Indigenous People Of The Amazon

When Columbus discovered America historians say that there were ten million Indians living in the Amazonia rainforest. Today there are less than 200,000 divided into 200 indigenous groups speaking 180 different languages. The rainforest remained almost untouched by western culture until the first half of the last century. That is when I moved my family to the Peruvian jungle in 1954 to live and work with the Aguaruna Indians. We raised our four children with a tribe of Jivaro Indians which at that time were as primitive as they had ever been in the thousands of years of their existence.

Jivaro Indians are divided into four tribes. Two tribes, the Waorani and Shuar, are in Ecuador and the Aguaruna and Huambisa inhabit the tropical forest of Peru. Those four tribes are the only cultures in the entire world who practiced the custom of shrinking human heads. My neighbors were headhunters.

I don't suppose there is another person living today, besides me, who has ever seen a shrunken head hanging from the thatched ceiling of an Indian home. That macabre practice was outlawed in the early part of the 20th century. The law did not forbid the tribe from taking heads. It was designed to stop the traffic in shrunken heads. Laws passed by the legislature in Peru or Ecuador did not apply to the Jivaro Indians and did not curb the demand.

In 1956 museums were paying upwards of $1000 in Lima for a legitimate shrunken head. The going price in my neighborhood was $100 - the value of a new shotgun. That was a fabulous sum for the Indians. A tsantsa was worth too much to keep it hanging from the ceiling in their house.

In the jungle there was no law against killing your enemies. There was no law against killing five missionaries on the banks of the Curaray River in Ecuador. And there was no law against our Indians killing my family on the banks of the Marañon River in Peru. Me and my family were intruders and my neighbors had every right to kill us for the slightest provocation. I lived every day with that realization.

Murder was the Indian's way of righting wrongs and dealing with their enemies in a culture where there were no laws, no courts, no judges, no police and no jails. Killing served a purpose in that indigenous culture. Most Aguaruna men had seven or eight wives and a family would soon have forty or fifty babies. They weren't going to raise all those kids. The Aguaruna fathers chose which children would live much like a farmer culls his chickens and keeps only the best of his brood. In the years I lived with the Aguaruna I never saw a blind, a deaf, a dumb, a crippled or a retarded Aguaruna. Why? Because babies who were born with disabilities or abnormalities were murdered. The mother never took those children home from the birthing site.

I never met a Waorani Indian or anyone from most of the other 200 tribes in the Amazon. But I lived with the Aguaruna tribe and learned how they lived untouched by civilization and uncontrolled by civil law. If you met an Aguaruna Indian today he would be insulted if you told him his grandfather was a headhunter and a polygamist who had killed several of his own children. I know differently. I have been in the homes of several grandfathers like I have described. I could call some of them by name.

The entire population of the Amazon basin today has been expanded into three groups: Indigenous, Mestizo and Developers. In future articles I want you to see how the Peruvian indigenous Indians are faring today and how they are coping with encroaching civilization. The jungle I visited recently is far different from the jungle I lived in nearly sixty years ago.

Harry Flinner is a retired missionary of the Church of the Nazarene who spent several years living and working with the Aguaruna tribe of Jivaro Indians in the Peruvian Amazon. He established his mission on the Marañon River in the early 1950s when the Amazon rainforest was virtually untouched by civilization.
Harry Flinner is a graduate of Asbury University, The Alliance Graduate School of Missions and BIOLA School of Missionary Medicine. He has done graduate work in Linguistics and Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Kentucky.

My website is not political. I have no cause to defend.
I simply want to inform and stimulate interest in Amazonia

The Cultural Influence of Gypsies and Traveling Wanderers on Modern Guided Vacations

Gypsies are traveling wanderers. Knowledgeable from their journeys they learn secrets and stories destinations and culture and are able to share this information with travelers seeking enlightening destination experiences. Most gypsies spend years wandering to unknown and undiscovered regions that experienced travelers will avoid. What the traveling gypsies are in search of is a secret - secrets only they share with their nomadic network of companions and followers. What they learn throughout their adventure is the secret of joy, laughter, follies and wisdom - the knowledge that comes from experiencing the journey itself and not the destination. Theirs is the story of the journey, not the destination. The path to seek within the world and inside of ourselves. With their magical and mysterious demeanor, traveling gypsies know the secrets of some of the world's most admired and destitute locations. By absorbing the spirit of the surrounding terrain they feel the combination of the four elements in a spiritual battle of mind over matter. It's their method of understanding the world's natural mysteries. Oh traveling gypsies - if only they would come to the light and share their secrets! As history transitions to the present, the inner desire to experience the new still lingers.
As Roxy Freeman notes in the Guardan, the idyllic life of the gypsy produces a need for wander and adventure that inspires many. With this in mind, companies have taken the journey of the gypsy and used it as a model to develop controlled adventure vacations. These are new forms of vacation - now called the guided vacation. An adventurous vacation where storytellers study the history and culture of the land and share their knowledge with curious travelers interested in new experiences. The guided vacation trades the mystery of the gypsy for luxury and knowledge underneath the guise of an expedition tour led by storytellers (adventure guides). It's a comprehensive destination package experience. This is the story behind the guided vacation - a new form of adventure where we embrace and share the knowledge of the secret wonders of the world.
Natural mysteries come to light: The modern guided vacation.
The natural mysteries of each destination comes to light through the illuminating stories of adventure storytellers and destination travel hosts.
One of the most recent guided vacations is Adventures by Disney. Adventures by Disney offers family vacations in global destinations. Each adventure is accompanied by a trained Disney travel host who shares stories of the regions history. Guests travel on a 7-9 Day group adventure to some of the most exciting locations in the world. Another innovative guided vacation is the private plane tour. A guided vacation similar in concept however the ingenuity comes into play by trading traditional airline flights, cruise ships and even bus tours by transporting guests to different destinations by private planes. The gypsy and wander travel inspiration is seen by the use of destination and travel hosts who share the culture and history of each destination.
Mauiva AirCruise is a vacation tour company offering affordable private plane tours via hassle-free private air flights and private airports. Guests travel to top destinations and enjoy fun-filled attractions, 3.5 or 4 star hotels, meals and more. The Author enjoys informing people about ingenious forms of vacations to encourage others to travel the world, engage in new experiences and dissolve cultural barriers.

Halloween Fest in Orlando

The annual Halloween Fest drives in great fun and entertainment opportunities in Orlando during October. Orlando's world famous theme parks are host to some of the premier Halloween events and shows that can create the most lasting impact on your vacation at this time of the year. Whether it's the SeaWorld's not at all spooky or 'Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party' at Disney World to the most intense and scariest 'Halloween Horror Nights' event at the Universal Studios, Orlando has it all. Each of these events run throughout the month and it is better to do an advance planning to attend any or all of them for the ultimate Halloween experience.
If you are visiting with kids then 'Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party' at Magic Kingdom is a wonderful option to experience your most memorable Halloween Holiday. This spooky but still fun and not so scary Halloween adventure runs from September through November. The incredible Halloween Party provides equal fun and entertainment both to the adults and the kids. You as well as your child can enjoy the magic of this special Disney event, wearing favorite Halloween costumes and go Trick or Treating. The event is also marked with many special entertainments, including exclusive Halloween Parades, Disney characters with special costumes and more. Admission for the event is not included in regular Disney Tickets. One has to pay extra fee to attend the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.
If you have decided to make your Halloween experience go more intense and scary then the best way to do so is by attending -the 'Halloween Horror Nights' event at Universal Studios Orlando. Universal's Halloween Horror Nights is the only place to experience the best of the fear and terror real-time. Only the scariest of the few could match the horrors that prevail at this premier Halloween event. During the event the entire park transforms into a nightmarish maze with a deadly array of haunted mazes, bloodcurdling scar zones and terrifying live shows. The event is celebrated throughout the month of October and it is not for children. Also like Disney, admission to this special Halloween event is not included in your regular Universal Tickets as you have to pay extra fee for it.
The Halloween Spooktacular Event at SeaWorld Orlando is another must visit family-friendly attraction that runs through October. The event brings in a sea of Halloween fun, where your kids can go trick-or-treat, shake their hips with whimsical sea creatures, go a little spooky with not so scary marine shows or get engaged in some sea-themed arts and crafts. This is a free event and is included on any SeaWorld Ticket.

A Fantastic Family Safari in Botswana

A Family Safari in Botswana will Astonish and Amaze
Beautiful Botswana is the ideal place to take a family safari vacation. This fascinating country in southern Africa spans an area of 600,370km2. As approximately three quarters of Botswana is covered by the Kalahari Desert, its human population is very small. However, the country is filled with many interesting species of birds and animals. In the grasslands and savannahs, blue wildebeests, antelopes, porcupines, ground squirrels, dwarf mongooses, springboks and endangered African wild dogs roam free. Over the sandy red terrain of the Kalahari National Park walk lions, warthogs, cheetahs, leopards, giraffes and jackals. Guided tours via jeeps get you close to the wildlife, enabling your family to snap a magnificent gallery of pictures. However, if your family is more interested in landscape photography, the diverse terrain in Botswana will fill a photo album with wonderful pictures of this unspoiled wilderness. The sensational sights on a Botswana family safari will stay with parents and children forever.
Introduce Your Family to the Delights of the Okavango Delta
Known as the jewel of the Kalahari, the Okavango Delta, located deep inside the Kalahari Basin, is an emerald and azure paradise of winding waterways, palm lined islands and dense woodland. Changing in size depending on the volume of floodwater from 6,000 to 15,000 km2, the Okavango Delta is split into three key areas, which are the Delta, the Panhandle and the dryland. Among the diverse species of animals found in the Okavango Delta are hippos, crocodiles, duikers, reedbucks, lions, giraffes, elephants, caracals and rhinos. Birdlife include egrets, giant Pel's fishing owls, rare wattled cranes and lofty ostriches. On your family safari trip to the Okavango Delta you can see the wildlife and take in the varied terrain by foot, jeep, powerboat, canoe or horseback.
See the Delta on Horseback during Your Safari in Botswana
If your family wants to experience the Okavango Delta and other parts of Botswana from a different perspective, consider saddling up for a riding safari. On horseback you can wade across glittering waterways, encircle glimmering lagoons, view game upon the plains and spot the red and blue flash of a darting kingfisher in the woodlands. Your horse will step around slow moving Kalahari tent tortoises, walk under vivid crimson breasted shrikes perched on acacia branches and carry you within close proximity of the ubiquitous bat eared foxes upon the shrub. Parents and children alike will revel in the experience of a riding family safari and form a special bond with their equine friend.