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.