Thursday, 28 January 2010

A fine young gentleman

So today it rained. No, that's not right. It poured. Full force tropical deluge. It was fabulous. I enjoyed it from my hammock swinging gently under the thatched roof of the common area of my hostel.

Ah, heaven.

Today has been a laid-back kind of day. Was not supposed to be. I was booked for some river rafting in the afternoon but torrential rains + already rainy season swollen river = not safe for rafting, so it was siesta time instead. This came after an exciting morning of taking my clothes to the cleaners, buying a bottle of water and breaking my teeth over more spanish practice.

Thoughts and things I missed in my writings yesterday...

Dinner plate sized spider perched on the rock I was to use as stepping stone across river. Um, don't think so. Upriver detour, which was silly considering there was probably lots of said spiders on most of the rocks I crossed, however I SAW that one.

Ubber tasty new fruit called Pepino. Tasted like a cross between an apple & pear, texture like a melon and so juicy it takes a combination of eating & drinking to finish it off. YUM

Cute little cricket creature that after launching, sprouts wings and flys to its' next perch. Green & bright yellow. Saltinas / saltinado??? Forgot to write the name in my notes.

An abundance of butterflys in a rainbow of colours and sizes. I love butterflys.

Frog sitings: zero
Monkey sitings: zero
Naked people bathing in the river: a dozen or so
Intensity of sun: super high.
Touch of sunstroke: yes
Resulting headache: yes

In spite of my rather fried mental state on the way home yesterday, it really struck me that so much of the land had been deforested. I need look no further for the battle between conservation and growth. On one side of the valley there is rainforest as far as the eye can see. On the other there are farms, cleared land waiting for planting, and many areas burning.

As I pondered the prevalence of this in the rain forests across South America, I wonder how this gets solved. How to preserve what is basically the "earths´s lungs" and yet allow people here to survive? Population control? Less family farms and more intense food production? And does this lovely land need a Gringo solution? I have no idea how this issue is viewed locally, if at all.

Certainly with my spanish I will not be able to ask the questions, yet alone understand the answers.

What I can tell you is that the local farms are picturesque, for all their appearance of "poverty". Fruit trees dotting the pastures where a cow or two graze. Simple dwellings, wash hanging in the breeze while chickens peck the grounds and dogs laze in the sun. Fields of rice. Fields of Corn.

Rural heaven, slashed out of the Jungle hillside.

But enough about yesterday, allow me to tell you about the wonderful young gentleman that broke bread with me this evening.

His name is Charly and he is 11 years old. He is visiting Tarapoto with his family from a town named Pucallpa, which is also a jungle town. I had a great time working with him to understand one another. Who knew that talking to this boy would be such a treat. He was so patient, and you could see his mind working as he tried to find different ways to impart information to me until, eureka!, the light bulb goes on and I GET it!

We covered ages, family numbers & genders, house and garden details, schooling, traveling, the news about the Cusco landslides, food preferences... We have agreed to exchange email info to continue our conversations.

What a treat. Truly a fine young gentleman. Someone is raising him well.

Adios, I'm off to shower & sleep well for whatever tomorrow brings.


I am sooo ending this day on a high note.

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