Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The dog, the tapir, the macaw and the missing monkey.

This is Rex.
He used to be a stray in town, but now lives in a nice jungle lodge in the Brazilian Amazon. No one ever calls him Rex though because, in Brazil, his name is pronounced Hex.

Hex is still a pup.
He spends his days sleeping in the sun, chewing empty plastic bottles and entertaining the tourists that stay at the lodge.
Sometimes, he steals a slipper if they're not careful to hide them away. Mostly though, he just runs around his very...
...very big backyard.


 This is Romeo.
He's a tapir and lives with Hex at the lodge. No one ever calls him Romeo though because [you guessed it], in Brazil, his name is pronounced Ho-may-o.

Ho-may-o's mama was killed by a hunter when he was a baby. The hunter didn't kill Ho-may-o though. He decided to bring him home instead. One day, the hunter had to leave the jungle. He couldn't take Ho-may-o with him, so he brought him to the lodge.

Ho-may-o isn't a pet. He gets to roam anywhere he likes and sometimes goes off into the jungle by himself for long walks. Ho-may-o is still young too. One day when he's older, he may want to go off into the jungle to look for a girlfriend. He'll have to be very careful not to meet any hunters if he does that.

Here are some pictures of Ho-may-o getting chubby ticks picked off him.
As you can see, he quite enjoys it.

This is Menina.
 Menina is a macaw.
Funnily enough, her name is pronounced exactly as it's spelt and means "little girl".

Menina walks everywhere.
And climbs up things with the help of her beak.
No one's quite sure why she can't fly.
 Not being able to fly could be the reason why Menina is One Grouchy Bird That Likes To Peck Things..
To stop her destroying the lodge, Menina gets put on a tree every morning
so she can just work on destroyng the tree instead.


Every morning, Ho-may-o gets a big pile of leftovers for his brekkie. That makes Hex jealous so he has to be tied up when Ho-may-o's eating.
Everyone thinks this is very funny except Hex.
This is what happens when Hex doesn't get tied up.
Ho-may-o is a lot bigger than Hex and could probably kill the silly little bugger by smacking him with his snout. But he doesn't.

[Or at least, hasn't yet.]

In fact, it's Hex who can be a bit snarky and likes to show Ho-may-o who's boss.
Poor Ho-may-o.
He's too tranquilo for his own good.
Ho-may-o has simple habits. He has his brekkie, snoozes, wakes up for a walk and goes down to the river to Do Stuff.

One day, The Other Half was sunning on the deck
when Ho-may-o turned up. Being a [self-described] Dr Doolittle, he managed to persuade Ho-may-o to go swimming with him! He couldn't believe his luck! Unfortunately, no one was close enough to take any pictures of this once-in-a-lifetime event.

The Other Half was so thrilled by the whole thing, he didn't even mind that they'd been swimming near where Ho-may-o had Done Stuff.
Which also happened to be just around the corner from where we washed our clothes.
It's very easy to slip into the simple rhythm of life in the Amazon [or at least, the life of a tourist in the Amazon]
and we were muito triste when it was time to leave.


Oh yes, the monkey.

The monkey used to live at the lodge with Hex, Ho-may-o and Menina. Her name was Conchita. She disappeared about a month before we got there. No one knows exactly what happened, though there's a rumour that she was abducted by some suspicious woman. Everyone is sad and worried and hopes that Conchita just went looking for a boyfriend and didn't end up in a pot.

Here's a picture of Conchita in happier days.
This picture was taken from this site.

Some rANdom biTs.
On the way to the lodge from Manaus, we saw the way Hex must have lived before he became the luckiest dog in Brazil.
We met some other animals too. I don't think I've ever seen a chicken like this before.
But I'm guessing it's related to this breed of Naked Necks.
This picture is from this blog, which has a very interesting read about these chickens.

Most people find this surprising, but it's not easy to spot wild animals in the Amazon.

Looking for caimans by the banks of a muddy river, in the pitch-black, in a smallish wooden boat prone to filling up with water was definitely more scary than looking at them from the road in the Pantanal [see previous post].
Despite Aprijo's efforts at tarring the boats...

...this was a daily ritual before setting out.
After it was all over, we learnt that the black caimans in the area, unlike their fish-eating cousins in the Pantanal, are not adverse to a little human in their diet. This may be fable. However, it's a sad fact that black caimans themselves have been hunted to near extinction by humans for their leather and meat.

Lucky Johnny didn't fall in the water.

One night, we camped in the jungle.
Surprisingly, there were no mozzies. Sadly, there were no jaguars either. And it was strangely comfortable. We slept like babies.

When we got back to Manaus, the capital of Amazonas and the city where we started and ended our trip to the Amazon, we climbed a tree.

I had the dubious distinction of being the very 1st person ever to be attacked by bees while hanging 30metres off the ground.

Apart from that, it was a lot of fun.




"Hey Francesca, some food please. I'm peckish."
In some ways, a tapir is a lot like a dog.

"Hey Cushion, what're you making?"
"A caipirinha? What's that? Some food please. I'm peckish."

A Caipirinha Recipe
from our pousada in Rio.

Thanks, Lance.


A 2005 report on bushmeat consumption in South America: