May 26, 2006
Remanso to Versalles Canoe Trip Day 7
I had a fantastic sleep last night in a nice, comfortable bed. Craig, Gabriel, and I got invited to the kitchen for breakfast. It occurred to us that all of our meals would be free here. We ate our fried bread and had a long cup of coffee, ready to see what the gauchos were up to.
Soon after, we heard some activity on the ranch. Ambrosia pulled his houseboat up to the cattle yard and attached it to a barge for transporting cows. Then Marcus and the rest of the cowboys started splitting the male cows from their mothers. About sixty head of cattle were slated to be transported up the river where they would be sold and slaughtered.
Once the cows were properly separated, the process of driving them onto the barge began. Slowly but surely, the cowboys poked and prodded until barge was filled with the young males. Then Ambrosia pulled up with another barge and the same process was performed for the females. Once both barges were ready, we said goodbye to Ambrosia, Marcus, and most of the rest of the crew as they took off up the river on the ship.
We got really lucky to arrive when we did. It was probably the most exciting day on the estancia in a long time. Seeing the cowboys in action is normally a big show for the tourists who are paying $100 per day to see it, but we got the real deal for free.
We spent the rest of the day relaxing, eating coconuts, and fishing. The estancia is an absolute paradise with one exception: The mosquitoes and sand flies continue to be horrendous. Even though I wore socks and repellent all day, my feet got covered with bites and were swollen and red. The itchiness never seems to go away with sand flies, either. It's just something I'm going to have to live with as long as I'm in the Amazon, I guess.
The photo entry for this album is here.