I am not much of a wild animal person and I am not much of a water person. On Day 3 of our stay in the Amazon, I reminded myself that not every single moment of a trip needs to be my favorite, nor does it need to be easy. Such are the days, as it turns out, that are some of the most memorable.
The Amazon River Village of Mocagua
Calanoa is located near Mocagua, a small village of predominately Ticuna people. To get to the monkey rescue foundation on the other side of Mocagua, we walked through the village from Calanoa, and admired their houses. Diego and his wife are project-minded folks, and they organized the paint for the village’s murals, inspiring Mocaguan artists to band together and create beauty. Living in Chicago, we have come to appreciate the glory of public art. The colors in Mocagua are even more vivid than those under the L, but then again, so is everything in the Amazon.
Get That Monkey off Your Back!
The monkeys. These guys are part of a rescue and protection project called Fundación Maikuchiga, founded by an American woman who went down to the Amazon to study trees and got a little side-tracked. Those monkeys were excited to have visitors, and their playfulness delighted most. I watched, was jumped on, got nervous, and slipped down the stairs to admire butterflies and woodpeckers. “Why so nervous,” John asked me. Maybe I had hit the end of my this-is-new-and-I’m-totally-cool-with-feeling-uncomfortable rope. It’s a long rope, in my defense, but we’d been traveling in Colombia for 15 days, and I was in the Amazon with monkeys on my head. I wish I had seen this video ahead of time to prep me.
The River Is Temporary
The water. That afternoon, Diego suggested we all hop across the river in a canoe to the sand bar/island that appeared this year. In case you doubt the power of the Amazon River, know that at least 2 kilometers worth of sand moved over the course of last rainy season to essentially give Calanoa, Mocagua and everything in between its own beach-front property. We wandered around and watched a make-shift soccer match, and most of us got in the river for an afternoon dip. I put my feet in for good measure. John assured me it had to be less polluted than the Mississippi due to the sheer volume of water the Amazon holds, which did not comfort me. I did, however, do some killer cartwheels.
The ending. That night, the clouds parted perfectly to an open sky and a total Supermoon eclipse. At its darkest, we walked down to the observatory and looked up at the Milky Way. If the vastness of our surroundings hadn’t made us feel small enough, the sky, suffering from zero light pollution, finished it off.
Murals, Monkeys, Temporary Island, Sand, Wading, Moon, No Moon, Stars.
Joys, Challenges, Marvels.
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