Sunday, January 18, 2009

Amazonian Adventure Pt. 2: Good Morning, Tarantula.

From The Trip, pt. 1: SF to Jungle
The next morning, I rolled out of the mosquito net face to face with a tarantula. I think I may have darted back under the net, but reassuring myself that tarantulas cannot hurl themselves through the air, I ducked back out careful to never turn my back on the giant furry thing. John got out and said, Oh! It´s shooting hairs! backing away, which made no sense to me but apparently he saw some show on which tarantulas fought off predators by rubbing their little legs together to shoot their hairs off.... After breakfast, we jumped in the motorized canoe again and blew past where we had been the night before up into a series of lakes, where we set up camp in a little cove. The guide had forgotten the tarp and was sure it would rain so he and his friend began constructing a shelter out of palm leaves and sharp branches stuck in the ground. I had no idea how useful machetes are! We helped a little bit but mostly got eaten by mosquitos. After a lunch of some kind of tuna stew with rice we went fishing, but maybe the fish could smell our fishy breath with suspicion because they were not biting. Well to be more accurate they were somehow managing to eat our catfish bait off the hook without eating the hook. Those wily piranhas. It was a little disappointing to not catch a piranha as promised but it might have been frightening to see them jump around the bottom of the boat. We went back to camp to get ready for sleeping under a mosquito net under a palm leaf shelter, then we went back out in Walter´s endless effort to catch us a caiman. The calls of nocturnal birds, the booming call of Amazonian bamboo rats, and various species of chirping frogs was altogether deafening. As we paddled through some floating vegetation a frog landed on my knee and rode there for awhile. Then a very large fish, over a foot long, followed suit and threw itself into the boat! I screamed a bit as it thrashed around but eventually it died and the guide said it would make a good breakfast (see John´s take on this event in ´His name was Breakfast´ below). Maybe the lake gods had decided to make up for the bad piranha fishing... After watching lightning flash beautifully on the horizon and seeing more lightning bugs floating on the black water that did not reflect the stars, I actually fell asleep in the boat as Walter would not quit until he found a caiman, but he eventually admitted defeat and we turned back. Once away from the gentle lull of the boat and in the mosquito net on the hard ground, we found it was pretty difficult to sleep in the jungle! The noise of the mosquitoes buzzing outside the net was worrisome. Giant ants somehow kept getting in, but we eventually got to sleep, eventually.
From The Trip, pt. 1: SF to Jungle

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