Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Amazon Day 3: 1 Monkey, 2 Monkey, 3 Monkey, Fish

Exerpts from Shirley´s Jungle Journal- Saturday 1/17/09
Despite the millions of bugs last night, I somehow slept OK. For what I can see I have no new bites, but it´s a little hard to tell considering that I have at least 50 bites (no exaggeration needed). I have to deal with 50 legacy bites that are making me itch like crazy. It´s horrible and frustrating at times. The worst is on my ankles, elbows, and finger joints (anywhere that bends basically). I have forsaken my American Eucalyptus repellant and moved on to a creamy Peruvian mosquito repellant in hopes that the bites will stop coming. I also feel a slight sore throat. I hope I do not come down with something during this trip. My father in-law seems to have the same bug, but it hit him worse. He has a slight cold.

I continued to sun bathe my deceased camera this morning. Near the middle of the day, there was a flicker of hope. It just might turn out OK! But we need to continue to let it dry.

Today we went to Monkey Island, minus my father in-law because he is sick. This time we used a more sturdy boat, so the ride was much better. Javier attempted to rock the boat again, but it did not have as much impact as yesterday´s boat. Things are looking up!

Reaching Monkey Island, I immediately saw monkeys from the river. This island is similar to the show on Animal Planet called, ¨Orangutang Island¨ where orphaned and near extinct species are cared for and then returned to the wild. Walking onto the premises, we were told that all species were friendly but to be careful of the ones with babies because they become over-protective. So what is the first thing that happens? A reddish colored monkey comes along with her tiny baby on her back and immediately begins asking us to carry her. Her name is Rosita the monkey, and she is friendly by nature with or without a baby.

So we carry her. She spends the most time on me with her baby constantly crawling all over me. What a cutie. I even fed the baby some banana. She stayed on me for quite awhile as we toured the island. So long in fact that I began to worry about two things: fleas and monkey pee. Will monkeys relieve themselves on you, like birds? Or are they like dogs that need to find the perfect spot to pee? Thank God I didn´t have to find out the answer. Still each time the baby squirmed around under her mother, I felt its warmth and feared it was monkey pee.

No kidding that this is truly Monkey Island. There are monkeys everywhere! Monkeys at your feet, monkeys on your legs, monkeys on your head! Swinging monkeys, sleeping monkeys, jumping monkeys. All different sizes and different species. They also had parrots, and I collected some of their fallen feathers to make jewelry.

At one point we were asked to gather inside a hut where we would be offered things to buy from the island. Sara and I were on our way to the hut when Sara sadly told me that a monkey had run off with a bracelet that she had bought from the tribespeople yesterday. I told her that we must recover the bracelet and that´s when Operation Sara´s Bracelet was put into play. I found the monkey with the bracelet in its mouth and with one hand offered it my shiney camera. It did not let go of the bracelet and I was afraid of getting bit. I offered it my watch and at that point it chirped and opened it´s mouth, I grabbed the bracelet but now the monkey had hold of my other arm and was pulling both my watch and my camera. Sara was screaming in excitement and I handed her the bracelet because now other monkeys were coming for the goods. ¨Run Sara, Run!¨I screamed and we both ran as fast as we could to the safety of the hut. Mission accomplished...

After monkey island we went fishing. We got back onto the Titanic 4 canoe and began fishing with long branches/sticks and rusted hooks. Believe it or not we caught fish... well not me, but our group. We caught mostly pirañas and Mac caught the biggest fish. I think our guide Leo said it was a Lisa fish? That must have been lost in translation.

We got back to the lodge with a big appetite and our prize fish. I immediate went to check out the state of my camera, which was now in intensive care. I was struck with great news that my camera had come out of it´s coma and was fully functioning again! There were some spots on the screen, but I was sure it was because the inner lens was dirty with Amazonian river dander. It is now no longer my new camera... I have named it ¨Ol´Reliable¨.

Finally dinnertime came. It was dark again, and it was our last night in the jungle. All had calmed down in comparison to the buggy night we had last night. We dined on chicken and then out came the freshly caught fish... fried piraña anyone? Not me. I´m not really that into fish in the first place. Especially the carnivorous, flesh-eating ones. That´s OK... I´m good.