When we weren’t eating, sleeping or riding in the boat, there were not a lot of options of things to do. Relaxing in hammocks and playing cards can only fill so much time.
Our guide convinced us that we must swim in the Amazon. Despite the inherit dangers (caiman, piranhas, strong current, the fact that the outhouses were located in it) he assured us that it was something every person must do in their life. He described to us the magical powers the water carried and the belief that if we were to drink some of the river we would later return, as does everyone who carries a little part of the Amazon inside them.
So, armed with this knowledge, we climbed in. Entering the river was not difficult; we simply walked out the front door. Standing on the front porch meant you were thigh deep in water, walking down the stairs meant you would be doggy paddling before you ever reached the third stair. None of us swam far from the porch. Jorge’s assurance meant little in the face of the Giant River and moving current.
Once we were all in, Jorge asked the ladies if any of us were on our period. This seemed an awkward and inappropriate question, but we all shook our heads no, staring at each other like, “What?!?!” He laughed and explained. According to legend the pink dolphins are attracted to any woman experiencing her flow. As soon as the lady steps into the water the pink dolphins can sense it and immediately swim to her. Then, overwhelmed by their need for her, they capture her and bring her into the depths of the river, keeping her for always. This is why no woman should ever go into the amazon during that time of her month. He looked at us again giving us a knowing look. Soon after we climbed out.
The only other activity offered was fishing. This was what Brian had come for, so of course this was meet with a resounding, “Let’s go!” Jorge drove us out to a part of the river, known for its good fishing. Each of us was given a stick with a piece of line and hook tied to it. We stuck raw pork on the hook and dropped it in. No luck. We moved to a new location. All the lines were dropped in again. We felt small tugs but when we pulled up the meat was gone and no fish hung in its place. This was done again and again, but nothing changed.
Brian had brought his traveling fishing pole. After 30 minutes with the stick, he took out his reel and pole and cast off the side. Within a minute he had a fish, he did this again and again, piranha after piranha were caught and released. The rest of us continued to catch air. One of Brian’s was quite large with a bright red belly. Our guide shouted at Brian to be careful, but before he could release it, the piranha freed itself. Jorge assured us this was better for everyone, especially Brian’s fingers.