Thursday, February 2, 2017

Day Twenty-Two: Visiting our Forest Friends and Then Heading Home

 Day Twenty-Two: Wednesday, February 1, 2017



We woke up for the last time in our hammocks this morning, this time with rain pouring down outside (and inside in a few choice locations!).  Our plan was to leave for our day’s excursion first thing this morning but, as with many/most plans here, things changed.  We waited out the rain and waited for our local friends to trickle in to join us.  Zé and Josy came early and we also had a visit from our old friend Diorlando, who no longer works for Saúde e Alegria, so we don’t see him all day every day like we used to. 

We had pancakes for breakfast just because we had the fixings for them and Louro was happy to oblige.  We also had eggs and fruits and two kinds of juice (guava and taperebá).  We spent a little less than an hour trying to organize our packing situation before the sun started to peek through to invite us out to our excursion.

Today’s trip was a quick visit to a local zoo/animal hospital for animals from the forest.  Unfortunately the infirmary part of the area was closed for the month for repairs, so we didn’t get to see the manatees and some of the injured animals that are in small enclosures as they heal.  But we still got to tour the main grounds of the zoo and saw the biggest alligator any of us (including Zé!) have ever seen, at 4.2 meters long.  It can supposedly grow another 50% or so, to just over 6 meters.  We have no idea who captured it or how. 

We saw wonderful birds, many with huge headdresses, and we saw parakeets, parrots and macaws that we might see in pet shops in the U.S.  Seeing them in a semi-natural habitat just sitting in trees is kind of fun.  Some of the macaws are friendly enough to climb on our arms and perch there.  They didn’t elect to sit on everyone’s arms, but we don’t quite know what their standards of judgment are. 

We saw many different kinds of monkeys, some of which like to be touched and stroked through the wire of the cage.  They would make these noises that sounded like singing when they particularly liked one of us (or so we thought, anyway) so it was a big kick to get one really going by touching its tail or its very soft hands. 

There were other animals that we don’t really know English language names for, like the coati/quati and another animal that is related to the raccoon, though it looks like a lemur/opossum/anteater.  We saw tapirs and some wild pigs that ran around frantically right when we arrived. 

We also saw some jaguars, including a 3-month old male.  The older jaguars draped themselves over branches of the tree in their enclosure, looking like they were posing for our pictures. 

We were bummed when we ran out of animals to see but we needed to hurry away anyway to get packed and ready to fly.  We had our last lunch with Dona Maria and Louro and gathered afterward to express our appreciation to them.  We brought them some gifts from the U.S., including some fun cooking gear and some SMC swag.  We then had to take on the packing job, which was made easier by the fact that we have left a lot of things behind (including most of the food we carried in) but made complicated by the kinds of things we acquired, like machetes and huge paddles as souvenirs.  We figured it out.

We fly to Manaus, where we wait for a few hours before heading into the U.S.  We will go out to a churrascaria (steakhouse) while there to use up some of the time.  We will be full and tired when we get on our plane to Miami, so hopefully we will sleep all the way to there then on to San Francisco.  We still need a few more days together to finish our final projects.  That time will help us make the adjustment from all of us being together all of the time to finding a way to individuate again.

There is a Portuguese word “saudade” (sow-DAH-gee), which means something in the direction of deep sentiment related to missing someone.  It can be said in the singular or plural and says something more than “I’m really going to miss you.”  We have saudades for Brazil and for our friends here and we know they have saudades for us too.  We’ll be thinking of this place for a long, long time to come . . .



 In the rehabilitation zoo in Santarém, the DIRTies were fortunate to see a rescued alligator. The alligator was a male that was very long and wide. The employees are working to find a better habitat for the alligator.




Zé connects with a parrot at the rehabilitation zoo. The parrots are not the friendliest and for some reason only mounted on the arms of males in the DIRT group.
 

After the packing push in Santarém, Zummo, Josy, Aldrich, Julius, Kevin, and Nate take some time to play cards before heading to the airport.




Julius wore his stretchy pants to the Brazilian steakhouse and expressed his excitement to eat in Manaus during the six hour layover!




Aldrich says goodbye to Gui and Jesse in Santarém. Although it was hard to say goodbye, Aldrich was thankful to have met both of them.


Nate taking a selfie with a macaw. This ruthless macaw tried to peck many of us (including Kim, twice).


Julius holding hands with a white-faced spider monkey. These monkeys enjoy being pet and will gladly stick out their limbs and tails. Fun fact: Their tails are used as another limb.


This was our hostel in Santarém. We stayed here before and after Anã. It was hard to say goodbye to a place we called home.




Thank you Brazil for the amazing 3 weeks. Até logo Manaus!




No caption needed. PrinGOOOOoooooOOOOoOoOOoOOOOOOOLs!!!


A very difficult part of our trip was saying our final goodbyes to Zé and several other Brazilians who we became very close with. 


The monkeys at the rehabilitation zoo were extremely friendly with our group. These monkeys in particular loved to be pet and touched.


Thankfully the only panthers we saw on our trip were the ones at the Fit Unama Rehabilitation Zoo we visited, in this cage. 

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