Postcards from Peru – A Visit with the Yaguas

The Diplomonkeys while exploring the Amazon, albeit from the comfort of their jungle lodge base camp, receive an invitation to spend the afternoon with the Yaguas.  It’s only a quick 30-minute boat ride down the river to the village, but it is a world away in terms of differences.

Yagua Chief armed with Punaka (blowgun).

Yagua chief armed with a punaca (blowgun).

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Yagua man armed with a punaca (blowgun).

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Yagua girl and boy.

Diplomonkey looks forward to his meeting with one of the thirty or so Yagua communities scattered across Peru’s Amazon basin.  Despite the encounter being a programmed activity, it is nonetheless an opportunity for the Diplomonkeys to interact with a people who for millennia have lived off the river and the forest.

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Yaguas preparing a punaca (blowgun) demonstration.

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Yagua chief.

An indigenous people, the origin of whose name today appears to come from the Spanish deformation of the Quechua yawar ruba or the “blood-red people,” they are sincere in their welcoming.  The blood-red people moniker apparently comes from the Yaguas’ habit of painting their faces with achiote (seeds of the annatto plant).

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Yagua man pulling darts from a punaca (blowgun) target.

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Yaguas.

How different and special is this Amazon jungle. When compared to the concrete jungle in which we live, Diplomonkey thinks that green jungle is the better of the two.

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Yagua girl with pet sloth.

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Yagua woman.

For the little ones, as well as for the parents the Amazon represents spectacular sights, sounds, and even smells.  It is a place of torrential downpours followed by gorgeous sunsets along the river.  It is a place where the air resonates with the squeaks, squeals, and howls of untold insects, birds, and monkeys.  Here the river is stocked with exotic fish and cavorting river dolphins.  It is also a place of fresh, clean air characterized that by the welcoming odor of damp earth.  Here even a tapir makes its way deftly through our camp in the evening.

Sunset

Sunset on the Amazon river.

If you can, go and visit the Amazon.  The dollars you spend are well spent. We discovered that they offer people an alternative to logging.  If not, then try to spend some time in some other jungle of the non-concrete variety.  You might be surprised by what is out there.

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Logging  barge running along the Amazon River heading to Iquitos.

Enjoy the pictures.

Cheers!

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Postcard from Peru – Iquitos Street Scenes

Okay little Dorothy, so Diplomonkey this time around is cheating with his latest chimping excursion.  Diplomonkey took this batch of pictures of Peru’s Iquitos while on leave.  Diplomonkey taking time off?  Oh how scandalous, I do say little Dorothy – what is this world coming to!

Iquitos' lively neighborhood of Belen - also known as the Amazon Venice.

Iquitos’ lively neighborhood of Belen – also known as the Amazon Venice.

Rushhour in downtown Iquitos (along Iron House supposedly designed by Gustave Eiffel).

Rushhour in downtown Iquitos (along the Iron House supposedly designed by Gustave Eiffel).

Iquitos is a really cool place to visit.  Its hot and humid much like Miami, so Diplomonkey feels right at home.  The people are however even nicer; always with a smile on their faces and not in too much of a rush.  It seems that the pace of life, much like the Amazon river’s current, runs at 4-6 kilometers per hour.

Iquitos Street Scene #1

Iquitos Street Scene #1

What Diplomonkey find really great about this island city in the middle of the Peruvian Amazon are the street scenes of people engaged in their daily activities.

Iquitos Street Scene #2

Iquitos Street Scene #2

Yes, little Dorothy, Iquitos (capital of Peru’s Amazon) connects to the rest of the country only by air and the river; so if it is not manufactured or grown locally, it has to come in by plane or by boat (Pucallpa is a 4-7 days sail away).  There are no roadways in or out of the city linking it with the rest of the country, giving Iquitos a surreal frontier town feel.

Iquitos Street Scene #3

Iquitos Street Scene #3

Hope the pictures entices others to pay a visit.  Nothing can beat the smell of oxygen rich air that permeates the city, nor a tropical downpour.

Cheers and more to follow from Peru!