Walking in the forest

Isac emits a soft whistling sound from time to time. From not far away a similar sound seems to answer from the forest. It must be Guri, hidden by the foliage. They are calling monkeys, Isac says.

I try to put in practice Chris's advice of scanning the top of the trees looking for unusual forms or movements. It seems impossible to be so near and still far away of the top of these enormous partially submerged trees. 10 meters water hide their trunks and still they are so high that they don't fit in a picture...even with a wide angle lens.
Suddenly Isac points at some bustling branches - monkeys!! Their loud cries fill the air and I get glimpses of their thick tails while jumping from one branch to the other - Saki monkeys. As they have appeared they disappear and silence reigns again.

On the spiny trunk of a palm tree we see a big brownish spider, hidden between the spines, and it's nest with two small white eggs in it.
We get out of the canoes on a slippery muddy land strip. Dark clouds hover over us. Guri leads us through a small trail, showing us all kind of trees - cedro, figueira, caju-do-mato. He walks quite fast and Isac stays behind taking care not to loose Mike who stops to take pictures of a lot of trees. I stick to Guri who seems to know deeply every vegetal and animal form of the place. I try to translate to Ebbe without much success, he doesn't hear very well and I don't want to shout out in the forest, afraid of scaring away animals.
A blue morpho butterfly passes by, an almost unreal electric blue spot in all the green and brown that surrounds us.
We 'see', well Guri sees and tries to show us some birds: mae-do-mato, galinha-do-mato, the mother of the forest and the chicken of the forest, but we only catch glimpses of them.
photo M. Falkendorf
Then he cuts a thick liana and hands it to me. "Drink", a conspiciuos  trickle of sweetish and fresh water flows out of it. "Cipò-d'àgua" they call it, a precious water source when walking in the forest.
The air is hot and humid, but there aren't many biting insect around.
Guri shows us the trails of a tapir, the hole of an armadillo and the signs of the passage of a jaguar. The latter are scratches on a big root on the soil. He tries to vocalize the tapir's whistle, but the only answer he gets is the loud chant of a Japicum, a bird. He explains us the use of many trees, seeds, barks and Isac seems to be as curious as I am.
A thunder explodes not far away and soon thick and heavy rain drops start hitting us. Guri and Isac don't seem to mind at all. I'll learn during my stay here that rain is just part of it, as you get wet you get dry again, so nobody makes a big fuzz about it. I store my camera, the only thing I don't want to get soaked. My shoes are still humid from the rain in Manaus, in fact they feel quite uncomfortable, so it doesn't make a big difference...The dense foliage of the trees protects us partially from the rain and soon it stops again.
After some more walking we return to the canoes and plunge again into the igapò.
Isac keeps looking back from time to time, to control if I'm still on the canoe... Whith skilled movements he empties the canoe with a cut plastic bottle from the water that has filled up the bottom.
Isac is not a big talker, but he tells me that he is not from Xixuau. He and his brothers work there, while their father works on a farm on a nearby river.
Back at the community we have a quick shower then lunch with Chris and his daughters.
Stefan and Camilo have brought a lot of açai from the fazenda and we drink the purple tasty juice. Maybe it's the suggestion of the place, but it tastes great, completely different from the watery taste of those sold by Rio's juice stalls.
During lunch Chris asks me if I have decided to go to the buritizal with them. Oh well, had I ever said I wouldn't? We will be leaving tomorrow morning at 6 o'clock on four canoes, a big and three smaller ones. Chris and his two daughters, Matteo, Nicole's Italian boyfriend, Divan, Cat's boyfriend, Mike and Ebbe, Chico, Guri and Carlito (the fisherman of the community). Chris is a bit worried about Ebbe and tries to find out with Mike if he thinks he is prepared for the hardship of the tour.
After lunch everybody goes to take a rest, while Cat and I stay for a while in the shade of the big maloca. Isac, Divan and some others pretend to sleep while listening to our chitchat on the two sofas of the maloca.

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