Our first few days unwinding to the pace of the Amazon have been quite eventful. It`s a big change to fly from the freshness of high altitude Bogota, across an ocean of green jungle and land in a beautiful sweat box.
We`ve shifted to our new hut , but somehow not as accessible to the town as I must have made up in my head. It`s an 11km road trip from Leticia on a bus that peaks at a top speed of 30km, then a half hour walk along a muddy path to our patch of paradise.
We`re living in a village of multi-ethnic indigenous people, people that are outrageously friendly, believe in the power of the earth mother and are governed very much by nature. I definitely feel like the only white person in the village and suddenly feel extremely tall. But I love it.
Our Hostel is very basic in structure, wood and thatch, but we are lucky the power was hooked up a couple of years ago and we have delicious fresh water to drink. And it`s too hot all year to worry about needing hot water. The garden is incredible, every tree bears a different and yet to be tasted tropical fruit and fresh juice every day has quickly become standard. The diet is simple; fruit, rice and most often fish from the river. I`ve broken my die hard vegetarian diet of many years so that I can not only survive, but eat local. I never thought the day would come but I have to say I`m enjoying it, knowing the fish is eaten in season and caught by hand from the Amazon River eases my conscience a little.
We have some new animal pets. The most unusal being Paco, a 7 year old blue macaw that makes his presence known at every opportunity. He lives in the house and over the years has gotten very used to coffee and biscuits for breakfast. The main picture is pretty much exactly what he looks like. More on him and his dominant personality later.
We also have a very pregnant cat called Becky, we´re christening her Becky James after a friend, who happens to play nicely with one of the three dogs called Bo. Very sweet. We`ve spotted a lot of lizards, chameleons, butterflies and one monkey, but from the sound of the night symphony we have a whole new world to discover yet.
We are living with the mother of the owners while they are away in Europe long term, a very chatty and smiley 60 year old grandmother called Regina (pronounced Reheena). She has enough friends, children and villagers dropping by every day to make it feel like a large communal space. There is also Pedro who looks after the garden full time and takes tourists on guided tours if they`re interested. He seems to know everything there is about the local flora, fauna and history of the area and over time I`m sure he`ll be showing us how beautiful the simple jungle life is. I can already tell that the only thing to worry about is doing things too quickly.
Andres is relishing his new man of the Hostel role, and has a good excuse to tell people how beautiful Colombia is, I get to faff around and suggest some stuff to do in neighbouring countries that I`ve experienced. Our first guests where two Aussie girls so we`re counting that as a good omen. The rest of the time it`s solo Spanish speaking so I should pick up a few thousand extra words over time!
The name Leticia even comes from the Roman goddess of fertility and abundance, and if you saw the amount of fruit burdening the weight of trees you could understand some truth in the origin. The whole area feels very tribal, there is a sense that people are living very organically and with the seasons. It`s a really beautiful space I feel lucky to be experiencing.
Tranquilo, tranquilo, or tranquil, tranquil, slowly, slowly, is the local mantra here, and I`ve got no complaints with that!
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. Lao Tzu