Sunday, November 20, 2005

A day off

“Tomorrow, all of you in this group will be OFF and the rest of you OFF the next day” spouted Gordon, at our evening meal, update chat. Yippee! So now what? What do you do on a day off here? Go to the Mall…. nope, go out to eat…nope, visit friends…they are all here, so that’s out. What you do is go exploring, of course. Our little camp here is the main anchor point for a few surrounding spots. There is a lodge across the river and up a bit for a more secluded tour group. There is the “monkey camp” where a team of research people stay to study….well, monkeys. Then there are some things to see and a few trails to hike. Hmm, what to see? How about ELECTRIC EELS? How about 5foot eels with 500-volt output? Yep, that sounds good.

The river here is the lifeblood of the community. Until air travel, it was the only way in. But it has its dangers. Electric eels being one. These viper like voltage producers live in the fast water during the rainy season, then get stuck in the shallows when the water level drops. They are not electric all the time, I believe only when threatened. So John Miller asks, “what do they eat”…. batteries, of course, I replied.

A hike seemed like a good idea. So Steve, Jim, Neville and I set off on a walk to a waterfall. The hike was about 2 hours, round trip with a nice chat and snack at our stop. The waterfall was pretty uneventful, but the jungle was very interesting. When you think of a walk in the woods, you have a certain mental image. Most likely, the one you grew up around. A familiar picture. A few steps into the jungle and you quickly realize this is a very foreign land. The shapes, colors, size and scale are all different…your mind is confused. You know you are on a walk in the woods, but it’s not what you know. Ah the sense of adventure. Everything here seems giant. The palms, trees leaves, whatever. It’s really interesting. The best thing to me is the light. It’s very filtered from the canopy overhead, only a few shafts peek through from the blazing Sun. And then the noise, you become very aware that this place is one large composition of plant and animal all staking out a small piece, making their own sound, staking their turf, but all and all, living together as one large place—
The Amazon.


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