Thursday, 25 April 2013


Road to Chincherro - High Andes - Giles Crosse
Contemplation - Giles Crosse
Balcon de Inca - Giles Crosse
Inca ruins - Giles Crosse
Symmetry - Giles Crosse
Snowy mountains - elevation 3500 metres - Giles Crosse
Wovens - Giles Crosse 
Belleza natural -Giles Crosse

Monday, 22 April 2013

Cusco is a beautiful place...

Cusco Plaza - Giles Crosse 
Cusco - Giles Crosse
Giles Crosse 
Giles Crosse
Giles Crosse
Giles Crosse 

Friday, 19 April 2013

A line in the sand, reflecting stars...

Giles Crosse
The man awoke at dawn. His gaze was distant. He carried many wounds. Shuffling, his steps left few marks in the dust, his feet pale and coarse in the silence.

Memory tells nothing of how or where he walked. Lifetimes suspended in moment. Paths converging, least expected, narrowed with pain.

Years revolve. Following these marks, tracing a line in the sand. Past and future. Tomorrow's worlds rise to challenge our ghosts. Judgements both weak and timid in the morning light. Healing so selfish it burns and destroys.

Daring to dream, which second echoes a lifetime? Whose rules do we follow, words do we trust? Which guide mirrors our way to the light?

I turn, cast my eyes to the sky. Start walking. Every journey has an ending. Every end has its price. Fears etch the river to cleansing my soul.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Day 22 - Scorched Beauty


Puerto Viejo
Giles Crosse
Giles Crosse

Giles Crosse

Giles Crosse
Giles Crosse

Day 21 - VIDEO


Don't miss my amazing interview with Fauna Forever's Founder Chris Kirkby on Ecotourism in the Madre de Dios region of Peru!!!

Monday, 15 April 2013

Day 20 - Obelisk


Located in the centre of Puerto Maldonado is the Obelisk... This structure was apparently created around the year 2000 for the millenium and stands as a testament to biodiversity in the Amazon.

In many global guides however its claim to fame is otherwise known, apparently it is the fifth ugliest building on the planet.

Ugly it may be, but after climbing the Obelisk's myriad stairs something of a treat awaits you at the top...

Sunset over Puerto Maldonado - Giles Crosse

The sprawling, unkempt vista stretching to the horizon is quite something. At ground level, and certainly in the Plaza, Maldonado is an interesting and endearing place.

But from up here a range of concrete blocks, empty shells, corrugated iron roofs and shanty dwellings loom off into the horizon. Distant fires flare as night falls and inhabitants start to burn the days rubbish. Smoke drifts up from across the city and catches in the setting sun. Humanity's impacts on the world around us have rarely been so easy to see and so naked or harsh.

Maldonado from above - Giles Crosse

Then again, there is plenty of rainforest still visible around Maldonado. There are no hills as far as the eye can see, the horizon is flushed with green canopies and there is something refreshing about this.

Maldonado sunset - Giles Crosse
Glancing down over the mass of humanity evokes some strange emotions. In many ways the city almost feels like a cancer, infecting and spreading into the surrounding forest. Prostitutes here earn more than in any other part of Peru, and are sometimes paid in gold for their services, as single miners return from the forest with the precious ore and spend their dues on women and alcohol.

Giles Crosse

What is the future for this city? Presently there are far too few schools here, which open from 7:30am to 1:30pm. There is a new basketball stadium being built. Cocaine use, presently relatively limited, is likely to rise to similar levels as in nearby Cusco or Lima.

How far into the surrounding forest will the city spread. What lessons can be learned about how best to manage this? In many ways this city is no different to many others springing up across the world, where ordinary, decent people seek education, healthcare, a place to make a living and secure a future for their children.

Giles Crosse

There is no such thing as simple development, simple conservation or a simple human being. The future for Maldonado will most likely be defined by cash, the rush for a better standard of living, and the natural heritage of this part of the world may well suffer in this race. Lessons from the past might be well applied here, but is it really so simple to criticise those who merely seek a similar sense of life and opportunity to that experienced by this particular reporter?

The complexities facing our planet as a whole are well illuminated in the Maldonado sunset.

Giles Crosse


Sunday, 14 April 2013

Day 17 - warfare

Pitched battle...

I've always been fascinated by how opposing viewpoints and visions can offer us a very different perspective on the world and our role in it.

Carretera Tambopata - ground's eye view - Giles Crosse

When we look at things from a viewpoint that's beyond the norm, we can often perceive new ideas, thoughts and concepts. A lot of the best ideas on ways to meaningfully live, think, evolve and contribute can stem from very simple ways of stepping outside our routine normality.

Life and Death - Giles Crosse
There is an equally huge amount to be learned from simple observations of everyday life. While I was checking the email, the ant above wandered into a spiders web. This was not without some sense of irony, as I actually had tried to redirect the ant as he was heading directly towards my bed!

Within moments, two spiders descended from underneath my bed in Fauna Forever HQ. I've always been intrigued and mildly repulsed by how spiders kill their prey. I'm no expert, but I believe they inject a paralysing toxin which then liquifies the unfortunate victim. It seems a pretty gruesome way to go.

You may be able to imagine the vigour with which the ant struggled to set itself free...

Life and Death 2 - Giles Crosse
This struggle continued for a fair few minutes...

Life and Death 3 - Giles Crosse
Eventually, the ant actually managed to extricate itself and stumbled off in the direction of the window. Nothing has been seen of it since so I guess it's fair to assume he's made a getaway.

There's a remarkable similarity between the fate of ant, and how we ourselves can become ensnared in patterns of work and consumption which may actually do us very few favours.

Not many people stop to consider whether they chose to work a 9 to 5 pattern. Yet this pattern makes up the vast percentage of our lives. It seems bizarre that we often spend huge proportions of our lives conforming to rules and regulations we had no hand in making. A lot of people seem unhappy in their daily lives, yet few seem able to step outside the cultural boundaries of work and consumption that are set up for them.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with working 9 - 5, Mon to Fri, and spending all your wages on consumer goods if that is what you want to do. But to accept these patterns are realities without question or reason seems illogical. In some ways the less we use and the less we have the less we would need to work. The more time we would  have to spend with our families, outdoors, relaxing, sleeping or whatever we choose.

It may be the societal net we've developed in Western societies is equally as damaging as any spider's web.

Day 18 - Hawk Moth

Hawk Moths...

This remarkable little fellow was spotted outside the Fauna Forever HQ last night. I am not absolutely certain about this, but I believe him to be a Hawk Moth type caterpillar.

Either way as you can see from the picture he is absolutely massive. There are some pretty amazing species of caterpillar lurking out here in the Amazon.

As it turns out, a caterpillar is actually one of the main things you want to avoid touching, as many hide a nasty bite, sting, furry hostilities of all kinds. Indeed, if you consider the plight of a caterpillar, ambling about in a bid to eat as much as possible before being eaten by far more agile predators, then the need for some serious deterrents becomes a bit of  no brainer.

What was very interesting was the reaction of children to this little character. The kids were absolutely amazed and delighted by his antics. This goes a long way towards illustrating that despite our modern obsessions of video games and TV culture, there is still a lot that nature can do to teach and inspire.

Indeed, beautiful creatures can evoke and inspire far more meaningful and positive interactions with the world than days in front of the TV, although tele undoubtedly does have a role to play in education, news sharing and a wider global debate.

In any case, it was nice to see kids interacting with amazement and fun at a very simple, beautiful creature.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Day 16 - Puerto Viejo

Puerto Viejo, Giles Crosse

Puerto Viejo is the older area of Maldonano down by the river floodplain. The area often floods apparently. The vast majority of people here are living in relatively shanty accomodation, corrugated iron shacks, billboards, most things are put to some use in the bid to create a home.

Puerto Viejo, Giles Crosse

The people here smile, dance, greet you joyfully and seem incredibly cheerful and positive amid some difficult living conditions. Then again there was news of a shooting the other week where a gold miner was gunned down, apparently due to a tip off concerned a large amount of gold they were carrying. So the area certainly retains its dangerous side.

Puerto Viejo, Giles Crosse

And finally, a cool dude that was lurking in the windowsill....

Giles Crosse

Day 16 - recovery


Apologies for the distinct lack of posts recently. I have had a pretty rough bacterial stomach infection, probably most likely equivalent to the Norovirus in the UK.

This manifests itself in a number of ways - namely constant diarrhea and vomiting. This makes it impossible to eat or keep any water down, which leads to a lot of dehydration and a lot of heartache and weakness.

It's an amazing example of how our guts are accustomed to certain types of bacteria, and hence when you upset the natural balance of this you are likely to be in for a pounding.

That said, after supplying a sample to the local clinic the doctora estimated that I had a nasty bacterial infection, that is to say it wasn't just the difference in where I was, it was the difference in where I was and I had eaten something truly stomach busting.

Antibiotics - 500mg - Giles Crosse

These antibiotics are tough fellows and hit you for six...

Probiotics - some 10 million bacteria - Giles Crosse

It's also a good idea to get some rehydration solution down you pronto...

Suero oral. Don't leave home without it. Giles Crosse

However, it was only possible to get this lot down me after two litres of rehydration fluids, anti emetics and antibiotics via IV drip at the local clinic. It's an astonishing reminder of just how potent stomach illnesses can be and a good illustration of how quickly dehydration can set in.

The locals here are highly experienced at diagnosing and dealing with dehydration, as they might well be given the weather conditions and the humidity. It is categorically not like England.

So back to normal service now with a bit of luck, more pics forthcoming, blogs, heading upriver soon, lots been happening so keep you updated.

A little illness goes a long way towards developing a sense of peace and humility. Certainly in the UK it is easy to forget just how luxurious let alone how foreign the concept of a national health service is to the vast majority of people on this planet.

Maybe rather than excerbating a global arms race, Nation States might be far better advised to look at the metrics and the realities of healthcare within their territories. After all, health is the ultimate bottom line that levels rich, poor, clever, stupid, weak or strong. We all share a fundamental human need for kindness and care when we are ill.

Maybe investigating this further could help us see what it is that binds us together, rather than separates us.