|The facts tend to boggle the noggin.|
Now, in this river environment are more species of swimming, climbing, flying, crawling, and creeping 'thingies' then anywhere else on the planet. Hold on to your scientific shorts with these figures (and don't forget new species are being found all the time): 30 million species of insects (one tree had 700 different species of beetles), 2200 species of fish, 700 species of mammals, 750 species of reptiles, 1830 species of birds, 55,000 species of plants and in reality nearly 2/3 of the entire planet's species reside in or along the Amazon.
By the time our fellow adventurers read this blog, these numbers will have surely increased!
Now, this makes the Amazon also a very dangerous place to reside, or dare we say, to travel.
Enough of the background.
|Rustic and Charming|
|They had the essentials on hand, to be sure.|
Breakfast was served, lunch was served, and dinner was served with the local products the jungle provides: fish, rice, fruit and other delights.
Actually, the lodge was rather charming and reminiscent of Hollywood films playing out in the hinterlands of the rainforest: rustic, primitive, hot, humid, and isolated.
|Dr. Moreau and Mini-me?|
It was rumored Dr. Moreau was to be said doing experiments in the jungle just next door. We didn't visit though.
We were advised over and over to make sure Sergio our guide went with us when we traveled on the river or in the jungle. This became apparent when our buddy Paul decided to venture out in the darkening evening to photograph some interesting things he had seen but no sooner had Paul's foot left the first step of the landing (all buildings are about four feet off the ground due to the flood season) and onto the stairs when Sergio stopped him with a firm grip and said:
|Night in the Amazon|
"Don't go out at night without me! It is very dangerous."
It should be noted that Sergio had a flashlight, rubber knee high boots and a machete at this time. He had grown up in the jungle and told us many anecdotal stories of why growing up one must be extremely cautious while walking the jungle at night. Even the daytime is dangerous.
"I have witnessed people getting bit by a snake without ever seeing the creature and be dead within minutes. Very dangerous."
|Paul, a misguided guide|
A few hours later while sweating in our hammocks, we understood what Sergio had meant. The cacophony of the jungle came alive with ear banging fullness. Swinging less than a few feet from each other in the open large sleeping room it was hard to hear each other speaking without raising our voices.
|ROUS - Rodent of Unusual Size|
It was then that we knew - only a thin little mosquito net was between us and the rest of what ever was happening in the rainforest. It was frightening to think of what was happening out there as the noises continued. Strange sounds we couldn't completely identify. A sound like barking came from a capybara, an extremely large rodent which can grow to a length of four and half feet and weigh well over a hundred pounds. But the scariest sound of all in the jungle was silence. When the barking, and the shrieking, and even the chirping of insects seemed suspended -- and you knew a predator was near.
|This is daytime - imagine it at night.|
Flashlight and machete anyone?
Remember one thing though - don't go out alone in the jungle at night without a guide. You may be eaten.
|Are we there yet?|