We caught all kinds of cool critters! In fact, my invertebrates professor, Gonzalo, would have been very proud. I ate so many taxa, imagine how much money I could have earned if we had still been in Panama! But yeah, that´s where the crab brains come, crabs, especially of the size we caught, dont have much meat in the legs. What remains is basically the entire carapace...of which, the brain is NOT very tasty. Mine was female, and so I ate the egg-covered ovaries too, which was fairly disgusting...the resulting face that I made REALLY amused my family.

Let´s see what else we need to cover... So, the other day 2 of my brothers and some younger kids went to the Jatun Yacu (Big River, in Kichwa) to go swimming. I was slightly concerned when we arrived that it might turn into ¨whitewater innertube adventures minus the innertube: part II¨but as it turns out, my indigenous friends really know what they´re doing. We just swam relatively close the river´s edge, and climbed up onto some boulders...which proved to be challenging but very fun. A couple of guys went further upstream about 150 feet and innertubed through some whitewater, but Holger and I do not like whitewater...for the same reason, as I later learned.

Today we went to survey the flood damage in the jungle, and we saw an ENORMOUS SNAKE!!! I´m talking 8-9 feet long! It was incredible. But of course, as it slithers down into the water and starts up the other side of a stream, Holger decides it would be a great idea to through rocks at it for amusement. The snake does a 180 and starts coming furiously after us. We take off, running and laughing, but the snake doesn´t really even come close to us and proceeds up the other side of the creek bed.

So that´s about all for now. One other interesting bit is that my friends LOVE my chicken impressions. Holger was even buk-buk-ing after he caught his breath and got back up off the floor.


Blogger Munia said...

BEN! Your pictures are AMAZING and as soon as I'm home will use one as a new desktop background ( the only problem is picking a picture)!!!! And your post was so fun to read. I demand more!! More more more!


ps you never offered to eat my ovaries =(

11:00 PM  

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