When visitors from the States stay with us, they usually make the comment that we are living in the great outdoors. We are residing in the middle of a rain forest with all sorts of bugs and animals just outside of the house. Our dogs protect us from the larger animals that are trying to get into the house along with the thieves who seek to do the same. Geckos are part of the landscape in our house. The eat all sorts of insects including the dreaded mosquitoes who carry all kinds of diseases. They seem to be very territorial creatures who have marked of territory in each window screens of the house. You will find that there is at least one gecko per window unless it is a large window and then they will have divided into two territories. Now they are not limited to just the windows. I have one that has taken over the counter in the kitchen. He will scurry around the counter trying to catch the insects flying over the food. This is why we like them, but they leave dropping all over the place which can pile up and be a nuisance in the house. So there are drawbacks but eliminating the bugs in the house is a high priority when living in the jungle. Please remember to pray for our health.
Have you stoped buy the pet store at the shopping center and saw the most beautiful birds and other tropical pets. How about a exotic turtle? We do not have to go to the pet store or zoo to see such beauty, they are in our backyard. The people here love them as much as you do. They are prized pets. The macaws can live as long as a human. If you rent a place that has a macaw, there are conditions in the rental contract for you to care for the bird. The real owner of the property is the macaw who is protected under law. No you can not take these birds or many other animals out of the country but local do have them as pets. Monkeys are fun as they swing around the house climbing up trees and walls at someone’s home. Now we have done some traveling since we have been living in Brazil as missionaries. It is always fun to visit a zoo and see displays of animals from Northern Brazil, they are just common animals to us. I guess that makes us tropical too.
When you think of a man who is fishing for a living you have in mind this big mussel bound guy. Not so here on the Amazon. Most fisherman I know are skinny and spend most of their day out in a small canoe trying to catch fish to sell in the market. They will either sell it to a vendor they know well or just sell the fish off their boat. There are stories of how the fish used to be monsters but now catches are small, mostly because of over fishing by lager boats or corporation who can just scrape up the fish in big nets. The local guy just gets what is left over, unless they have access to a special spot where the big boat can not go.
I take it you have been the the exotic pet store and seen one of there birds for sale. Many of these birds are bread in captivity and not from the wild. He my friends just pluck them out of the tree, trim their wings and the have a parrot for a pet. They are a popular pet to have at your house and easy to feed. These birds eat fruit from the trees. When a mango tree is full of fruit there will be flocks of these birds in the trees eating mangoes and tossing the remains on the people below. Our friends just go out in their yard or just walk in the street and pick fruit from the trees for their birds. If they have a big fruit tree they just let the parrot lose and he will climb up the tree to eat the fruit. Yes cats eat parrots.
These boats are made out of Brazilian hard wood. They are very heavy and to pick up and move. It will take ten men to move one of these small boats. They are very durable and can stay out on the river day and night without a problem. What happens when you fill them with water. Well they float just below the level of the water. How do I know that, from experience! The last boat we had like this we did sink the boat near the beach. The waves poured in and filled the boat to the top with water. It did not stay on the beach but floated off the beach. Now my aluminum boat will not float! It sinks to the bottom of the beach and it took a good crew to bail the water out and float her. Pray for out safety.
This long beach looks like an inviting place till the helicopter shows up. This means that there has been a death or someone is missing. The beach where we live is a very long beach at low tide. If you are brave enough you can walk out a quarter mile on the sand and mud if you take the proper path. We have fisherman who have laid traps out in these parts of the beach but they know what they are doing. These tourist that visit for the day or the weekend have no idea of the dangers. The city will provide life guards on popular holidays to try and keep the tourist safe. It is very popular for the tourist to spend the day drinking on the beach sitting under a large umbrella for the shade. It looks like a holiday paradise till a drunk individual wades way out on to the beach. It is here the harsh reality that this is a river beach with tides that change 12 foot in just three hours. The tide can come in very quick and since it is a river the current is pulling out from the beach. This is when people are sweep away by the water. This is when the helicopter is called in because the life guards are not going to risk their life in these dangerous waters. The helicopter will fly low to the water all around the island two or three times looking for the body. If it does not find it in three passes they seem to give up and head back to their base.
Living on the island we see lots of ships pass by all day long. Some of them are heading to the port of Belém, which is the city where we live. The doc area is not very large, it will only handle a few ships at a time. That is why it is common to see ships parked in the river and smaller boats unloading them. Being a port city we sometimes get a visit from a curse ship. Not the super large ones but small vessels with the tourist who look like us. So we there is a cruse ship in town the locals think we are tourist and try and strike up a conversation in English. One time we arrived by boat into town and the curse ship’s professional photographer took our picture thinking we were one of his guest. What fun! Being a foreigner living in a port city has some interesting twist.
What is in your back yard? Since we live on a an island located in the middle of a shrinking rain forest, our backyard has a few different animals than you might have. There are lizards running through our yard on a regular basis. Why running, well we have dogs protection, so when they lizards come into the yard they find a few big dogs coming after them. These lizards come in a variety of colors and sizes. As you might expect most of them are small in size though we do occasionally get a bing one in the yard. We think our old cat tried to eat one some time back. He came home with a few strange injuries that left him laying around for about a week as he healed. So back yard watching for us can be interesting.
What type job can you get on our island? There are only a few employers on the island. The government (police, school, bus driver) and an ice plant. Outside of that every one is in business for himself. There are shop owners that employ a hand full of people and guest houses that are very seasonal with all of them are family run. Motorcycle taxi driver is the most popular trade here. The island is crawling with them on popular weekends. Yes, we are a local tourist spot. We have 14KM of beaches at low tide, that people can walk on the beach or sit at one of the many restaurants that line the beach. This means the weekend is busy for the locals. There is jobs here but most of them are service jobs that are part time. Many people have to find some other self employment during the off season just to get buy. As they say it is a great place to visit but not to live here.
The new look on the river is aluminum boats, I own one similar to this one. It is like a new fashion statement on the river. These little 24 ft aluminum boat are popping up all over the river. Many have a 20hp Yamaha outboard motor or a Habeta as seen in this photo. It is a small lawnmower engine with a prop attached at the end. These are quite dangerous but common in our area. The next question is how many people would you put in this boat? I have seen these boat packed with ten people with gear. Life on the river is very different from the city. Pray for us as we try and reach these river people with the God News.