Drinking trago in the Amazon and playing soccer until dark. Teaching ninos English in the jungle and being threatened by the jeffe to stay for two weeks instead of just one…and then he borrowed $20 from me. Where did it go? No one knows.
Trago is liquor distilled from sugar cane juice and it’s strong stuff, like moonshine. It doesn’t taste sweet at all but smells and tastes sort of like a dirty martini, or like when you pop the lid off a jar of green olives. It does the trick and is clean stuff. But look, that’s just one part of livin’ la vida selva and a small part of my days spent teaching ninos in the hamlet of Nantar, somewhere out in the high Amazon and the wilds of Ecuador.
Ah, delicious colata, part of a healthy nutritious breakfast to help young minds grow and be all that they can be. The Ecuadorian gov’ment gives out bags of this stuff, along with cookies and cereal bars, which we supped on every morn for desayuno.
Saltamonte the jungle grasshopper with cool designs that make it look like a leaf. Man, the sheer number of incredible bugs in the jungle was mind blowing. There were hundreds of different kinds of butterflies with incredible wing patterns. We’re talking perfect geometric shapes like, and some with clear ass wings.
Gosh, would ya’ just look at the size of that yucca root!? Go on, just look at it! Martin, Nelly, y sus hijo Jeremy aka Nayim. My hosts during my time spent in the jungle, they fed, housed, and bathed me in the river like a guagua.
Man, what a crazy bug! The stick bug comes in some weird colors man and this one was black and red. It has a weird tail, which I thought was a stinger, but Martin assured me that it was harmless. It always tries to crawl towards your face.
Stick bug and lil’ Jeremy. I like this pic because Jeremy has weaseled his way into it, like in a Botero painting. He’s in nearly every single one of my pics from the jungle. Incidently, he managed to source a bootleg copy of the movie LaBamba and would play the part with the song over and over again ad nauseum. No matter, it’s a great song and reminded me of my own youth, doing the same with my Fisher Price stereo and LaBamba cassette single…although I always thought the baby-faced ethnic cool of Lou Diamond Phillips skipped a generation.
Chonta tree full of incredibly sharp and dangerous spikes. I’m really surprised that I did not step or fall onto one of these things. This is where delicious heart of palm comes from and fallen chontas are the favorite food of those delightful larva.
Mi amigo! Lil’ gusanintos, born and raised, in the rotted out trunk of a chonta tree is where they spent most of their days. Man, the Shuar would just gobble these things down raw. Look at the way these things move in the video and imagine one climbing around inside your mouth, and look at those pinchers! Plus, the dead chonta smells absolutely repugnant. Admittedly, they tasted pretty good, but I ate em up bien cocinado, roasted over an open flame. They taste sort of peanuty.
So there you have it, all part of the exceptional experience of spreading the American english tongue to the outer reaches of the universe.
Anyone interested in teaching English to baby Shuar in the Ecuadorian Amazon, hit me up and I’ll see what I can do.