Wednesday, April 16, 2008

monkeys and dolphins

Situated some 60 km upstream from Manaus along the Rio Negro is the jungle resort Ariau Towers. We went on a day trip there to take a walk along their jungle canopy catwalks and to swim with the boto, the pink river dolpin.

The resort also plays host to many macacque monkeys that seem to know exactly when you have a cashew nut in your hand and when you don´t. If you have a bag of nuts, or indeed anything resembling a bag of anything, they´ll attempt to grab it or open it. One guy whom we came to refer to as the monkey guy went over to the store several times to buy a new bag of cashews. Each time he came back he got swarmed by the monkeys.

Hanging on to my phone because those little rascals will pickpocket anything from you.

The monkey man bringing a new bag of cashews.

We boarded a motorized canoe to go to the spot where you can swim with the pink river dolphins. You can´t do that just anywhere, because there are alligators and piranhas in those waters. But nothing could possibly go wrong at the dolpin swimming site because the dolphins hang out there, knowing that they´ll be fed, and they scare away the piranhas because they feed on those too. The logic seemed ironclad to me, though I missed the part where it explained exactly how the alligators were kept away.

The monkey man and his wife came along on the dolphin tour too. They live in Florianapolis in the south of Brazil, but had previously spent 13 (thirteen!) years travelling the world on a boat. Very inspirational, and clearly the kind of people who embrace new experiences. All the other visitors stayed safely behind at the resort.

Having successfully avoided sunburns for the entire trip so far, the 10 unprotected minutes during the dolpin swim amost did me in with a mild sunstroke. Fortunately I caught the symptoms in time. Now back at Joelson and Sandra´s place we´re all packed and ready to go to the airport to board a flight to Rio de Janeiro at the preposterous time of 2:30AM.

But what could possibly go wrong if you just put your finger in there?

Hot pink Jambo trees everywhere.

Vultures gathering as I´m near succumbing to a sunstroke.

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