Sunday, January 29, 2006

Jungle Bound

Iguazu, Argentina

Today we will cross the border into Brazil. The plan is to head inland by bus as far as the roads go, then switch to river boat for the rest of the journey into and back out of the heart of the Amazon basin. Once we reach the Atlantic, we'll switch back to buses and work our way down the coast to Rio in time for Carnival. I am feeling a bit of trepidation about this voyage on serveral fronts.

Iguazu is our first taste of South American jungle and it is one seriously sweaty place. I work up a lather just walking across the road. The jungle contains gigantic versions of otherwise normal animals and regular-sized versions of abnormal animals. We have already seen some gigante ants like you would not believe and the critters will only get bigger and meaner from here on in. I never realized just how thick and impassable jungle is. We took a ride through some national park yesterday and the vegetation on either side of the road was like a solid wall of plant. This is not somewhere you want to get lost.

Once we cross the border, we will be back into a world where we do not speak the language. Jason's Spanish will doubtless be helpful, but communication difficulties are bound to abound. The biggest potential problem here is my own big mouth. Misunderstandings in the past have led to sumo showdowns on the streets of Tokyo. I reckon that confrontations in the Amazon may not be as light-hearted.

Lastly, I am bit unsettled by the simple fact that we are going to Brazil. The country does not enjoy an entirely safe reputation in the popular media, especially because of the success of the film "City of God". I do not have a particular phobia of street crime, but this is one hood in which extra vigilance is certainly called upon. Also, despite my mostly-successful tanning regime, I have a funny feeling that I am going to stick out like a sore thumb among the locals. Sometimes it is hard to be the white man.

I am not writing this to cause alarm among the OC readership. I am just making a record of my pre-trip unease so as to more effectively laugh at it in the future. As long as we stick to the roads, rivers, and paths, be careful about what we say to who, and keep our passports strapped securely to our asses, there is little cause for concern. Tell Kurtz to keep the beer cold, because here we come.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike, what about the "Dear Karen" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1/30/2006 2:03 AM gmt


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