Monday, December 10, 2012

Amazon 4: In the Jungle Part 1

Okay, the amount of posts I have is getting ridiculous. Post 4, part 1? Haha. And 40 pictures in one post? Hot dang, this is too much. I will try and downsize. Okay, I cut out a few pictures, but there's still a lot. Sorry about that. So much good stuff! How could I get rid of any of it?

 Okay, I know it looks like I'm cutting down a tree in the rainforest, which sounds like a really awful thing to do. But the shelter we built will stand for like 10 years, said the guide. So it's something that's going to stick around. And get used a lot.
 Sturdiness test. It's sturdy enough for me. But when you attach 6 hammocks...things are different.

 Checking the height.
 We used the part of the tree where the branches come out (don't know the name of that part. I would call it the crotch, but it seems like there must be a better word), and then added extra security with jungle vines.
 Check out that home!!!
 Did you know you can start a fire with two batteries and steel wool? Part of the expedition was learning how to survive. So learning to make fire was part of it. Using batteries and steel wool sort of seemed like cheating (if I were surviving, what are the chances of steel wool and batteries coming up?), but it's how our native guide chose to start the fire. We challenged him to use the flint, and he made that work too. As far as making fire without tools, I guess I'm still in the dark.
 Good thing there weren't any food and safety people around. Washing chicken in the river... probably not the most sanitary thing ever.
 Using the water pump again. Our guides brought two 5 gallon jugs of water to our camp. But to our second camp we hiked for about 7 hours. We didn't bring those large jugs, because it would have been a little ridiculous, but I wonder, if we hadn't had our water pump, what would we have done? Not hiked?
 Super fun fact: we brought a gun for protection against really scary animals like jaguars! Just being somewhere where you need to bring a gun for protection (okay, our old house in Atlanta doesn't count) seemed very exotic to me. If we hadn't only had 3 bullets I might have protected myself from this giant beetle.
 Yum, dinner. Piranha stew and chicken.
 No one told us about the amazing variety of crazy looking fish (I mean, come on, look at the expression on his face!) we would find in the rivers. So when Toby caught this one, with just a piece of line and a hook, we were terrified. What a crazy fish! Doesn't his facial expression remind you of Eyore? It's like a big frown. Like he's saying: Well, I guess I got caught. Oh well.
 Toby wasn't excited or anything to have caught the largest fish of the trip so far.
 Large fish. Small guide.
 Unfortunately, this was not one of the nights we had to provide for ourselves, so this big ole guy got thrown back in.
 Okay, see what I mean about fishing with just a line? Brazilian fishermen crack me up. Just a line!
 Cachaca shots for dinner. And maybe to disinfect our stomachs.
 The bathroom.
 We went on a night tour and fish were jumping in the boat by the dozens (okay, maybe 10 total). I dont' know if it was the light or what, but seriously every other minute another fish jumped in.
 Time for bed! Bug spray it up!
 For about an hour while we were getting to sleep we were terrified the whole shelter was going to collapse. The guides said that it had happened before. One of us would get in and be fine, then the next person would get in their hammock and the first person would be sitting on the floor. Every time we added more weight we had to readjust the hammocks. Then when we were all about comfortable one of the larger branches that was holding us up snapped, so we all got up, fixed that, readjusted again, and finally slept.
 Fried bananas and coffee. What cracks me up about this is that our guide actually measured the coffee. In the middle of the jungle, I don't care how much coffee you put it, just throw some in!

 Check out that ant hill! Of course, again, our guide was really small, so he probably makes it look a lot bigger too.
 This fine specimen was called a Monkey Comb. Our guides said that when you hear the 'ooo-o-ooo, ee-ee-eee!' in the jungle it's the monkeys scratching themselves with these. Unfortunately I didn't hang on to one. Would have come in hand after all the bug bites.
 Speaking of bug bites. This is an ant...nest? Ant house? Ant shelter. Whatever. They said hey, put your hand on it, let the ants crawl all over you, then smush them all. They smell when you smush them and it acts as a bug repellent. We all did it, no ant bites (but still tons of bug bites, so maybe it was just a joke to see if the gringos would do it) but you had the horrible feeling that bugs were crawling all over you for a while afterwards.

Bamboo jungle whistles, incase we got lost.

And the last thing. So because it was survival they taught us how to find food. Food being grubs. They live inside these certain coconuts and you get them out and eat them. They tasted sort of coconut-y. Which was I guess pleasant. I could think of worse things to eat if I were starving.

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