Sunday, March 29, 2015

traveling to the Amazon (the jungle, not the company)

I went with friends for a week to the Amazon jungle.

Here I'm with the amazing Sha-mayn, and also my friend Axe (leftmost) from survival school.  

When I met Axe, she was living on an island in Kenya.  Now she's living in a cabin in Colorado with no running water or electricity.  She studied anthropology at Harvard, and earns a living as an art sculptor and an editor for Hollywood screenplays.  

Axe brought a polaroid camera.  Here's a polaroid taken while we were on the Amazon River.

This photo also shows K, who ran a safari lodge in Kenya for 3 years.  She told us about dealing with a zebra who fell in the swimming pool, and a swarm of bees that attacked guests who had to jump in the pool to get away (the zebra had been removed by then).

Sha-mayn in our open-air room, in an indigenous community of 100 Colombians.  The village only has electricity from noon to 2pm and then 5-10pm.  Most of the village only got toilets during a big community project two years ago.

We debated whether the village would benefit or be damaged if they got internet access.  I think it would mostly be detrimental.

One night, the neighbor got drunk and was shouting.  His teenage son came over, looking very worried and glum.  Our host went over to help.  I marveled at how much support people give each other in a community.  There are still alcoholics in the village, but everyone helps out.  In a city, no one would be there to help the young son with his alcoholic dad.

We also stayed in Puerto NariƱo for 3 nights.  It's a 6000-person town with no cars allowed.  

There were many toddlers running around laughing, carrying large sticks that they found on the ground, cavorting with trees.  It was nice to see the change from San Francisco, where these toddlers would be strapped into strollers, and only allowed to have occasional scheduled playdates, where they'd eat carefully supervised gluten-free food.

There were very few people on the Amazon.  During a two-hour journey, we'd see someone maybe every 30 minutes.  It was very calming not to have sounds of the city.

I had culture shock when we got back to a city with motorcycles, cars, and all the urban noises.