Wow how things have changed over the last week, up and down, round and round. So as you now know we have a new and improved team, and what a line up. Murilo has joined our team and it feels like it has been planned since the start, I don't mean that in some strange aligning of the planets way, I mean that it feels comfortable and normal. We have already introduced Murilo and he has also introduced himself so now you have three points of view, opinions and experiences heading your way.
So what about Murilo, well these are my first impressions. He is genuinely the first person that I would describe as an Eco Warrior, now before you start to picture a guy with dreadlocks eating falafel and releasing caged animals into the wilds of England, STOP. That is definitely not what I mean; I mean that Murilo has a calculated and intelligent point of view about the environment that he lives in. He has made this part of Peru his home and he can see the needs of the area and he can also see that there are huge tourist gains to be made; he just wants to see it done correctly. In one of our first meetings we sat at a restaurant and as we were ordering food I asked about trying Alligator, his response was simple, If everyone tried the alligator there would be none left, the only reason it is on the menu is for tourists and it isn't a sustainable food source. If people want to see the alligators then they should see them in the wild, not on a plate. It's a simple view but correct, it is only there for the tourists and it encourages poaching and bad hunting methods.
More impressive to me though was the next discussion as Murilo explained the difference between alligators, caiman and crocodiles and I mean at a physiological level with a knowledge of digestive systems and nutritional needs, he explained further that there are no alligators in Peru, they are all caiman, the habitat of each, the way that they attack their prey, his knowledge seems unlimited and best of all it is learnt from experience and a passion for understanding. I have other friends that work with animals and I would love for them to meet one day, I can imagine the amazing discussions that would be had if I gathered them all together and just supplied wine. You would expect this level of knowledge to come from a university education but that's far from the case, Murilo feels the need to apologise for his dyslexia which he struggles with, and yet I think he is one of the most educated people I have ever met. I could see him teaching his skills to a lecture hall full of zoologists and yet even then he would want to drag them into the jungle and show them what he really means.
I also love the fact that we all have similar views on everything we talk about, drug use, spiritual quests, tourist experiences, how to deal with people that take advantage of the needy, the mentality of western adolescent tourists. We have agreed in the most on everything we have discussed, the one small discrepancy came when we returned to his hostel. Everything had been going so well up until this point, he had made us the ultimate power food smoothie AND it was really nice, we had gone shopping for supplies and we returned with lots of stuff including the essential machete. We all went out for lunch together but in a restaurant that catered for the locals so it was a fraction of the cost and was much more authentic, however as we returned to the Hostel the cracks started to show. We walked through the door and upon realising the time Murilo became excited and extremely animated, he ran to the TV and switched it on, this was his biggest thrill of the day and he was going to share it with the both of us, his hero in action, Andy Murray. I'm not against sport, but I can't stand watching it, Tennis especially, the closest I can get to watching sport is my beloved St Helens Rugby League and no one wants to watch that with me in Cambridge. I would much rather go out and actually play sport, get involved and have a go, but apparently our dream team mate has a flaw, he loves his Tennis and he loves our Andy Murray, maybe he's got my portion of national pride.
This one small set back aside, what I like most though is that we all seem to see the common goal and we all have the same mentality to get to it. This attempt will be successful because of our drive to succeed and to do it well. I can imagine every different emotion and physical pain that we will go through, every criticism of each other, every argument and every inch of the river that we cover as we earn the right to say that we rowed it.