The world from above: Amazonia

Over the years, as flying became less an event and more a frequent occurrence, my seat-choosing preferences changed, from “always window” to “you know what, I’d rather have aisle”. However, there are exceptions. There are places – Greenland, the Putorana Plateau in northern Siberia, the Sahara desert to name but a few – that I’ve since long dreamed to see and, in the impossibility to go there, admiring them from up above is my next best option. In those cases, window seat it is.
The Amazon forest is one of such places.
The plan seemed good enough: we would bisect the rainforest in its western corner, and it’d be a daytime flight; as usual , however, things got in the way. Namely, haze and clouds – which, in a rain forest, I suspect are to be expected.
First were the highlands of Venezuela, looking alas deceptively lush and prosperous.

Then, it was the turn of the rainforest. Sunlight bounced off an invisible, but definitely thick, layer of humidity, making my pictures absolutely rubbish, but the satisfaction of being there more than made up for it. A small river, too unimportant to feature into the plane’s moving map, wriggled about between the tree canopy. I could see a tiny opening in the jungle: did anybody live there? Who were they? Could they see us, moving about in their portion of the sky? What did they make of our presence there?

The jungle continued, uninterrupted and seemingly endless, a distant hazy view rolling beneath our metal fuselage. A glance on the moving map told that we were above the Amazonas, the Amazon river. It was then at the beginning of his long journey and yet it already looked enormous. Clouds got in the way until the very last moment, and all I could see of it is a view in the distance, far off. Still, enough.

The sun wend down over the forest and everything changed. The Andes cordillera sprouted up, seemingly out of nowhere, with their corollary of glaciers, closing in the jungle in its basin; behind the mountains, now, it was all desert until the Pacific.

This entry was posted in Americas, Brazil, Peru, The pleasure of flying, The world from above and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to The world from above: Amazonia

  1. LaVagabonde says:

    I’m usually an aisle person too, nowadays, but, like you, I needed a window seat for Easter Island. Some guy tried to guilt me into giving it to him – him and his wife got aisle seats across from each other, but it wasn’t close enough to her for his sake. Or so he said. I had noticed that they sat way apart from in the airport and barely spoke. I refused, of course. 😀
    Awesome images. I love the snakey river one, especially.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lexklein says:

      I am usually a bitch about giving up my seat, so I love that you said “I refused, of course.” Haha.

      Liked by 1 person

    • awtytravels says:

      It’s rare for me to choose where I can sit, and normally I’m the one asked to move and go somewhere else, but I’d have been like you had I been in your shoes. In facts, come think of it, the only time I argued with a cabin crew was because of views from the window…


  2. lexklein says:

    I am still 99% of the time a window person, and your photos – hazy and indistinct as they are – are totally thrilling to me. At the risk of sounding really weird, I actually got goosebumps looking at the wriggling river in the dense trees – I felt I was there! in the Amazon jungle! I think I remember another post of yours about the thrill of looking down from an airplane window; like you, I generally feel that is part of the fun. My biggest disappointment was snaring a window seat on the correct side to fly over Mount Everest and then my plane broke down and instead of flying over at mid-day, I flew hours later in the dark and saw nothing. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • awtytravels says:

      Hi Lexi, thanks for your comment! And don’t worry, you’re not weird. I tried to entice some sort of excitement out of the senior cabin crew on the flight at the sight of the Amazon and I got back that look that says “mmmh, I hope I remember where the restraint kit is”… fail.
      Sad to hear about your Everest disappointment; I once flew to Vancouver over a weekend, Economy both ways, hoping for a glimpse of Greenland, and in both way they had fog or clouds around the entire bloody thing! I did 3 days without a shower, or sleeping in a bed, and didn’t even get to see a single iceberg.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved this post! This is exactly the kind of thoughts I had in my head when we flew to Iguazu falls 2 years ago, on the border of Brazil and Argentina. It was jungle and the rivers were brown and snaked far into the horizon. It wasn’t the Amazon, but as close as I’ve ever been 🙂 Thanks for making me daydream!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Anna says:

    Flying over the Amazon is epic isn’t it? All that forest, the immensity of the river… Loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have yet to pass the Equator but your photos brought to mind my only intercontinental air passage. It was Frankfurt to Los Angeles. (Well not the only one, I came back too.) I wasn’t thinking, at all, so I halfway expected to cross London and then New York in a somewhat straight line across the globe. We were watching a film when I noticed sheep deep down below. They looked like sheep. If not sheep, some wicked white mountains. I was thinking what continent lies between Great Britain and New York, but then the film ended and they plopped the map on the screens. I was amazed to see how up north we were, passing Greenland or something, and then I realised that the sheep were actually icebergs. For some reason this changed everything.

    Liked by 1 person

    • awtytravels says:

      These kinds of discoveries are the reasons why I adore flying. I, too, was surprised to see how North you fly when you go transatlantic, until a friend did remind me, using a tangerine and a piece of string, that Earth ain’t flat. From up there you can also see that frontiers aren’t really visible, and find lots of cool stuff. Thanks for sharing this story Manja, doesn’t it make you want to see more things like this again?

      Liked by 1 person

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