Brazil is known for its paradise beaches in Rio de Janeiro, big cities like São Paulo, and Carnival. But what I realised was I had never been to every corner of my country. And so I booked my tickets to Amazonas.
Once I touched the high altitude and the airplane flew over the state of Amazonas I could see how much I would explore the uncharted territory of a land where I have been living for over 25 years and neither my dad nor my mom have ever been here, nor any of my friends, I knew nobody, I was on my own. On the plane I grabbed my camera: my journey was about to begin. Through the window I focused on a wide river running among the trees, brown and dense, it was not very fast though, it was flowing smoothy and gracefully, the rainforest showed me big canopies, shades of green composed by different dimensions of leaves, warm colours among them, it was alive, my mind ran fast I realised there were people calling it home.
To reach Amazona’s indigenous community was only possible by a boat trip which takes 50 minutes from Manaus harbour. On the water I could feel the breeze of the new adventure which was about to come.
And as far as we got from the port I was able to see the Meetings of Waters: two rivers, two different colors, two different densities, two different temperatures, over than 90 species of fishes have been found out there. The Negro River which is born in Columbia has a dark coloration due to the decomposition of leaves; Solimões River is born in the Peruvian Andes and its brown appearance is attributed to the minerals from the mountains. Our boat approaches and play between the boundaries, sewing the waters, effortless, there is no change, the waters are still apart from each other and they keep asunder along the horizon for the next 11 kilometers. Arriving in the village we were led by the xamã’s wife, her funny Portuguese told us it was not her first language, a topless middle aged lady wearing a grass skirt, getting to feel Amazonas nice weather, I felt like taking my shirt off, however I held myself.
She drove us through the land, our first stop was a wide saloon roofed by different leaves where we sat down and watched our Welcome ceremony. The natives danced for us offering all the beauty of their traditions, synchronised movements and rattles attached to their feet, sometimes in circles and other times calling us from the audience to be part of the festivities, a man stared me in the eyes and stood in front of me, with a smile he grabbed my hand, in a few seconds I was there, in a man’s arms, a man who has lived his whole life in an indigenous community in Amazonas, who has never experienced crazy traffic jams, missed buses, been late to work, the purity of his smile made me smile, I danced as I had never done it before, people clapping hands, celebrating. The energy took over the place. Playing a type of harmonica, drums and more rattles, but this time by hands, all instrument made by them, echoing in the space, echoing in my heart, blowing my mind. The ceremony is over and there are some ants and fish for us to try, smoked on a rudimentary stove made of rocks and firewood, there is also a young lady painting some indigenous symbols on whoever wants it, I got mine.
Being in a place filled with topless girls with no mobile phones to selfie their breasts was the kind of experience my São Paulo’s roots would never give to me. Everything seems so genuine, the huts were built at the exactheight due to the flooding of the river, hammocks hanging comfortably inviting us to take a nap in that long sunny afternoon, although the invitation was irresistible it was time to proceed our journey to the next stop.