Get Lost and Stay There Gets Welcomed to the Jungle
By: Mike Lutz

Welcome back dear readers! I know it has been a bit since my last entry to this blog. I had small medical procedure done and was unable to travel until I had healed up and had satisfied my doctor that I was back to normal. I am feeling much better now and was quick to get back on the road, well, another jet actually! An associate of mine regaled me with several stories of his journey to The Amazon during my convalescence and I just had to see the rain–forest for myself! So after a battery of inoculations and some worried warnings from my doctor (a good doctor will always seem to be a worrier), I winged my way south, way south. Landing in Rio De Janerio, I rented a car and punched in the coordinates my friend had given me into my trusty old GPS and away I drove.

The roads quickly turned into dirt and I bounced and rumbled my way forward, the cities and towns soon melted away and the forest began to get denser and after a couple of hunts for gas stations, it seems most people here prefer boat travel or scooters, there is an argument for the efficiency of both modes of travel I suppose. Deeper and deeper I drove into the rain–forest. The dirt roads now becoming more like single lane cart paths, several times I had to squeeze over as best I could to share the road with a local farmer, sometimes scraping a tree branch or wagon with my side mirror as I crept along, these little scratches are just reminders of an awesome adventure i feel. At one point I rounded a tight bend and happened upon a raging river. White capped water was speeding down a narrow stone channel. It was breathtaking. A narrow wooden bridge spanned the channel and it looked sturdy enough because I watched several more farmers and their wagons crossing back and forth. As I lined my car up for my turn to cross several people excitedly waved at me and shouted in excitement as I started across the bridge, with the yells and waves of encouragement my crossing went smoothly enough, there was a moment or too where the road and forest seemed to sway wildly, but I chalk that up to one of those strange locational phenomena like those "magnetic hills". Anyways, after a few more waves and yells of excitement from the locals, I must admit I don't speak the native language and should take time to learn Spanish one day soon, I pushed forward down the road, the forest pushing closer and closer in to the point it seemed it was barely a footpath, then my GPS indicated I was not far from my destination and should take the next left!

As I made my turn I made a note to talk to the groundskeeper to perhaps trim the branches back from the driveway a teensy bit because the limbs were almost like a wall and when I finally burst out into the clearing that the resort was located I almost struck a hut and startled an old man that was walking out of it. After profuse apologies made with hand gestures and slow, loud speech the old man took me to the middle of the resort, which was nothing more than six wood huts surrounding a central fire pit that seemed to be a cooking station. Several large fish and a small pig roasted away on spits over the coals. I was greeted with more stares and odd looks. I sat on a log between two elderly resort staff and happily introduced myself. Again the language barrier seemed to slow down the check in process but eventually I was lead to my bungalow and was pointed to a mat on the ground, my friend forgot to inform me that this would be a "rough camping" experience. Oh well, when in Rome right? I rested for bit, my drive here was pretty taxing. After a while an old woman came and offered me a plate of food and ravenously I ate it all down, not realizing how hungry I was, I thanked her and not knowing the tipping policy I pressed an American one dollar bill into her hand anyways. She seemed a little taken aback by my generosity and hurried off. I must have napped longer than I wanted because when I exited my room the forest was very dark save for the now roaring cooking fire. I took my seat in between the old couple again and listened to the sounds of the night. Birds and insects of all kinds where making a great racket and the occasional sound of a larger animal would waft over the resort from time–to–time. I tried to strike up a conversation with the staff but they all just stared and talked among themselves. A large pot was bubbling away at the side of the fire pit and I got up to see what was for our evening snack. It looked like a brown tea was steeping and it smelled somewhat woody and botanical. The old man I nearly hit with my car earlier got up and offered me a mug of the tea that he had poured from a kettle that sat in front of him.

"Ayahuasca", he said to me with a serious look.

"THANK YOU!" I replied and sniffed the contents of the mug, breathing in the aroma. I took a small sip and the brown liquid had an odd taste and with a nod, I down the rest of the mug. Smiles broke out on the faces of the resort staff and they began to sing in a strange rhythm. Somewhere a drum was being played and people started to clap and tap sticks together. I felt a nauseating wave wash over me and I ran to the nearest bush and retched for it seemed like hours. This kind of took away from the pleasant night I was having. The rest of the night went by in a strange blur and I believe I slept. For some reason my dreams were extra vivid and sometimes very terrifying.

I awoke back in my car, on the other side of the bridge pointed away from the resort, the bridge had been washed away just after I was put back across it seems because there was no bridge left! Sadly I started my journey back to Rio and I am of the thought that this trip will be a memorable one…if only I could recall most of what happened.



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