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Peru and the Amazon River~The Final Episode

23 May

A Life to Live

Melody Hendrix

I hope you have enjoyed sharing this journey with Melody on the Amazon River. I certainly have-Onisha

Sights of the Rainforest

For the last post of the Amazon series, I have included some random sights of the rainforest and land excursions and a little more information about this extrodinary place. Unfortunately, I only have a handful of the wildlife pictures here. We could only view from afar unless they were domesticated.

Behaviourally, Oropendolas are very interesting birds. They make long hanging nests which may provide protection from snakes.

 

 

The birds feel their hanging nests aren’t enough to protect their young, as they often nest around highly dangerous wasps. The wasps offer protection from parasitic species such as cowbirds, which lay their eggs in the nests of others. These parasitic birds often kill the nestlings and force the host-bird to care for their young.

 

 

Below, the Hoatzin (stink bird) is an herbivore, eating leaves and fruits, and has an unusual digestive system with an enlarged crop used for fermentation of vegetable matter.The alternative name of “stinkbird” is derived from the bird’s foul odour, which is caused by the fermentation of food in its digestive system.

 

 

This is a noisy species, with a variety of hoarse calls, including groans, croaks, hisses and grunts. These calls are often associated with body movements, such as wing spreading.

 

 

Water buffalo have been introduced, especially in the flood plains because they can thrive in a wet environment where cattle cannot.

This buffalo was in the water but quickly approached  me to find out what that strange noise was coming from. It was the camera clicking. It was a little nerve racking, but I came out alive.

Below, many sloths were pointed out to us as we explored along the river by boat, but all were a distance away. There is one sloth hanging in this picture.

Sloths are actually lazy with very low metabolisms.

 

 

Sloths sleep from 15 to 18 hours each day! Some even stay in the same tree their entire life. They spend most of their lives upside down.

Sloths are amazing swimmers. They are known to sometimes simply let go from their tree branch and drop into water below for a quick swim. They can move three times faster in water than they can on land.

Capybaras.

 

A constant source of water is important to capybaras, who retreat into murky waters to escape from predators. People eat capybara meat and produce leather from their skin. We often saw them in the villages along the Amazon.

Back to Lima where we spent our first and last day, I walked around a bit to record some of the life in Lima. Quite a large city. This was our hotel view.

 

 

 

Using every bit of space possible, rooftop living is common.

The city was founded by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535. He called it ‘La Ciudad de los Reyes’ (the City of the Kings). It became the capital and most important city in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru. And after the Peruvian War of Independence, it became the capital of the Republic of Peru.

 

 

The buildings are adorned with great history and art.

 

 

Artisans line the streets with their talents.

 

 

I hope you enjoyed your trip to Peru and the Amazon. Thank you for visiting.

 

 

 

I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
Melody

Peru and the Amazon River Part 6

16 May

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

Nazca Lines

For our next adventure and one I have been looking forward to is a flight over the Nazca lines. We began at the Lima (capital of Peru) airport where we boarded a small but comfortable plane. We were going to hop to another airport where they would take us to see the lines.

 

 

It was an amazing sight already flying over the Andes mountains. For the most part just a bare landscape of sand and rock . There were structures that made you wonder, possibly to store or extract water from underground.

Arriving at our next airport was a shocker. All I could see was mountians of sand and an extreme primitive control tower that looked like a tropical hut.

 

Inside the airport however was a beautiful place to relax, eat and even see some wildlife. There was a sacred condor  (Kuntur).

 

 

The Condor teaches the ability of fly and freedom. It is one of the most sacred animals because it lives on the heights and rules the skies, like the master of the wind, the clouds and the sky.

They soon called us to board the plane. Oh dear….. I had a feeling this might be a little rough. It was a tight fit in a warm plane, but we were still excited about what we were about to see.

 

We arrived and the pilot wanted to make sure we could all see each of the lines by lowering one wing, then the other. The motion soon got to me. I was able to click only a couple of pictures.

 

 

There were several trapezoids. Some believe they are landing strips for aliens, others believe they are roads that lead to gatherings of water rituals.

There are a few different birds that look similar. This one is believed to be a condor.

This one is called the owl man. Some believe it is an astronaut.

And some believe it to be a fisherman holding a fish and net.

This graph I found online shows many of the geoglyphs and what they are.

 

 

Some 700 geoglyphs (Nazca lines) are thought to have been drawn by the ancient Nazca people who flourished from around 100 BC to 800 AD. The earliest lines, created with piled up stones, date as far back as 500 BC.

Many of the images also appeared on pottery and textiles of the region.

Other drawings represent flowers, plants, and trees.

Archaeological surveys have found wooden stakes in the ground at the end of some lines, which support the theory the ancient people used simple tools and surveying equipment to construct the lines.

Most of the lines are formed by a shallow trench with a depth of between four inches and six inches, made by removing the reddish-brown iron oxide-coated pebbles that cover the surface of the Nazca desert and exposing the light-coloured earth beneath.

The largest geoglyph is a 935ft-long of a pelican.

The purpose of the lines continues to elude researchers and remains a matter of conjecture. Ancient Nazca culture was prehistoric, which means they left no written records.

One idea is that they are linked to the heavens with some of the lines representing constellations in the night sky. Another idea is that the lines play a role in pilgrimage, with one walking across them to reach a sacred place such as Cahuachi and its adobe pyramids. Yet another idea is that the lines are connected with water, something vital to life yet hard to get in the desert, and may have played a part in water-based rituals.

Anthony Aveni, a former National Geographic grantee, agrees, “Our discoveries clearly showed that the straight lines and trapezoids are related to water … but not used to find water, but rather used in connection with rituals.”

“The rituals were likely involved with the ancient need to propitiate or pay a debt to the gods…probably to plead for water.”

Anthropologists, archaeologists, and astronomers have all studied the lines, but have not found conclusive evidence for any of the theories.

Please join me next week for some wildlife and landscapes of the Amazon. Hanging Oropendola bird nests below.

Peru and Amazon River~Part 5

9 May

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

 

 

Huacachina, an oasis Huacachina

 

 

Our next adventure took us to a real live oasis. Just like in the movies. As we traveled there to see it, we passed mostly very poor living conditions and such a harsh environment. It was for the most part, sand, heat and dry.

 

We arrived and were greeted with locals renting four wheelers to have a blast riding in the sand. We passed on that.

 

 

Huacachina is a village in southwestern Peru, built around a small oasis surrounded by sand dunes.

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According to local legends the water and mud of the area is supposed to have curative powers and both locals and tourists often bath in the waters or plaster themselves with the mud in an attempt to cure ailments such as arthritis, rheumatism, asthma and bronchitis.

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Water stopped seeping into the lake in the 1980s and this has now started to become a threat to the lagoon. Recently, private landowners near the oasis have installed wells, which has reduced the level of water in the oasis. To compensate for this water loss, and preserve the oasis as an aesthetically pleasing destination for tourists, a group of ten businessmen devised a plan to pump water from a nearby farm into the lagoon.

 

 

The actual process of artificially pumping water into the oasis began on April 2, 2015 and since then more than 73,000 cubic meters of water has been pumped into the lagoon raising the height of the water by as much as 3 meters. The governor of the region was highly appreciative of the effort. It was announced in 2016 that the Peruvian scientist Marino Morikawa, who created a nanobubble system to decontaminate lake El Cascajo, will be given the project of restoring the Huacachina lagoon.

 

 

I wish him well. It is an amazing place, I was in total amazment that such a place could really be possible. As far as you could see were hills and beautiful hills of sand. Just sand.

 

 

Follow me next week. Our adventure will take us to the Nazca lines. A mystery to this day.

 

 

 

 

I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
Melody

Peru and the Amazon River~Part 4

2 May

A Life to Live

Melody Hendrix

Yagua Village’s Rum distillery and sugar cane fields

 

 

 

Our next adventure was to see one of the Amazons distilleries. This one produces rum from sugar cane, but others in the rainforest offer a variety of products including ethanol a biofuel made from sugar cane and other crops, which are a cleaner source of fuel, but still has a huge negative impact on the rainforest .

 

 

This was truly a primitive distillery. We all tasted four types of the rum. The pure sugar cane rum is called agua gente meaning burning water.

 

 

 

We also tasted rum mixed with molasses, rum mixed with molasses & ginger. This is often used for medicinal purposes. The natives often mix different medicinal or healing herbs with the rum. One mixture of rum and seven root is called jungle Viagra or underwear breaker. They use the molasses on cake or bread. This distillery makes about 1200 liters a year.

 

Next week, we will be going to Huacachina, an unbelievable oasis in the middle of the desert.

Peru and Amazon River~Part 3

25 Apr

A Life to Live

Melody Hendrix

Shaman of the Amazon rainforest

After waking and eating another delicious breakfasts on the boat that always included delightful papya and bananas, we were off on our walk through the rainforest to meet the Shaman.

 

 

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We sat in an open hut in a circle. We were all given a personal blessing. The Shaman would walk among us saying prayers in his native tongue and blow smoke on us as he chanted. We spent about an hour there. The experience was quite interesting. He had eyes full of knowledge and concern. His head dress was of meaningful feathers and his apprentices head dress was made of seeds and forest elements.

 

 

To some, the term “Shaman” may conjure up images of tricksters more than healers.

 

But authentic Shamans are masters of a sacred craft, living repositories of centuries of therapeutic wisdom.

The depth of shamans’ knowledge on preventive medicine and diagnostics has astonished even physicians who have studied their approach.

Shaman know the forest and medicinal treasures better than we do. And better than we ever will.

 

They will tell you that many human afflictions and diseases are from the heart, mind and spirit. Western medicine can’t touch them. He cures them.

Most medicine men and women and shamans remaining in the Amazon Rainforest are 70 years old or more.

Most of the shamans today do not have apprentices. So when a shaman dies, thousands of years of accumulated knowledge come completely and irreversibly to an end.

On our walk back we stopped in a location that had been logged. Each of us had an opportunity to give back to nature and plant a brand new tree.

 

Back on the boat and we will be stopping at our next excursion to a village that makes distilled rum from sugar cane. Please join me next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
Melody

Peru and the Amazon River~Part 2

18 Apr

A Life to Live

Melody Hendrix

Amazon River Commerce

As we traveled to our next location on the live a board, we saw several rafts along the way. They are going to a market to sell their goods.

They would build live aboard rafts with everything sellable even the balsa wood that makes the raft. They would live in them for days or weeks until reaching their destination where they could sell the goods. Then take a water service back home.

 

 

There are no bridges that cross the Amazon, mostly because there is no need, the majority of the Amazon River runs through rainforests rather than roads or cities.

The river is the principal path of transportation for people and produce in the regions, with transport ranging from balsa rafts and dugout canoes to hand built wooden river craft and modern steel hulled craft.

 

 

 

The river markets are busy. This is their grocery, pharmacy, household supplies and gathering place. They can buy many things including natural medicines for healing from the rainforest.

 

 

 

Some goods are brought to street markets in other locations. We were able to walk around here, but the guide would not allow us to bring money or cameras because of the pick pockets. A small distance away was a tent village full of the extremely poor.

 

Back on the boat, we docked at our next location where we will take a walk in the rainforest and visit the Shaman.

 

 

 

 

I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
Melody

Peru and the Amazon River~Part 1

11 Apr

A Life to Live

Melody Hendrix

The Amazon and it’s Indigenous People

 

The Amazon River is the greatest expression of life on earth. The rainforest holds answers to questions we have yet to ask. But it is rapidly disappearing.

 

 

The Amazon River is by far the world’s largest river by volume. It has over 1,100 tributaries, 17 of which are longer than 1000 miles. The Amazon rainforest is the largest tropical rainforest in the world, covering 1.4 billion acres.

The Amazon is home to more species of plants and animals than any other terrestrial ecosystem on the planet — perhaps 30 percent of the world’s species are found there.

Although indigenous people have lived on their lands for thousands of years, they do not own it, because they have not filed “deeds” of land and do not possess a “title.” Therefore governments and other outsiders do not recognize their rights to the land. Indigenous peoples possess an enormous body of almost irreplaceable information and skills about living in the rainforest without destroying it.

 

 

“Within the next few decades, the fate of the world’s remaining indigenous peoples, the fragile environments they occupy, and the valuable knowledge that they embody could well be decided once and for all. A number of individuals, corporations, and states are already pursuing their own “final solutions.”

 

 

The 20th century will be remembered either as the century when we destroyed much of the Earth’s genetic and cultural diversity, or the century when peoples learned to live together and share their knowledge in order to maintain the diversity upon which we all depend. Great civilizations like the Mayas, Incas, and Aztecs developed complex societies and made great contributions to science. Living from nature and lacking the technology to dominate their environment, native peoples have learned to watch their surroundings and understand the intricacies of the rainforest. Over generations these people have learned the importance of living within their environment and have come to rely on the countless renewable benefits that forests can provide.

 

 

Cattle ranching accounts for roughly 70 percent of deforestation in the Amazon. The world’s forests need to be seen for what they are—giant global utilities, providing essential public services to humanity on a vast scale. They store carbon, which is lost to the atmosphere when they burn, increasing global warming. The life they support cleans the atmosphere of pollutants and feeds it with moisture. They act as a natural thermostat, helping to regulate our climate and sustain the lives of 1.4 billion of the poorest people on this Earth. And they do these things to a degree that is all but impossible to imagine.

 

 

 

 

I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
Melody

A Journey to Peru and the Amazon River

4 Apr

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

As a child, I remember my father always watching travel shows on tv. Later in his life he was able to travel extensively after playing the stock market. He said he made more money doing that than ever working. I was so happy for him and my Mom. However, my Mom tired of traveling so my dad would go alone.
One day he asked me to go vacation with him to Peru on a live aboard boat down the Amazon River. I couldn’t contain my excitement. What an awesome opportunity he gave me. It was his last trip before he passed away. It was a most precious time.
I would like to share this series of incredible events and sights on this trip, which includes Peru, Nazca lines, the Amazon people and the way they live.

 

 

 

I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
Melody

Mingus Mill

28 Mar

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Mingus Creek Trail, Cherokee, NC

A half-mile north of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center is Mingus Mill. Built in 1886, this historic grist mill uses a water-powered turbine instead of a water wheel to power all of the machinery in the building. Located at its original site, Mingus Mill stands as a tribute to the test of time.

The fairly large building is powered by the water that rushes into the “millrace” from a diversion upstream.  The path leads all the way to where this diversion occurs.  As you walk up the millrace you’ll notice how the wooden planks that makeup the siding have remained firmly in place over the years. Although it was rehabilitated in 1968 by the National Park service, it is still an impressive sight to see.

Ride the Wave You’re Given

21 Mar

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

Sometimes you have to ride the wave you’re given. Unknown
Life is like riding a wave. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. Eric Carlson
Life is like the sea, it’s rough and rigid, or calm and still, but in the end, it’s always beautiful. Unknown
The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul.    Wyland
Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea and drink the wild air. Ralph Waldo Emerson
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