Saturday, April 15, 2006

memories of Peru

* My two key Spanish phrases are "donde esta el bano?" (where is the bathroom?) and "yo necessito cerveza!" (I need beer!). In the cloud forests, Marianne and I were standing by the bathroom and I rescued a frog that was trapped in the bathroom stall, and as I held it, it jumped on my nose! Stunned momentarily, we started laughing when it jumped back toward the bathroom, and I said it was saying "donde esta el bano?!"

* I just loved the Yine children. I tried to show them how to do headstands at their recess, but I think they were a bit stunned at that one... I took loads of photos of them, they are so precious. I let Ludwig take some photos of his own and he did a fine job! Daline told me there is a documentary about how an organization put cameras in the hands of children in 3rd world nations. I think that would be wonderful.

* Marianne's laugh, joie de vivre, and humble attitudes toward everything are inspiring. In discussing situations that could easily seem extremely personally frustrating, in every case she had a positive way to look at it. She could always see the good that would ultimately come out of the situation, and in a very unselfish way. Even in situations when it would not help her business in any way, she was far more interested in the actual well-being and interests of the Yine - things that would ultimately benefit the Yine in terms of learning about situations or becoming more savvy about the way the Peruvian government works.

* Stringing sara sara seeds into a necklace with Chiky and Rene and Daline on one of the last nights there, drinking beer and wine and trying to communicate in Spanish (I am a very poor speaker of Spanish! Though I am learning!). I had a great time that night.

* Hanging out at the hot springs - it was such a beautiful spot, and we painted ourselves in mud.

* Painting warrior images on cloth with Berta in the Yine village of Diamante, and then having her paint warriors on my arm with huito, a rainforest fruit.

* Seeing the tamandua (anteater) swim across the Alto Madre de Dios river and then emerge at the other side.

* Singing Hullaballoo Kaneck Kaneck, the fighting Texas Aggie song, with Daline as we paddled up the river in the hollowed-out-log canoe.

* Teasing our rainforest guide Tina about her British accent (which I love) - particularly when she says "herbal tea" or "scarlet macaws" or "purplish jays."

* One of the things I enjoy about traveling is doing the photography itself; catching a spontaneous look in someone's glance, or a smile, or a moment. Shooting the sky and river in their glorious cloud formations, and trying to catch the mood of the moment through an image. I try to shoot at different angles sometimes, from high or low. I try to catch a person's personality through the candid image I shoot of them. And so one of my highlights was just this process of watching people and catching moments of people and also the scenery on camera.

On a separate note, a writer colleague sent me a link to this article in the Miami Herald about single mom rainforest biologist Margaret Lowman, and I enjoyed it. She has a book out about her adventures with her two kids which included trips to Peru among other places.

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