Iquitos internet cafes...

Do not have computers that read RAW format files. So it´s a case of water, water everywhere as I am up to my ojos downloading and burning all the pictures I took while out on the river, yet I can´t post any quite yet for you all to see. (Actually I can, but only if I wait until after 11 pm where the ¨no download¨ ban at this cafe is temporarily lifted and I can get Picasa to stay on the computer for a few hours. Yet I will continue to choose sleep over this option). I have let myself look at a few of them though and I´m excited about a lot of the portraits--esp. of the kids. So many big wide open eyes that want to look right down into my camera.

So I offer no pictures, but I will urge you to tale a look at my friend Caroline´s clever and purty photoblog from Beijing.

The first part of our trip has been busy (you can read about it on the project blog Rimanaku) but these past two days we've been in a bit of a waiting period while we locate and schedule time with the rest of the shamans that we will record with and get our next jungle expedition set.

This waiting time is a good thing because according to Cesar, our shaman friend, we all picked up dark energies while working with the other shamans we meet in the villages and we needed the time to get it all out of our system. Cesar is an elfin little man that I love more than I can really express with just words. He´s spent the past 30 years of his life taking ayahuasca and adminstering ceremonies to anyone who is sick or sad or like us, has stumbled into some darker energies out there in the road. Unlike many of these other shamans, Cesar does not work with darker energies--he saves himself for God, Mother Mary, Jesus, and Sai Baba--who he sings to throughout the ceremonies.

I´ve taken ayahuasca a few times in my Peruvian travels, but I can´t say that I really understand all that goes on with it (read this article if you want to know more). Still, after two nights of drinking the bitter vine and vomiting up god knows what (yesterday's lunch? dark spirits?), I do feel much cleaner and calmer.

The message I kept getting during the ceremony was about taking time out to really enjoy my life and to spend time contemplating what is really going on with me. I think we have a lot of turning points that are always being offered to us so that we can keep opening up and going further as human beings--yet its not easy to do this when we are so busy and lost in our minds.

Being out here in such different, basic survival situations where everyone is sick and everyone needs something and cultural survival isn't a sure thing makes me feel extra fragile and human. It helps me to remember why I am here and that its important to not get complacent and to be grateful for what I've got going on with me.