A Slow Morning in the Amazon

Puerto Miguel, ucayali River, Peru

June 1, 2022

My earplugs must have slipped out during the night because I woke up to what could be described as a cacophony of jungle critter noises… yet I actually find it quite calming. You can get a bit lost in it all.

There are definitely some mosquitos out there, frogs, cicadas maybe? Birds for sure. Do spiders make noises? I’ve seen some shimmery bugs, beetles that seem to be covered in glitter when the sunlight hits just right, square headed bugs, fluorescent blue ones, beady eyed ones; the other day I saw a clear butterfly!

Peru Amazon Rainforest butterfly

I open my eyes groggily. The sun hasn’t come up fully yet. We are all sleeping together in a large screened-in hut that otherwise is used for activities like Casilda’s art classes. There’s absolutely zero privacy but this early, on my cot under my mosquito net, I feel alone amongst the jungle noises. 

I roll over and see that my neighbor is up quietly reading. She’s a teacher so she just naturally wakes with the sun. I let her be. I check my boots for scorpions – because of course right before coming to Peru someone told me a horror story of finding a scorpion in their shoe once, so now it’s become a meticulous morning ritual – and I slither out from under my mosquito net. 

It’s been hard to keep up an exercise routine while traveling. With all the moving around, activities, and wanting to just hang out with the group, I haven’t had much time alone to reconnect with myself and my body. I feel my muscles screaming for movement this morning especially. Most people are still sleeping and I expect them to be for a while, so I figure it’s a perfect time to sneak away for a stretch somewhere. 

We traveled on a 15-hour overnight boat along the Marañon River (the river that feeds into the Amazon River) to get here so everyone is well overdue for a good night’s sleep.

Boat ride on Marañon river, Amazon river

I grab my water bottle and my travel towel, and tip toe across the creaky floor, and out the door, making sure to latch it well so no more bugs get in. I walk across the lawn that's thick with mud from last night's downpour and can see Casilda and her son in the kitchen/dining hut already up and making their breakfast. I go in to say good morning. She gives the best hugs. 

I let her know we may be a little late for breakfast since everyone is still very much asleep. 

Just past the kitchen area I notice a sort of dock - one that you would expect to find next to a lake or pond. Casilda tells me that during the rainy season when the river swells a lot of the property actually turn into a marshy lake. So the dock does actually sit on the water's edge! But right now it just overlooks a lush jungle with sunrise peaking through the leaves.

A perfect place for a morning stretch. I lay out my towel, and sit for a minute to just take it all in. Most of the pandemic I was doing this morning stretch routine in my living room with a view of my couch. It's overwhelming to now find myself here, so far from what is familiar, yet so comfortable. 

I feel so thankful. For this quiet moment of appreciation, and mostly for this incredible adventure in Peru with these wonderful people. 

Puerto Miguel, Amazon, Peru

– Camila Rich