Everything is exotic in the Amazon rainforest: the hues of the jungle, the taste of the air, the muddiness of the river, the vibration of the sounds, even the constellations carved in the sky. The elusive presence of primitive tribes cozing with the spirits that reside in each star, plant, or animal frames an alien reality that befriends – or, often, intimidates – the visitor. Undoubtedly, there is an all-powerful shamanic energy in the area.
We decided to spend a few days in the jungle while visiting Peru last summer. We crouched behind trees, paddled quietly on the tributaries, tip-toed along leaf-covered footpaths, and held our breath while waiting for the forest to reveal some of its secrets. To my dismay, anacondas preferred to linger in their clammy depths, piranhas scorned the crumbs of peace we generously offered, and the colorful tribes religiously protected the mystery of their identity remaining hidden in the uncharted parts of the jungle. Still, we had our fair share of exotic encounters, some deceptively small, others flamboyant and vibrant. [Read more…]