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Queros-Wachiperi: DAY 7

November 24, 2010

Scarab beetle



Today was a ‘normal’ photography day. Freddy yelled into my tent at 4:55am and we set off for the small collpa. I came armed with an extra poncho to wrap around my legs while we wait for something to come. After 90 minutes, I called it quits and began photographing some flowers near the trail. Freddy disappeared into the woods for a while and I wandered around. He returned after 10 minutes to report on his findings: a swarm of ants, a yellow and blue beetle, and a flower. I fancy that I have well-trained eyes in the jungle, but he outdoes me every time.

I spent the rest of the day following the men as they opened a new trail. Sighting of note include an olive green oropendola, an iguana, and an anole. At night two click beetles with headlights came to the campsite. I was able to pick them up and examine them closely for the first time. They are often confused with lightening bugs, but they have two pinpoints of light at the front of their bodies – like headlights on a car.

After a hot day in the field, we returned to bathe in the river. I had brown water dripping off of my skin as I soaped up. The river is lovely because it is the only place where insects do not swarm. For a few minutes, there is a blissful silence and your skin only prickles from the chilly water, not from the feet of more than 30 sweat bees and ants. Ana asked me some interesting questions today, including “Is Obama a good President?” and “Do you want a Peruvian lover?” I am consistently amused by the questions Peruvians have about America – about the conspiracy of 9/11 and whether or not all Americans are rich.

Now, I am battling ants in our tent. Believe it or not, they are actually eating the tent. Each day there are more minute holes and I observed two tearing away at the mesh fabric with their mandibles. They slip into my sleeping bag and bite me in the night, usually on my cheeks and neck, the only body parts I leave exposed. It is an annoyance, but I really can’t complain because Marco, Freddy, and Rolando are sleeping under a tarp, exposed to any and all creatures that choose to visit them during the night. Sleeping under a tarp in the Amazon is one thing you could not pay me to do.

The Queros River

The forest


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