Published in The Tico Times on 5th of January 2015
IQUITOS, Peru – When the brisk 66-year-old Julio Conwachi Sandow takes tourists through the jungle to go bird-watching, he talks a lot about flora and fauna. With his machete, he cuts away a piece of bark and explains how it helps cure stomachaches, and a few hundred meters on he points to an exotic bird hiding behind the bushes.
The path to the main bird-watching tower, which takes about an hour to reach, used to be farmland, he explains. But since the villagers began earning a living from tourists, some 6,000 hectares have been reforested.
From everything he tells you about the plants and birds in the forest, you might get the impression Conwachi has a doctorate in biology and has researched the Amazon for years. But the truth is he was a simple farmer before.
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Published in The Tico Times on December 19th, 2015
IQUITOS, Peru — We have to get our entrance stamp for Peru before the office closes at 5 p.m. The cargo boat is scheduled to leave for Iquitos at around 8 p.m., so we have some time to kill in the little port of Santa Rosa. It’s basically a row of wooden shacks with corrugated iron roofs by the Amazon River.
Workers load kilos and kilos of fish into a container with ice. It must be hard work for them under the blazing sun and in this Amazonian heat and humidity. Their shirts are soaked with sweat.
We sit down for a beer and watch the sky above the jungle turn purple and red. Smoke rises from the houses between the hazy jungle growth, and when the sun sets we see lights switch on, on the Colombian side of the river in Leticia. This is the point in the Amazon jungle where the three countries Brazil, Colombia and Peru come together. From here, you can go by boat to the east, into Brazil towards Manaus, or like us, you can move against the current into Peru, to Iquitos.
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