We took a 5 hour boat ride on a rapido from Iquitos to the village of Chino. Where the women weavers here make gorgeous baskets. They were very kind in welcoming us, and after awhile they set up an artists “fair”, where they all brought out their art and we had our pick. It was amazing, and I wish I had brought more money, because they are beautiful and I want so many for my thesis exhibit. These women also weave the most adorable frog baskets and tree ornaments, and I will be bringing home a family of them. After the “fair” we sat with them while they worked on making jewelry to fill the order of a local upscale eco-lodge. I took an hour or so to draw a sweet older woman named Pillar, as she wove a bright pink basket. Drawing of course brought me a fan club of children, who I then got to spend the day playing with. Campbell and I are quite excited to learn that the artists here can make a naturally sourced green dye, and one woman did us the honor of going through the process with us. She first mashed the dye plant with rocks, then boiled it with water over a fire. Next she put in the Chambira fibers and let them sit in the boilding pot for awhile. Afterwards she laid them out on a table to dry, and we were very impressed to see that they were a beautiful bright shade of green. Until now all the greens we have seen have been artificial.
While visiting here we are very fortunate to stay just outside town in the rainforest conservation fund research home. It’s an amazing lodge which we are happy to find comes with beds and is fully covered in mosquito netting. Most creatively I will be attempting to cook for us. Thus far popcorn has turned out well. I am hopeful for lentil soup. Perhaps one of us will figure out how to cook the Piranha we brought home from our fishing trip. Campbell says the noises we hear at night are howler monkeys. I cannot tell you how comforting being nearly alone in a screened lodge in the jungle hearing howler monkeys is… I guess it is pretty awesome though.