We traveled to Iquitos (the largest city in the Amazon) for eight days by boat - an adventure full of emotions. But what made the adventure even bigger was that we arrived with no plan, no idea. We were aware that we would not be able to afford the luxury of hiring a tour guide to take us around the "mysterious" Amazon, as it would cost us about $ 600.
So the next day we took a team (the so-called cars they take at the price of the bus) and left. Telling the driver we didn't know exactly where we were going, we took the road, and it was a straight road on either side surrounded by jungle. We didn't want to be in the jungle and around us full of "gringos" (that's what all foreigners in South America are called), so we were looking for a place only inhabited by locals. We stopped, asked people - they were polite and told us what they knew, but we never decided to get out of the car. We drove through the jungle and looked around for the perfect spot. In some parts of Peru, we did not feel welcome, and that is why some caution was instilled in us. They stayed about 20 km, until the next town, when the driver remembered knowing one of the people whose house had taken their place by the road. We stopped, and shortly after, a woman appeared in the arms of a baby looking around for no more than 6 months and gave smiles. We explained what we wanted and what we were looking for and they invited us to their house. We were introduced to the whole family, followed by, "You can stay here!" The words flew too fast from each member of the large family. That's how we got a home for the next few days.
We had not yet rested when everyone was curious to ask us: What do we want to see and do in their territory. Listening to our interest in getting closer to living in the jungle, the big family immediately offered to take us to a small community that lives not far from us. Great! We agreed on the next day.
We walked for about an hour to this mysterious society of ours, with the constant help of the machete involved. Suddenly, the path led us to several houses, pleasantly distant from one another, made of wood, devoid of walls, like more jungle houses, and with roofs of grass. We were invited to one house and we met the people who invited us to visit other houses in the village. We moved on, and after finding ourselves under trees full of flocks of parrots, we enjoyed their merry song. A short while later we found ourselves in front of another house full of children, working men and still without walls, hiding nothing. The men spoke Spanish and invited us to their house. The job they were doing was making roofs of special bushes, which would then carry an hour on the back and sell each of the highways for 4 Salts (2 levs).
As we talked to the men, our children "attacked" us in the back, seeking our attention - pinching us, tapping our fingers, and then running and grabbing each other's hair. Regardless of their age, they did not speak Spanish, unlike their parents, and there was no way to communicate with them other than non-verbally. We hugged them, filmed them, gave them back the tapping, and they were pleased with the attention they received.
From somewhere, women appeared, carrying large beds full of yucca on their heads. This is a type of potato that is not available in Bulgaria and is called 'box office' in Zambia and is highly respected). The women, seeing us, reacted as if they had expected us. We were offered an alcoholic yucca drink, which thank goodness we were able to refuse after much persuasion. The women spoke to their men in the local Chowito language. Later, they spoke to us in Spanish, asking us about our country and stubbornly trying to marry one of the young men - her for my sister, her for Anton's sister, her for some other free girl: they all wanted a European daughter-in-law.
We took a coconut from a tree nearby, gave us 3 eggs, and after many thanks (no wonder what they thanked us for), headed back to our home in a few days. When we returned, our hosts had decided to treat us to Suri de aguaje - caterpillars that crawl in the stem of a special species of palms that also bear fruit - aguaje. We took axes, machetes, and whatever sharp "weapons" we needed, and set out to fight the fallen palm, hunting for caterpillars.
Our hosts, dissatisfied with the results, returned to the house and took the cutter, with which we were more successful. We collected enough in the bottom of the bucket with great effort, and later they treated us to it, preparing them fried with oil and sausage. Juicy taste that is definitely not forgotten!
Our stay there quickly ended. But words are not enough to describe the joy of meeting and the hospitality of this lovely 11 family and all we learned from them about life in the jungle. We have entered into their routine, pleasing to us, and will remember and impart the kindness with which they have surrounded us.