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Matt Brandon

Mutiny on the Mismi

Posted from:Base camp Mismi
David - our guide and translator for this section - took the opportunity to make an emotional offering to the mountain at the source and invited us all to join in. All of us found it equally moving and we each took three coca leaves and prayed to the Apus before making a request and then placing the leaves into the first waters of the Amazon.


Amazing day, I was completely out of it because of the altitude and possibly from swallowing too much coca - I fell straight asleep when we got back to the cars and managed to force some food down at camp before passing out in my tent for a few hours.

The next day, feeling refreshed, we made the journey back again and were still in awe. This time we were better acclimatised, but it still took us some time to get the shots we needed. At about 2ish we finally let Bruce go on his way on foot. He had a few hours walk ahead of him and just before dark he made it to a local farmstead where he was welcomed like a king.

Bruce on the way to Rodolfo's house

Rodolfo and Gladys and their children were more welcoming than you could imagine and within minutes he was sat down in their tiny stone house talking about them, their lives, him and his journey. Gladys cried, which she was to do on a number of occasions over the next few days (Bruce did his fair share too!). They live in the most spectacular setting - imagine The Sound of Music, multiply by 10 and take away the nanny and a few kids.

Rodolfo and Gladys' son Icka takes a donkey ride
Rodolfo and Gladys' son Icka takes a donkey ride

Bruce lived there for a couple of days, all the while preparing for a trek with them over the mountains to a place where the river (called the Apurimac at this point) flows into a small canyon at La Angostura. They wasted no time getting him and us involved.

We all suffered a bit with the hours we were putting in because essentially we were having to commute from a lower altitude for filming. Not sure that Bruce got much sleep either, but after a few days I faced full mutiny from the crew. We'd been working very long days, sleeping at over 4000 metres, carrying heavy equipment and trying to produce what they keep telling me is art, something has to give at some point. Fair enough - time to slow down a bit.

See a slideshow of the team at the source


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