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Queros-Wachiperi: DAY 2

November 21, 2010


Balsa Rafting on the Queros River (I'm on the other raft!)


Today I experienced the Queros Cultural Tourism project. With 6 British and American tourists, I started the day on a medicinal plant walk with Freddy. We learned about cures for ailments ranging from kidney problems to insomnia. We also go to taste and smell a few plants along the way, including one that smelled like massage oil and turned out to be for joint problems. Breakfast was followed by an archery competition with a Queros man dressed in traditional clothing. I almost hit a man with my arrow – about 60 degrees off the mark.

The big activity of the day was balsa rafting Walter insisted that I come, despite my hesitation to ride four logs down an incredibly rocky river. The life jackets finally sold me. Steering the boat were two Queros men – one at the back and one at the front. Their only paddles are long sticks, which they use to push off rocks and the sides of the river. The rafts were impressively buoyant given the six people sitting on each. They were partially submerged for the entire ride, but always afloat. We flipped in a set of rapids and I was disoriented for a few minutes after being swept under the raft, but all was well. Along the way we spotted a giant otter and a porcupine with yellow spines and a prehensile tail. We made one stop to see a very large rock with petroglyphs. They were surprisingly vivid and I learned that the History Channel had visited and painted them white for a show. About two hours after setting off, we arrived unscathed at the port downriver and I was happy that I’d come along.

The tourists ventured back to Pilcopata and I climbed onto the back of a motorcyle for a ride back to the community. I arrived to find an open bed in the tourist casa and moved into more comfortable accommodations. Now, I am going to sleep to be ready for my photo workshop with the school children in the morning!

Balsa Rafts on the Queros River



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