The Amazon rainforest has been talked about on social media a lot lately. Well, at least during that one week that everyone seemed to care so much about it because of the fires. The lungs of our earth are burning down, and the media didn’t seem to talk about it.
A few months ago, the Notre Dame was burning for a few hours and billionaires donated so much money to help preserve it. And rightly so because it is also an important part of history and culture.
But when a beautiful, ancient, natural part of the world is burning, why did the world turn a blind eye to it? But instead my news feed was filled with articles about Jeff Epstein killing himself in jail and the controversy behind it.
I have to admit, before all the twitter and Instagram stories about the Amazon and its importance, I didn’t really think too much about its impact on this earth. Of course I just did my daily duties of recycling, minimizing the use of paper etc but was I actually doing the most I can do to help our planet survive for our future generations?
My attention towards the Amazon really took focus two years ago after I visited it, on the Peruvian side. I was surprised at how much I actually loved nature, trees and animal life (in their natural habitat). If you know me, you know I’m scared of literally a moth. But something about watching animals, birds and insects in their natural habitat always fascinated me. I remember in 10th grade when I had to decide if I wanted to go the science route or business route for my higher education, my dream was to study marine life. Whales and sharks particularly. But, I sucked at chemistry and physics and I knew that science was not something I was going to do well at.
Anyways, I wanted to share some pictures and my experience at the Amazon in Peru.
Landing at the Puerto Maldonado airport reminded me very much of the airport from my hometown in Mangalore, India. Small, crowded, one baggage claim area and as soon as you get out of the airport, you can feel the humidity and heat and see the lush greenery.
We stayed at an all inclusive eco lodge called the Posada Amazonas. They had a little minivan pick us up from the airport, took us to their check in center in the town and then a boat ride to the eco lodge which was a total of 2 hrs from the airport.
We were greeted with some fresh juice and the cutest packed lunch box with some delicious Peruvian fried rice.
A 15 minute walk through the jungle and we got to our amazing eco lodge. I was so excited to just lay in the hammocks, enjoy the silence other than the sound of insects and Macau’s flying across the jungle. After 5 days of hiking the Inca trail to Machu Pichu, I was ready to do nothing, get a massage for my sore body and just drink some rum in the middle of the jungle.
The most exciting yet terrifying part about our stay was our rooms. One side of the room opened into the jungle with no doors or windows. The beds had nets to prevent bugs from getting in.
There were many rules we had to comply with while on the eco lodge which of course made complete sense to me since we were in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. There was a certain period during the day when the electricity was turned off, hot water would only run at a certain time and the hardest one – no toilet paper down the toilet! For three days, I was happy to give this up.
No shoes on the resort was another rule. We could walk out of our room, around the resort lodging area, the bar, restaurant etc and didn’t have to wear shoes. This was amazing considering my feet were swollen and sore from wearing hiking boots for 14 hrs a day.
Our stay included many amazing excursions and guided activities:
Canopy Tower: The first day we walked up a 30 meter (100 foot) Canopy Tower during sunset time which had spectacular views of the vast expanses of the rainforest around the lodge. We were able to spot Monkeys, Toucans, Parrots, Macaws, and so many other treetop birds!
Ethnobotanical Center: The next morning we took a little visit to the Ñape Ethnobotanical Center which is supposedly the heart of traditional indigenous medicine. The Shaman took us on a unique tour to show us the various medicinal plants of the Amazon jungle. I found the penis trees particularly amazing. Lol. But really, the tea from this is known to help women during child birth because it helps their muscles and skin to stretch easily like a snakes mouth. The shaman also told us that this is used to help counter act the venom from a snake bite.
Oxbow Lake: My favorite part about my Amazon visit was the catamaran ride along Lake Tres Chimbadas. Here, our guide showed us the resident Giant River Otter family and other wildlife like Alligators, Macaus, Hoatzins, Capybaras , Black Caimans etc. We also got to do some Piranha fishing. It was so fascinating to watch how quickly they savage a small piece of meat! Ofourse, I was the only one who caught a fish that wasn’t a Piranha. Literally was the tiniest fish ever.
Night walk through the forest: Also one of my favorite excursions was the night walk through the rainforest. Although I was freaking out about stepping on a snake or encountering a panther, I was most excited to see tarantulas! This was one of the coolest things to see!! Ofourse, I barely slept that night because I kept thinking there was going to be a tarantula in my bed.
My husband and my friend did almost get bit by the 2nd most venomous spider in the world – the wandering spider, while they were getting a drink at the bar. It was so funny how the guide just calmly walked up to them and told them to slowly back away from the bar and then casually told us about how a bite from that spider will cause severe medical issues. In addition to intense pain and possible medical complications, the bite of a wandering spider can apparently deliver a long, painful erection to males. Wouldn’t that have been funny. Not. The good news that the guide told us was that they almost never bite and there have been only like 10 – 15 deaths in Peru and Brazil by that kind of spider.
Other than the amazing excursions, we ate a lot of yummy Peruvian food, had lots of rum, relaxed on the hammocks, got massages to the sound of the rainforest, got to learn so much about the Amazon and its wildlife and contributed to reducing my carbon footprint for 3 days.
So, back to the whole point about this post. What am I doing to make a difference to save this earth?
- I recycle as much as possible and whenever possible.
- I bring my reusable water bottle to work instead of using paper or plastic cups.
- I bring my reusable bags to the grocery store.
- When there is an air dryer and paper towel option available in bathrooms, I use the air dryer.
- I only use the printer at work when absolutely necessary. Really wish the IRS would go paperless.
- I’ve reduced my intake of meat and dairy. I drink almond milk and only eat fish and vegetables during the week. There is speculation that Governments have been aiding the burning down of forests to make space for cattle farms and slaughter houses.
- I use environmentally friendly products as much as possible. Whole Foods has a great selection of environmentally friendly lotions, creams and other products.
I know there is so much more I can do and I will strive harder to slowly do them more. My question to you folks is, what will/are you doing to help save our Earth?
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