Everyone should be aware that this is a tender port and the ship's sponsored tours are the first to have access to the tenders. We are elite members and this entitles us to priority tender disembarkation and this came in handy today, we were on the second tender. But if you do not have this perk be aware that you will probably not get ashore until around 945.
The heat and humidity hits you as soon as you board the tender - tip take the open air seats on the top of the tender, breeze is a necessity. As soon as we dock a band and dancers are welcoming us and so is Mario, yes the actual My Friend Mario along with his son who is going to be dropped off at his home along the way.
Mario gets us into his 4x4 and we are the only ones on the tour to the Embera Indian Village!! The village is about an hour away along a very very bumpy road. Be aware that if you have back problems this may not be the tour for you because of the roads alone.
We arrive at the drop off spot where we are greeted by a man dressed in very little! But Mario is obviously well known here and respected. We are led to a dug out canoe and given life jackets, near us a large tour has arrived (from a hotel) and there are about 25 in their group and they are loaded into one canoe! We have our canoe all to ourselves. We start heading off to the village on the lake only to have the one village members on the boat direct the driver of the boat to give us a bit of a tour of the beautiful lake. And off we go checking out the beautiful scenery. Note the other large group went directly to the village and didn't get this beautiful boat ride around the lake.
|here is the other tour group that was there with us, check out the crowds|
|Beautiful lake and jungle|
We land right near the big house where we are greeted by the locals and some musicians and lots of children who have just come back from school. They wear a school uniform at school but as soon as they arrive home they take it off and put on the local's costume (very little).
A mother with her beautiful baby. Mario is welcomed by so many of the locals and is obviously well known here. We later find out that Mario a few years ago assisted with a rescue and got hurt. The big house is where we are welcomed, it is huge!!! Apparently there was a fire here not that long ago and the whole place burned down and they just recently rebuilt it.
|one of the local girls|
Their homes are built on stilts which comes in handy when it rains. Their stairs are a log that has notches cut out, when the family goes to bed they lift up the log! Very interesting.
Here the women prepare a meal for all of us of fresh talapia and plantains. Check out the woman's outfit, her beaded halter top has heavy coins on it and is very beautiful.
This is their fire which comprises of three logs pointed inwards and as the fire burns they move the logs in.
One of the locals I started to chat with we later found out was the chief of all the Embera Indians. He is very young but very much respected. This village comprises of about 22 families and there are numerous villages around. They are live very basically, no running water, no electricity, no tvs, no radios. Mario said that they are very happy and just want to live their lives. In order to survive now because the government has caused numerous damages because of flooding of the lakes and restrictions on hunting have opened up their villages to tours.
This elder was offering henna type tattoos. I am game and he proceeds to do his art on my right wrist for a few dollars. The tattoo will last a few days and I am wear it proudly. Below is the same gentleman selling his items. We purchased the plate right in front of him and it is hanging in our kitchen.
|This little boy is relaxing in his hammock under his parents table.|
|here are their dug out canoes|
|one of Celebrity Ships makes it way into the Mia Flores locks|