Sunday, July 1, 2012

Day 4: Xapuri

Duda demonstrates the cut

First let me say naively that "Amazon" doesn't mean you're going to be on some giant lazy brown river with anacondas. For that you start in Manaus I think. We were 700 kilometers from the Amazon! Staying outside Xapuri in a lodge run by the cousins of Chico Mendes, Nilson and Duda Mendes. Both men show encylopedic knowledge of the forest and have little formal education. Nilson spent a year living outdoors in the Amazon at age 17 to learn, finding most experts hesitant to share the knowledge they'd learned experientially. Nilson's starred in no fewer than four movies, was invited to manage the tropical nursery at a university in Florida, but passed. (click title to see more)

Brothers and rubber tree
Nilson illustrates how to fashion a cup to drink some antivenom from a plant in the event of snake bite
Height of ant hills can be used to indicate impending rainfall - if hills are tall, rain is imminent (to avoid flooding)

Shaman (on left) was most literal of the three

Transport of choice, shoes optional
"In 10 minutes 3 to 4- meter alligators should start to appear..."

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