Needless to say but introduction to the world of selva would be incomplete without a session of partaking the «ayahuasca» - a famous hallucinogenic decoction made of the same name liana and a shrub named chacrun. This is one of the most ancient rituals of the Amazon tribes that is used for purification of body and mind. In the quechua language «aya» or «aia» means «soul», and «huasca» - «rope», i.e. rope of the soul or the rope that holds the soul. To describe the action of ayahuasca on a human being, they most oftenly use the term «treatment» or «purification». Ayahuasca penetrates the complete body in search of the different blocks – physical, emotional and mental. Externally the first effect of purification is manifested by vomiting and diarrhea. Ayahuasca can help a man to get relieved from different blocks, that are in fact – blocked energy, overcome one's fears and become aware of some underlying traces of own personality, as under its influence some portion of conscience is relieved that is usually suppressed by us, and the memory returns into the blocked or long forgotten episodes. In general it is the most interesting therapeutic practice, but for it you need the mood and certain inner preparation. It is better not to resort to ayahuasca just for no particular reason in search of kicks or idle curiosity. After a lecture of this kind, the people experienced more idle curiosity and decided to try.
In a couple of hours using the satellite communication we found a medicine man (shaman), his name was Florencio Quiros and he lived in a neighboring Indian village Infierno that means «Hell». It took him two more hours to get from Hell, and the hall of a local club – the most respectable in the vicinity barn - was chosen as the venue of execution.
Every participant of the event was seated on the mattress and received the two necessary for purification items – a toilet paper roll and a plastic bag. Just like that:
The medicine man crossed himself, poured half a glass of muddy brown liquid to each participant and started signing. At about half an hour his singing was added by groans and sounds of purification from the hall. The song, in mixture of Spanish and local Indian languages, called upon the power of selva plants and animals, the refrain contained the words about the «almighty medicine». Sometimes he smoked a pipe and touching the faces and heads of the most suffering ones he consoled them and removed anxiety. Purification effect exceeded all expectations. Next day when we were leaving that blessed area, and the medicine man turned out to be in our boat, just in case I sat down close to him so that he should not be treated as a princess by Stenka Razin.
What was the effect? After the session the night sky above us, that was presented to us by the selva, seemed to be a participant of hallucination. And when the unpleasant feelings of purification of the body left and the soul started to purify – the mind started to work like a TV set with faulty remote control; a storm or kaleidoscope of pictures, memories of the past, which were penetrated by selva creatures of all kinds, giant ants in combination with childhood friends, etc. You felt sleepy, but feared to closed the eyes. In general, the curiosity was satisfied, and the diarrhoea continued for the whole week.
Our local guide – Mercedes – came to breakfast a little bit pale and with sunken cheeks. In reply to my caring question, she narrated me the following story. Being a Christian she is afraid of the ceremony of ayahuasca as it contradicts her principles. But after our tourists have already come to the end of their ordeal, she came up to the medicine man and told him that for a complete week she had suffered from constipation and if he could help her body. The medicine man just puffed the smoke from his pipe into her face and she ran into the toilet and did not come out of it till breakfast. I don't know about you, but I was impressed. Immediately after that I ran to him with my broken camera, but the limit of miracles for that day might have already expired.
From the selva we got to Cusco, where, following the tourist traditions of search for non-tourist places, we headed for San Pedro (probably in honour of hallucinogenic cactus san-pedro, which, in absence of ayahuasca in the mountains, is sold here in abundance).
85 species of potato are cultivated in Peru (it is more than anywhere in the world) and 35 different species of corn. Here are some of them:
And these mummies of llama embryos at the entrance – are meant for sacrifice to Pachamama – Mother Earth:
Peruvian seafood (and cuisine in general) deserves a separate detailed talk:
Here you can buy frogs:
that are not aware of unpleasant surprises of the future:
And this is difficult to say what it is, that was either pulled up or torn away:
Curiosity is not encouraged here either:
There is a lamb here as well:
And generally the pictures are not meant for nervous people:
Bread with a man's face can also be found here:
And for subtle natures, annoyed by my nasty descriptions and pictures – here is a beautiful hummingbird under a romantic flower:
Then we started for the place, where all foreigners that come to Peru, strive for. Right you are! To Machu Picchu. In general the secret of actually interesting trips to Machu Picchu – is not to come there for one day (in fact it turns out for a couple of hours) in the train, overcrowded by Japanese and other Swedes, that goes from Cusco and back almost 4 hours, and to come to the neighbouring village Aguas Calientes the evening before, where the train comes, and in the morning take the first 6 o'clock bus to Machu Picchu.
And in the evening you can walk along the river and look at the pre-dawn mountains and clouds:
Or take a walk along the railway line and tunnel, hoping that there would be no more trains that day:
The following part will feature: Machu Picchu under and above the clouds, an attempt to catch a swordfish and what was the outcome, as well as sunsets, dawns, coconuts, sands, one vulture and a lot of collection crabs.