Sad farewells

Boys with Nikki.

Somewhere on the deep, dark expanses of the Amazon tonight floats a hat that has seen the Pyramids, the little enamelled kingfisher bought in the Lake District glinting gently in the moonlight.

Our day started with a wistful goodbye to the wonderful Nikki from Melbourne who has been our companion for the last few days. And then we were off downriver. The Amazon jungle put on a final display of hawks, herons and butterflies as the river gradually widened out in front of us. We saw more and more people as we approached the lower Lodge; although it says something about our last few days when seeing two locals fishing from a canoe feels like a crowd.

Last photo at the Research Centre.

After lunch at the Lodge we set off again, this time for Iquitos. The event which will ever-after be known as “the hat tragedy” occurred just as we turned onto the Amazon proper and went up to full speed. The wind whipped around us and in a flash Declan’s hat disappeared behind us. He was, understandably, very upset: “That hat represents so many memories!” Dec was right, in a world where our possessions are what we have in our backpack the boys’ hats have been a constant companion, the stains and scratches reminders of visits and experiences. We’re all a bit bereft to have lost one.

The last photo of Dec's hat.

Anyway, we were moving at speed and soon arrived in the turmoil of Iquitos. After the calm of the upper Amazon, Iquitos was like being hit in the face with a hot, damp, ugly, noisy brick. It was frankly a relief to get to the airport and catch our plane back to Lima.

We had a wonderful time in the Amazon and, although I’m looking forward to cooler, drier weather and warm showers, we’ll miss the place.

Our Amazon adventure may be over; but, somewhere out on that amazing river, Declan’s hat ventures on.

2 thoughts on “Sad farewells

  1. Missing you all already! I will be on the look out for Declan’s hat as I travel back to Iquitos tomorrow. Tell him that I will check to see if Dorilla is wearing it! Love to the family. N

  2. My first thought about the hat went back a couple of generations. We have a photo somewhere of a tow year old – or so – in headgear that was always called “The Bommet” I am not at all sure how it evaded an immediate alert and rigourous search, but it vanished. At a later stage it was family lore that it been in the woolshed when last seen. In the context it could well heve got itself involved in a fleece.If it was invisible at that stage it would easily have landed under that fleece as it was packed tidily into a woolbale, pressed, compressed and eventually imprisoned behind stitches in sacking. Some unnappreciative vandal probably discarded it with an imprecation against country hicks who got themselves paid for the wrong merchandise.

    Forward in time I do not know how many pocket knives of the folding style I bought through the years with Christmas money from Mum’s nominally pacifist aunt. One of them vanished, I decided, as I walked a particular 100m stretch in one of the home paddocks in a dry year. It could have fallen down a crack. It was that sort of year. It was white on the outside and I felt injured enough to walk that bit many time with eyes wide open – including long after I knew, really, that I was much too late. Then of course I remember a pair, I think, of much prized ear rings that got left on a Teal plane in NZ. There was a conflict here in values. I am not sure if an identical replacement existed. It certainly was not instantly available. The beauty in the eye of the particular beholder would not have been shared by a jeweller.

    The message to Declan is that everyone eventually acquires a story that fits with the rest. I think the best advice is that every post can be used somehow as a winning post. Sooner or later you may have an essay to write with a title concerning the life story of a hat, or fantasy concerning its later history. You may even “just” use it as a mournful chapter when you come to write a book of your travels. In the meantime you can be sure that the record here will have stirred sympathy in many readers.

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