Wow! What experiences we keep having! This morning before breakfast we took a "nature walk" through the Amazon Rainforest. We were looking for birds and other creatures but sad to say they were few and far between, but we did see a scarlet Macaw! What a beauty and he even joined us for breakfast in the dining room!!! Just seeing the size of the trees and learning what foods you can eat and which are poison was so interesting. I had never seen a cashew grow before and was really surprised that the nut was on the outside of the flower.
After breakfast was another walk and again no creatures. It is really sad to see a couple of areas that had been slashed and burned as only ficus trees will grow in that area. Regrowth of rainforest trees will never happen. We saw a tree that houses ants. What an interesting specimen! When you pound on the tree, millions of ants come out. If you put your hand on the tree they will cover your hand. Then if you quickly rub them into your hands and arms, it will disguise human smell so other animals will not be able to smell you. Another tree was insecticide so you rub the outside of the tree and then rub over your body. One of the trees has a sap that is used to make chewing gum! So interesting.
We saw the areas where an armadillo had been digging earlier but weren't lucky enough to see him. We also went to a monkey rehabilitation centre and happened to be there at feeding time. Wow do they go ape for the food! I had a Brazil nut in my hand and one of the monkeys came down from the tree and grabbed it out. It was still in its shell and it was amazing that it could chew through the very hard shell.
Another tour was to a local village where we could see them making manioc, which is like a flour. They take the root vegetable that looks like a white sweet potato and grate it. As it seems to have a lot of cyanide in it, it is put in a long thin woven basket and soaked for quite awhile. It is then squeezed dry and cooked on a large frypan, scooping often so as not to burn.
We also saw how rubber was tapped from a tree and then smoked to make the latex. It takes them all night to gather the rubber as they need to wait until night so it will "run". The then pour the latex over a wooden stick that is over a very smokey fire that heats it to turn it into rubber. They get about $1 kg and can make about 24 kg in one full day. It is certainly a lot of work. Rubber is still used for the inside of motorcycle tyres and for the Formula One cars.
When we came back Rob, Michelle and Jan fished for piranhas, Ken swam and I sat under a palm tree enjoying the scenery!
On the path to the lobby, we saw a young sloth climbing up a tree! What a sight to see and so cute!
Before dinner we went for a canoe ride on the Amazon to see the night life. It was pitch black but the guide had a powerful spotlight hooked up to a battery! Saw a few red eyes, which means that Brazilian crocodiles were around but they were gone before we got close. We would paddle into the middle of groups of trees and once I wasn't paying attention when we backed out and I had branches wrap around me. Boy did I let out an almighty scream as I had no idea what it could have been. Michelle said it took 5 years off her life! Sadly we didn't see any wildlife but to be canoeing on the Amazon River through the rainforest is a treat in itself!!!