When a New Yorker is dropped in the middle of the Amazon and only eats fruit and yucca for weeks, the temptation to eat adorable animals becomes unavoidable. So says Redditor and UWS resident Aaron, who posted photos of his journey to Peru to prove that he in fact "begrudgingly ate such natural wonders as armadillo, turtle, crocodile, toucan," and yes, "a f*cking sloth." He describes the taste as "one of the few absolutely disgusting animals we ate. It was really, really tough, and there really wasn't that much meat." Also, the sloth in the photo above holding a human hand (not Aaron's) is alive, but wouldn't be for much longer.
Aaron told us that the trip he went on three years ago was vastly different than what he had planned on. "I'm a composer, and I became friends with this director who invited me to Peru. He told me I'd just have to pay for airfare, so I took him up on it." Aaron says the plan was to go to Iquitos, a relatively bustling town of 400K. The group of travelers, who he described as a "rag tag bunch of white dudes," ended up only spending a single night there. After a 20-hour boat ride to Pévas, and another hour or so by canoe, the group landed in the tiny port village of Ampiyacu.
"The chief and his sons and these other two women loved us, but most of the village didn't seem happy we were there," Aaron says. "It's not that we felt unwelcome, but you go to touristy places, you go to local places, and then you go to places that you're like an anthropologist. It was a completely different culture."
After eating nothing but yucca and fruit "which literally fell off the trees, everywhere," the group hungered for more substantive sustenance, but had to hunt for it themselves, which means the tastier varieties seemed out of reach. "There were packs of boars, you could smell them, but the one time we encountered one this Brazilian guy we were with told me to run. He was legit, so if he runs, I'm running," Aaron says. "We ate what white dudes in the Amazon could catch."
Aaron personally never killed any of the animals, and the only one he caught was the turtle. "The villagers were making fun of me for catching it. They'd put it down, and leave it in the same place, then come back and grab it and say, 'Hey, look! I caught a turtle.' It tasted truly revolting." Crocodile was much more palatable: "It was definitely the tastiest. Somewhere between chicken and shrimp."
The village was so remote that what was supposed to be a two-week trip turned into a month, after Aaron missed his flight because there were no boats. Aaron says he ended up telling members of the Peruvian military that he was a doctor, so he could get a lift to a port with a guaranteed ride. "That was the luckiest thing. I dunno if they bought it or not, but we got out."
The sloth Aaron ate isn't endangered, and apparently eating sloth isn't unheard of, but doesn't he feel terrible that he ate such an adorably slow animal? "I can't rebut the cute animal part, but I did come away having a different appreciation for the fact that we're so disconnected from what we eat. In New York people love their foie gras, and their veal, but you don't have to look at the cute animal or the tortured animal."
Here's hoping Kristen Bell doesn't see this article.