Friday, 27 February 2015

Sweet Home Ayapua - by Tula Maxted

by Tula Maxted

All my ambitions, aspirations finally drawn together here. Everything  complete. Standing on the shore, stepping from the shore – over the gangway onto this incredible boat, on the most iconic river in the world. The dark turbid Amazon water rolled past – never ending. The boat ‘Ayapua’, Peace, restored with love, care, borrowed and cobbled parts. A resurrection of the spirit of those  ‘Rubber Boom’ days way back. I would live here for the next few weeks with all the gentle creaks and shifts as the full slow water ran beneath.  The hum of the engines, the smell of mud, plants and all the scent of the forest mingled here alongside the background of damp dust and moist air inside the cabin. My cabin, tiny, oddly shaped, home. Looking out over the rail I saw pink river dolphins playing, and playing to the crowd. Cavorting and diving. Their smiling jaws hoping for fish waste thrown out from the galley. I looked back inside the room. The captain’s desk, small trunk, and the walls… The walls! I realised with a quick jerk from reverie, the walls were ‘papered’, not with paper but with very old lace. Obvious really, silk lace, far more lasting in the tropics. Paper would just be reduced to a smear of mould in a few days. I could see then that the Amazon and all its component life forms were not the only important things I would be learning about . The Ayapua also had a history, and a mystery. All its contact-polished wood, black ironwork and burnished brass, all ready to explore. This trip was going to be rich in discovery on all levels.

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