zondag 20 april 2014

Peter Matthiessen -- 21 april 1960

April 21. Timpia.
The padres are not ready to leave, and so we shall pass another day at Timpia. This will be the first place we have slept in more than one night since leaving Cuzco, and we have chosen the right place: Padre Daniel, with Brothers Ayesta and Ruiz, have been extremely hospitable and agreeable, and Ruiz has given us the first respectable meals we have eaten in twelve days. He has even contrived to make yuca presentable by slicing it very thin and frying the bejesus out of it.
Timpia is a village of about forty Machiguengas, high on a bluff overlooking the encuentro of the Timpia and Urubamba. The Indian huts, built up off the ground on poles, are actually derived from the style of the Piro Indians farther north: the excellent idea of the design is to keep the pigs, chickens, and four cows which roam the central yard from making themselves too much at home. The Indians grow yuca and bananas, and hunt and fish; they are civilized here, and the cushma has been largely replaced by calico and homespun. Our bogas with their cushmas and face marks, long hair, and striking weapons, stand out from the rest like wild flowers in a bed of vegetables.
The three lingered at Timpia for a day, restless and wary. They left this morning, guided upstream as far as the Pongo by Indians from the village. Andrés was happy to see them go. He has been sleeping a good deal and looks much better. Since we left Pangoa, he has told me two very interesting things: first of all, it appears that Ardiles and Julio took a liking to the small machete Andrés carries, and, having used it in the construction of the first balsa, suggested that they would like to keep it. When Andrés made a point of taking this as a joke, Ardiles inquired, not quite pleasantly, what Andrés wou if do if they kept it against his will. Andrés told them that he still knew how to shoot. Clearly, this statement displeased them, and he hastily explained that, in the jungle, a knife of any sort is a very personal thing, and that either to sell one or to give it away brings very bad luck to both parties. Both Ardiles and Julio were Indian enough to take this superstition seriously, and no more was said about it, but the incident did nothing to increase Andrés's peace of mind. [...]


Peter Matthiessen (1927-2014) was een Amerikaanse schrijver. Hij maakte een lange reis door Zuid-Amerika, waarvan hij verslag deed in The Cloud Forest (1961).

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