Posted from: Iquitos
My ayahuasca experience last night was one of the more humbling nights of my life. Remarkably, it seems, my ego decided to take on Mother Ayahuasca in some sort of a battle. Horrified, I watched the whole thing from the sidelines, feeling very annoyed with my ego for putting up such a relentless attack.
Posted from: Iquitos
We’re on the Amazon at last! Even though we’ve travelled well over a thousand miles since we started this epic journey, the river has always been called something else – Apurimac, Ene, Tambo and so on. Yesterday morning we hit the confluence of two massive rivers – the Maranon and the Ucayali - and at that point the river became officially known as the Amazon. It felt like quite a big moment for our bedraggled little team. It’s taken us three months to get to this point and we’re not even in Brazil yet!
Posted from: Andoas
All the long days on the river and the ever-changing logistics and rainclouds above seem worth it today. What a perverse claim to make as we look out on the oil-spilt banks of a stream. Black snakes through the muddy water and clings to all it touches. Rain runs down our faces and over the polluted ground towards the Corrientes River. Words are inaudible in the downpour but the scene speaks for itself.
Posted from: San Lorenzo.
We’re back in San Lorenzo again on the way out of Achuar land at last. We’ve filmed the end of our story and are on our way to the next. Thankfully this time we’re not in the prison, but in the hostel next door, which is more like an open prison than the maximum-security unit of previous visits.
Posted from: Andoas
After days of travelling in tiny boats we make it to the grotty settlement of Andoas. We arrive late and are staying in a hostel made of plywood, as it’s the only accommodation in town. Around us are a few sparse bars and directly opposite a brothel lit up with twinkly fairy lights and blaring out 80’s music until the early hours.
We’re still here, stuck in Andoas on a grey wet day in January. The vehicle turned up from Nuevo Jerusalem at about two this afternoon, five hours late. Then the driver told us he had to do a driving course with the oil company and would be back later. He’s still not back so we hope we can drive out tomorrow at first light. It’s frustrating as hell.
Posted from: Andoas.
We're in Andoas at last. It's been a mission to get here, as always. First the oil company agreed we could fly up here on one of their planes. Then they decided we couldn't (we later heard one of their platforms had been peacefully occupied by the Achuar so they didn’t want us around). Then they said we could fly again but then they bumped us off the flight. Eventually we reverted to Plan A, which was the usual option of three days on a boat with a stop-off in the Prison Hotel of San Lorenzo and the usual boat diet of crackers, tinned cheese, frankfurters and tinned peaches.
Bruce didn’t experience Ayahuasca visions this time. Find out more about the Ayahuasca vine, which has a ritual use for healing and is used by the Achuar to give visions that provide understanding and power over the self and the external world.
Posted from: Wijint
Today we have been invited by Manto to go fishing with him and some other Achuar from the community. Zubin is so looking forward to this. He’s been wanting to catch a fish on the Amazon since we started this adventure and at every opportunity we have either been too busy filming or the boat has been travelling too fast. This scene should be great as we will be experiencing one of the Achuar’s traditional methods of community fishing so Zubin has promised us that he will be supplying the much needed food for us to eat tonight.
Posted from: San Lorenzo
Aliya Ryan studied anthropology and has been working with the Achuar in the Pastaza basin for three years, as part of the Peruvian NGO Shinai. Their work focuses upon indigenous rights and capacity building, particularly on territorial rights issues. Here she describes her experience of working with the crew during their time with the Achuar in Wijint.
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Bruce Parry, presenter of the BBC's Tribe, travelled the length of the Amazon to film a major new series for BBC Two, shown in autumn 2008. You can relive his journey online through exclusive blogs, video and much more.