Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ciudad Perdida Part two: Natives and Movies Stars

Everyone had told me that the first day of the Ciudad Perdida trek was the hardest. I also had a fellow traveller tell me, “The first day is the hardest, It’s a lot of walking and don’t expect Machu Picchu.” Right, I wasn’t expecting Machu Picchu, I wasn’t really expecting anything. I had written up information about Ciudad Perdida for our guests in the hostel but other than that I knew nothing. Back in the summer when I was reading about the trek the one thing that drew my attention was the fact that we got to sleep in hammocks in the jungle, which I was very excited for. No one really knows much about the lost city therefore you can’t have too many expectations or let downs, which is alright in my books.

Also as the old saying goes it’s not the destination but the journey. It didn’t really matter what lay at the end of this trail through the jungle, it was getting there that I was going to remember the most.

We did stay in Hammocks a few night but it’s wasn’t in the middle of nowhere jungle like I had expected, it was in a camp with showers, toilets and a kitchen for our guides to cook us dinner. You could even get beer although the closer you got to the site the more expensive beer got. The great thing about the camps was most of them were located on the river that we were following towards the lost city. After a day of hiking in the humid heat of the jungle you could refresh in the crystal clear water of the river and bathe under a waterfall.

In the camp which was halfway to the site I had come back from swimming in the river and was waiting for lunch when I say a super attractive guy come strutting up with two large backpacks, he threw them both down walked over to the cooking area chugged a glass of water and smacked the locals guys and guides on the backs. He was oozing with pure testosterone. He had a very mainly physic, tattoos and light wavy hair. I had to calm myself from the scene that had unfolded in front of me. Soon the rest of his group arrived and later on as I was sunning myself on a rock in the river trying my best to look sexy I noticed his whole group was extremely attractive, especially the one girl with long dark hair.
After our dinner my group moved over to extremely attractive group’s table to play some cards but instead we got in a conversation with them. They were all friends from Bogota and one of the couples had just gotten married up in Ciudad Perdida by an indigenous shaman. It was the coolest thing I had heard. The indigenous population in the area have not really changed much in centuries. There are different tribes one being the Koguis but all of them are very similar and they do not talk to tourist or like their pictures taken. They are very private, shy people. I have heard some people say they are rude and not nice but this is untrue. They just want to be left alone. This does create a problem though, if they do not communicate with the outside world their culture is in danger of getting lost. You cannot find much information on the natives in this area in books or on the web and they do not read or write it is only oral education. This group of people from Bogota was very much into the native’s culture and understood the importance of preserving their traditions and identity. They had one indigenous guy with them who knew a bit of Spanish and they wanted us to teach him a bit of English. With his assistance they taught us a bit about their culture. He pulled out a gourd shaped wooden object from his bag. This was a symbol of manhood. When you became a man you receive one. You need to mush up coca leaves in your mouth and mix your saliva with seashell powder to make a paste which you rub on the outside of this thing to give it a really big rim. It takes a lot of time to make this.

The Bogota group told us lots about the natives and it was very interesting to hear about their close relationship to nature. It was a very rare experience that we got to sit and chat with this guy about his ways and traditions while most travelers just pass on through the indigenous villages trying to take a sneaky photo, we had a native right at our dinner table teaching us about his people.
They told us in the morning a Shaman was going to come and visit. He came while we were eating breakfast with his white pointy hat. He gave a necklace to the sexy guy with wavy hear and let him take their photos. My group just stood off to the side in amazement.

We soon left in the opposite direction of the Bogota group, continuing our ascend to the Ciudad. It wasn’t until a while later that our guides informed us that the couple who got married is actually Zharick Leon and her boyfriend, a famous Colombian actress and singer. None of us had ever heard of her but it was still cool that we got to hang out with a famous Colombian actress.
As well the fact that she did the hike with her closest friends and wedding dress in her pack gave me a whole lot of respect for her. Other famous people have visited the lost city such as Juanes and Political figures but they all flew in by helicopter. It appeared her and her friends have a strong appreciation for the natives, nature and their country.

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