Rumble in the Jungle: Brazil, Day 2
I was awoken at 5 AM by the sound of the crew starting the engine. I have no idea why they had to start it at that time, as breakfast wasn’t for another couple of hours, but it definitely ruined the peacefulness of the jungle sounds.
We had breakfast on the boat (complete with yummy fried plantains), and headed to the shore where we would embark on our hike through the Amazon jungle. We doused ourselves in sunscreen and bug spray, even tucking our jeans into our socks to prevent any unwanted visitors in our pants. The lot of us set out for our trek through the forest. It wasn’t a vigorous hike, but I’ve never felt humidity like I did that day in the jungle. I was drenched in sweat within a few minutes, but I had water with me and I bravely soldiered on.
As we hiked, our guide taught us about the native plants and stopped to point out a rubber tree. He then spotted, in a hole in the ground, the biggest spider I have ever seen in my life. Had I been brave enough to put my hand down next to the spider to make a comparison, I would have found that the spider was in fact larger than my hand. Thank you, goodbye, I will now be going home now. Unfortunately, I had no idea where we were so I just had to keep walking.
We came across a round black thing about the size of a softball hanging from a tree that looked like it was pulsating. Quickly we realized that it was pulsating because it was covered in bees, and they didn’t like us very much. The bees started to attack fellow members of my group, two of whom were stung by these mysterious black Amazonian bees. I stopped dead in my tracks and backed away from the swarm, and smartly waited until they calmed down again. I then threw my friend’s shirt over my head and barreled through, luckily unharmed.
After about 2 ½ hours, we emerged from the jungle a little worse for wear, but certified adventurers (at least in my mind). Our boats had sailed a bit to meet us there, and we met the big boaters who were lying out on a dock. Us small boaters grabbed our bathing suits and some body wash, and headed out to the nearby creek where we were able to wash the layers of sunscreen, dirt, sweat, and bug spray off of us.
Our boats headed back on down the river, back to the place where we had set out on our hike; we were set to pack up our hammocks and have a sleep in the jungle that night. The sun was setting as we climbed the wooden stairs to the top of the hill, where we slung our hammocks over our shoulders and went into the jungle just as it began to get dark.
We all stumbled our way through the mud and over the fallen branches and roots, haphazardly making our way through the dark jungle, seemingly on a path. Luckily my friend Will was in front of me with a flashlight, and people would yell “log!” to warn the people behind them of a potential tripping hazard. Eventually we made it to the campground, a place with logs set up in such a way that we could all hang our hammocks from them. We got to hanging our hammocks (which meant handing them to Sean, the only one in our group that knew how to tie a good knot), and then the guides started a fire to start to cook dinner.
They got to chopping some very large, very long leaves from a certain type of plant, which we then passed over the fire to sterilize, as they were to be used as our plates. The chicken and rice they cooked was by far the best food I’ve had off the ship so far, and we ate like barbarians with our hands off of our jungle leaves. Soon enough it was time to settle into our hammocks, to drift off to the sounds of the jungles. I was particularly close to the sounds, seeing as how the boys chivalrously put my hammock on the end, in the hopes that I would get eaten first should a jaguar come along. How nice.