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Fruit Salad and lemonade, Amazon style

The jungle. We made it.

Unfortunately, time and more importantly, money running low, we could only stay a day. But what a day.

San Miguel del Bala is a community-run initiative (of the town of the same name) which offers tours of the village, the traditional hunting techniques and tours to the surrounding area.

Our guide was San Miguel villager Felchy, an instantly likeable man who had been briefed by the agency that we were English and he might need a few words to get by. This manifested itself in the form of a rolled up 'Ingles for beginners' phasebook from 1978 in his back pocket. At random points in our trek through the Jungle Felchy would stop dead in his tracks. We would stop too, eager to see what he had spotted in this incredible wild place, only for Felchy to whip out the phrasebook and spend 10 minutes running his finger along the pages in search for 'This is a cinnamon tree' (something it seemed unlikely to find).

On entering the village, Felchy told us that we could help ourselves to any fruit we liked.And there was a lot of fruit. Grapefruits, mandarins, bananas. ('sorry, the Mangoes aren't ripe') We were told to go ahead, pick what you like.
Min was of course over the moon at this. She is a big fan of the fruit. In fact she may secretly be a fanatical member of the militant fruit alliance she likes fruit so much.

None of this fruit had stickers on it.

It was like walking into a surreal fruit dreamland.
The question you have to ask, (aside from one questioning my late night fantasising about fruit) is why? Why does it feel weird and exciting to see fruit on a tree? After all it's kinda where fruit comes from.

'Where does fruit come from daddy?'

'Tesco son'.

The world we live in is one where chicken is covered in shrink wrap not feathers and fruit just appears. Here we got to see that it actually grows! This was, at 29, an education for me.

In a weird way this small incident today sums up how mad the world is, how much we take for granted and how interlinked our lives are with those of a village such as this, on the other side of the world.
It got me thinking of mornings at work when, in mid-winter, I'd tuck into a box of blueberries 'from chile' and launch it into the bin. It's mad. Every day in the UK we eat 'fresh' fruit, delicious fruit from the other side of the world. To think of all that goes in to planting, growing, maintaining, picking, shipping of fruit from a village such as this to us at home is, well a bit mental.

I prefer this pick your own in an amazonian village business. Not quite as practical but still.

Come on admit it, if you were asked to draw a banana plant...

Two varieties of banana from the trees, the smaller in much sweeter. Delicious


After touring the village and meeting Felchy's family we were invited to assist in the making of lemonade.

This wasn't quite what we expected. This was making lemonade amazon-style.

After collecting sugar cane, Min and Matt were asked to man the almighty contraption that was an amazonian lemonade maker.

(A nice little film we made coming soon...)

Cane was fed into the machine by Min and Felchy's wife whilst Matt and Felchy went for a stroll.

The cane juice was then filtered, limes (there's a fine line between the two, 'limon' in South America)  


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