This is a very important blog for me so I want to make sure I use the right words… the correct words? No, the right words. That was better, definitely.
Actually I’m not sure that’s the best opening paragraph. I’ll try again…
As we stepped off our small (capacity of 12) Amazonas plane into the dense Amazon jungle, we looked at each other and smiled. It was just as we’d always imagined. There were trees to either side of us, the runway was dusty and the air was thick.
That was much better! I’ll roll with it…
The plane had landed at Rurrenbaque, just on the edge of the Amazon basin. It’s a beautiful town full of greenery, humid jungle heat and hammocks. It’s pretty quiet and laid back – occasionally the odd person might walk down the street and every now and again you’ll stumble across a restaurant. It’s set next to a beautiful Amazonian river (but not the Amazon river) and we found it to be the perfect place to relax in hammocks and write a few blogs.
I however, unbeknownst to Gemma, used my hammock time to perfect a speech I’d been working on for some time. A speech about something I’d been thinking about for even longer.
We wanted to get as far into the depths of the jungle as we could, and as beautiful as Rurrenbaque is, it’s only on the outskirts. We’d already booked a few nights at the ‘Chalalan Lodge’ which we’d learnt to be the second furthest a tourist can go into the Amazon, and the deepest from Bolivia. What we hadn’t realised was quite how long that meant the boat ride would have to be. But we’d survived 31 hour bus rides so figured the boat would be a breeze. And it was. It was a wet, 5 hour breeze. Well I’d call it more of a strong wind actually. A wet, 5 hour strong wind.
Still, from our quaint little wooden boat we saw all manner of birds and wildlife including the macaw, some capybara and several parrots. The greenery changed colour and density the whole way and when we did eventually get there we found our beautifully tranquil lodges were set against a huge lake which was inhabited by monkeys. It really couldn’t get any better. Unless I suppose the monkeys were to fan us and feed us grapes. That would have been better.
We spent 3 days at the lodge, each day hiking in different directions. The night hikes were slow and incredibly scary due to the humongous spiders lurking at every corner. The day hikes were sweaty and, lets be honest, also quite scary for the same reason. We learnt about how trees in the Amazon grow extra branches into the ground in order to walk to the sunlight, we saw how each plant and fungus can effect jungle life for other animals and we ate some unimaginable fruit that we didn’t even know existed. There is a higher density of life in the Amazon than anywhere else in the world, and it’s noticeable.
The Amazon breathes.
We took rafts out on the lake, again both during the daytime and the nighttime, to see its many monkeys and caiman, both of which we managed to get surprisingly close to! And then we swam in the lake with not only the caiman, but also piranhas. But enough of this…
Yes, the Amazon is beautiful and yes, the Amazon is Amazing (which is probably why it’s called the ‘Amaz’-on no? Maybe) but I’d been travelling with something else beautiful and amazing for nearly 6 months now and up to this point it’s never had a blog dedicated to it’s beauty. And that’s Gemma.
How will Gemma take being referred to as a ‘something’ and an ‘it’? I don’t know. But I think it will frown.
“Gemma” I shouted as I ran into our hut “I’ve just seen something go down to the lake”
“What?” asked Gemma.
“I don’t know” I replied as convincingly as I could “but we should go and have a look.” Unfortunately, it wasn’t very convincing. In fact had there have been anything down by the lake, the amount of suspicious stalling from Gemma would have given it enough time to wait a while, maybe do a spot of fishing and then casually wander off…
When we did eventually get down to the lake, the sun was setting, there was no one around and I dropped to one knee.
“Señorita” I started. And then I went on to perform my whole massively rehearsed Spanish proposal speech to Gemma.
I wanted to tell Gemma that she is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I wanted to let her know how happy she makes me, and lastly, I wanted her to know quite how beautiful she is, not just in looks, but also as a person. Basically, I wanted to tell her that I think she’s Amazon-ing…
However, in our Spanish lessons we mainly learnt words that we’d need whilst travelling. Words that describe food and showers. And that’s why the speech was based largely around how ‘hot’ I think Gemma is.
“¿quieres casarte conmigo?” I ended. “Will you marry me?”
And Gemma said…
But in all honesty I can’t guarantee she even knew what I’d said.
I’ve given it some thought since I started writing this blog and I’ve decided that it doesn’t matter whether I’ve used the right words or not. I’m just glad I got to write the word ‘yes’ at the end.