The Amazon: Giant Lily Pads & Giant Piles Of Bullshit.

This was the excursion at the edges of the rain forest that I had been looking forward to most. A lot of us had. We were going to view giant lily pads, located just up the river on the path to the Nativo Village we had previously visited.

We went down the same familiar canal towards Nativo, but ventured a little further. All in, the rickety boat ride only took about 10 minutes.  Similar to the village, we came to a high muddy bank and climbed up a little wooden slab put in place for ease. At the top of the muddy bank was beautiful greenery. It looked like a ranch with some trees.

Verdantly green. The sky was clear for the afternoon. The Sun was bright. It was peaceful. Gorgeous.

In the distance we saw an open field with a beautiful horse grazing...

And down a path was house...

And then there were the lily pads...

Hundreds of them. They were smaller than I had expected them to be.,, But they were indeed large.

However, they would not be able to hold our weight if we tried to step on them.

I had envisioned being able to sit on one and meditate. I don't know why I thought that would be possible.

Our guide explained to us how the lily pads were rooted together, and that the water they were lying in was different than the river's water.

They were pretty. But I actually preferred the view of the field and the animals.

There were also bulls grazing there.

We didn't want to get too close to them.  But I was able to get close enough to photograph them more clearly, capturing the serene picture...

I was momentarily feeling all "zen" and superior... Till my friend (who'd come with me from the States) pointed out that I was standing in something.

I looked down at my sneakers.

"It's just mud!" I said, pulling myself out of the large pile of gray-dried mud.

"Oh Heather," she said. "It's not..."

"IT'S MUD!" I insisted.

I laughed. The bull's excrement was so dried that it didn't actually leave much residue on my sneaker.

It was worth it.