Are you ready for some football?

Day 5: My cup is full

Today I woke up in the jungle. It was still dark out, maybe 5:15am, when I heard an intense fluttering in the 2 feet between my mosquito net and rain tarp, zooming back and forth through my no-fly zone for a minute or two. There was enough light that I was expecting to see the outline of one or more bats, the same ones that chase after the dragonflies both here on the river and back home in OBX at dusk. But I saw nothing. Maurice later proposed that it was probably a hummingbird, because we’ve seen plenty of those, too. And they strike me more as early risers. Wish I could have seen it!

Sunrise in the jungle

My iPad was still on my lap in the hammock from blogging and watching Netflix last night. Since I’m one of the few humans out here in the first place, I must single-handedly be boosting Michelle Wolf’s ratings in Brazil’s Amazon river valley. But it’s really good! [Future Benj: Netflix cancelled her. The show’s crew found out on Twitter. 😭]

Vakey Vakey

After breaking camp and hiking it all back down the hill, we had breakfast of watermelon and these blintz-like things made of tapioca, cheese, and some local orange root vegetable. [Future Benj: they’re simply called tapiocas.] I’ve also been drinking a mix of hot chocolate and coffee in the cellophane destruct-o-cups. Reminds me of whatever Dunkin Donuts used to call this combination. Dunkachino maybe? Except if it were a Dixie cup size instead of the XL I used to get.

Then we hit the kayaks, and did about 2 hours in the blazing sun downstream to the next camp site. Lots of weird plants, starting with ones clearly inspired by fellow Wainwright walker Ealish Wilson’s fiber art



… another plant that wants you dead…

Hug me until it hurts!

… these cute things…

Thing One

Thing Two

… and these ones, by Dr. Seuss.

Droopy, sloopy, kinda poopy

This one's branches are absurd.  This one's branches have a bird.

The butterflies were especially friendly today! A brown striped one landed on my big toe. And not the well-adjusted, perfectly healthy big toe. It was taking a liking to my funktastic half-claw. There’s no accounting for taste.

Brave friendly butterfly

drink me

But the light green butterflies preferred my paddle or my neon green OBX Triathlon shirt. So they’re not all dumb.

Engaging its banged-up-look camouflage

And twins!

The boat, whose name is Com te _____, and I can never remember the last word, which is a person’s name, passed us while kayaking and was docked at a nice property with cattle pastures, 4 border collies, and strange creatures I refer to as duck chickens. (They are sort of domesticated like chickens, sleeping under the camp houses, but look like ducks. Ugly ducks.) The multi-generational family who lives there ranged in age from about 7 to 60. It was kind of them to share their home!

ISAAC!  It's Com te Isaac!

Home sweet middle-of-nowhere

Duck chicken

While Eric did his best St. Bernard impersonation…

9 out of 10 St. Bernards prefer Devassa

… Moe and I were guided on a walk across their giant pastures, through some (home-made) logging roads into the jungle which by contrast showed just how much work clearing the scores of acres of field must have been, and finally through plain old jungle.

Benj says he's leaving GPS breadcrumbs from now on!
photo credit: Maurice Ribble

What's Portuguese for Moo?

Not jumping this fence!
photo credit: Maurice Ribble

The destination was a very cool (literally and figuratively) waterfall. This close to the equator, cold water as a concept is forgotten to us after less than a week. Not as cold as this waterfall, though. We went all in. And then to keep us relatively cool, it rained most of the way back to camp.

Shower time!
photo credit: Maurice Ribble

No one does it like Moe does it

Two boys, maybe 7 and 12, were juggling a soccer ball back and forth, and Erikes suggested I join in. I watched them for a while, but then couldn’t resist. Football, the common language… along with smiles, laughter, moments of pride and embarrassment in equal measure. I held my own, but 20 minutes of that had my heart rate higher than any of the hiking or kayaking we’ve done all week!

Exhausted just looking at them juggle

Peak heart rate: achieved

A thumbs up to the boys, then I headed back to the boat with warm fuzzies. (As Jessica would metaphorically say, my cup was full.) And then Erikes handed me a margarita, also a cup, also full. [Future Benj: she actually says “my cup runneth over,” but maybe so does my margarita-filled Dixie cup.]

I finished another KenKen and another margarita (remember: destructo-Dixie-sized) and then dinner.

KenKen for the winwin
photo credit: Maurice Ribble

They made me a special veggie potato curry sort of dish, amazing! “What did you make for the rest of us?” Moe asked. “Meat,” Erikes said. I told him he should rename his company to Amazon Mystery Meat Tours.

Once it got dark, Erikes came back from canoeing with our first caiman, despite trying every night thus far. He was a cutey! Moe sent him back into the water after we all got some quality time, hugs and kisses, etc.

photo credit: Maurice Ribble

Eric's new pal

crazy one
photo credit: Maurice Ribble

caiman whisperer

And now back to the hammock here to give you all the low down. Tomorrow afternoon there’ll be some civilization on our itinerary! And in completely unrelated news, Brazil plays Belgium tomorrow afternoon! ⚽️

Please chime in!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.