We had our second full day of rain. And both Jacob and I got to go tree planting. You wear clothes that are already wet and dirty, because after the first 5 min you won't notice any difference. We loaded trees onto the boat and then went to the small first farm. There some of the crew had to dig holes with a weird pincher shovel post holer and the rest of us planted. The rain would lighten then grow heavy, but you are never cold. Mud and sand collect on you and then rinse clean. The farms are small stretches of land that have been cleared, otherwise the world is green on green on green. The jungle is completely different again to everything that I have experienced this year. Life is in super abundance, set down a plant and it will grow. Wet, hot, vibrant.
In the afternoon, I was lucky enough to feed the animals again. This time one of the others went into the young spider monkey cage without closing the doors between at all. They climb on her while she was raking away the old muck, very cool. We were out of bananas, so it was
tough to get the capuchins out of the feeding section. Normally, we throw bananas on the roof of the enclosure (all chain link) so that they go after the bananas and out of the little feeding room. Today, we could only entice them with cooked sweet potato. It didn't work well. There was only one in the cage, but it was one that isn't very friendly. We got it out and then another raced in, it was a friendly one, so I went in and left the food anyway. He just chattered at me. They are not like the spider monkeys. They may be smaller, but they are more aggressive, have very sharp teeth and we don't go in the cage with them as much. The spider monkeys are much more gentle. I went back into the tapir cage and Theo nibbled on me again. We've decided that maybe I should not go in anymore, he seems to have a thing for me. Feeding the animals is my favourite thing to do here. I love talking to them and I don't have much fear of any of them. Of course, I haven't had the opportunity to feed the puma or
the jaguar yet.
My jobs on Thursday were to get gravel and paint a bungalow. Gravel hunting is easier than taking lumber to the canopy walk,but it still takes it out of you. We went in the boat to the gravel pits. There we filled each sack with 3 spades of gravel and then filled the boat. We got the boat so heavy that we had to take off our boots and push until the boat was free, then it was jump back in the boat and go to Taricaya. Once there, we started a chain of people up the stairs to unload and then we had to hoist the sacks on our backs and carry them out to where the new Jaguar cage will be. The present one is old and rotting, and not quite big enough. Our break at lunch is always about 3 hours , so you can shower, read, chat in the hammocks, nap until the afternoon job. Painting a bungalow is not difficult. We painted the inside of one of the older rooms and were done early. A nice break after hauling gravel. Each evening we gather at supper and play rummyclub with a
couple of ladies from England, trying to stay up later than 8:30.
The next day it was picking flowers and free choice. Picking flowers is more difficult than you expect from the title. We went to the first farm and dug up huge root systems of flowers that have stalks 4-6 feet tall. We hauled many loads of roots on our backs down to the boat and then had to haul them all up the stairs to await planting next week. This one was hot, insect ridden work that I really liked, much like gardening at home on steroids.
Shower, lunch then my choice activity. Jacob got his name on the list to feed the Jaguar and Puma, I signed up for painting the kitchen hall. I like painting. When the flood came 2 months ago,it left mud in all the houses (which are raised on stilts as it is) and the mud line reaches up about a metre in all the rooms. We needed to paint to preserve the wood from rot and carpenter ants as well as pretty the space up again. Once the aftenoon jobs were done, we all piled into the boats and went to Amazon Planet, the tourist lodge down the river, for beers and football (soccer). Jacob was in seventh heaven. He was covered in mud from head to foot, and I had many of the staff tell me he plays really well, just needs height and weight. Rummyclub to stay awake and then bed.
Good Night and Sweet Dreams
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