Night in the Jungle

 

This being my last month in Brazil, and having some of my parents friends coming over to visit us, we decided to head to the Amazon rainforest. We spent the first night in Manaus, and then headed to the depths of the Amazonian rainforest. After 2 different boat rides, and an hour car ride, we arrived to the lodge who was to be our home for the next 4 nights. That is, except for the one night we decided to sleep outside.

Lodge
Photo by L. Tsakiris.

After preparing all the provisions, our guides helped us pack them in the boat that would take us to the camp. We arrived in the afternoon, and took our provisions off the boat to our camping site which consisted of a little clearing in the jungle close to the river, and a roof made of palm leaves.

IMG_1090
Photo by L. Tsakiris.

We headed straight away to set a net to fish our dinner, and proceeded to bird watch while we waited to catch some fish. We managed to watch so many birds I honestly don’t remember any of the names except for the tucans.

Before long we went back to camp to hang our hammocks and mosquito protectors before night settled in. It took us a bit longer than we had planned, and we ended up heading out to pick up the fish net later than we expected. This resulted in some caymans having already stolen some of our fish making a hole in the net. While Ricardo, one of our guides was picking up the net, the other one, Tarzan was ponting out at a couple of caymans that were around us (I was totally not freaking out about this).

IMG_1096
Photo by L. Tsakiris.

Back in the camp, our guides started preparing the recently catched fish, and chicken they had brought from the lodge. They cooked it in the campire while we tried hard not to think about all the huge spiders that were around us.  Tarzan had the great idea of showing them to us with his flashlight to explain which were poisonous and which weren’t but the only result was traumatizing us. (They were the size of my hand).

To distract ourselves a little we decided to play some mimic games which ended up making it one of the best nights of the whole trip. Turns out waking up at 5-6am every single day means everyone goes to sleep right after dinner. So having a night of staying up late and laughing definitely made us forget the spiders and weird jungle sounds.

IMG_1110
Photo by L. Tsakiris.

Our guides taught us how to make plates, spoons and forks out of palm leaves and we had the best chicken I’ve tasted in my life. In the end we had caught 6 peixes brancos and 1 piranha and with some rice made in the pot in the fire and some caipirinha we were all tired and full enough to go to sleep peacefully.

I slid in my hammock covering myself with the mosquito net, and as instructed by our guides, putting one shoe in each side of the mosquito net so no insects would go in. I could hear an unidentified mosquito buzzing outside my net but soon enough he left and after turning and turning in the hammock (and almost falling) I managed to fall asleep.

IMG_1107
Photo by L. Tsakiris.

Waking up to the sound of birds – specially a bird that sounds like a car alarm ( I mean WHY?), instects, and someone peeing somewhere behind a tree; and knowing you survived the night without dying was a very magical moment. I tried to sleep a little more and then woke up to have breakfast and get ready for the day. We packed everything into the boat, and then headed to another part of the island to have a trek.

Stick insect
Photo by L. Tsakiris
IMG_1144
Photo by L. Tsakiris.
IMG_1159
Photo by L. Tsakiris.

We walked around 3 hours in the hot jungle, with long sleeved clothes as not to be eaten by the mosquitos. Many exotic tree viewings and 3 tarantulas after, Tarzan showed us the place where a jaguar slept that night. We finally headed back to the lodge to take a shower and rest for our next adventure of the day.

IMG_1178
Photo by L. Tsakiris.

P.s.: If you want my mom’s version of the events, here is her column in spanish:Durmiendo en la selva

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