Into The Wild

We were supposed to go on a two-day trip, spending the night at a camp lodged deep in the rainforest, but the camp is under reconstruction due to heavy rains, so the only option we’ve got is a day-tour. It would have been more of an adventure with the creatures of the night at least sounding in on you as you rock yourself to sleep in a hamock tied between two bamboo-poles.

The day-tour feels more of a pre-trampled tourist route, a dose of “just enough”, and although the excitement of being in the thick of it sustains my interest for the first couple of hours, the botanical magic of it being a rainforest soon wears off a little. You have to watch your step with all the sticks and stones crossing the narrow path, with tree-roots bulging around your feet like the veins on Iggy Pops fore-arm, so you really spend more time watching your shoes get covered in dirt then you do eyeing after animals lurking in the cover of the tree-crowns.

We’re following a small section of the beaten trail from Choroni, straight through the forest and over the mountains, ending in Maracay. A two-day journey by horse and foot back in the old days. Before strong-man Gomez ordered the construction of a road sustainable for driving, built hand by shovel by the unsung heroes of political prisoners.

The guide, who goes by the nickname Wivvi, seems a bit displeased with our lack of botanical knowledge. But for me the experience of the environment as a whole is the important thing, and the possibility of seeing some wildlife.

We’ve been hearing rumours of small tigers, they’ve got two different species of monkeys, seven species of snakes of whick two are poisonous, and sloths. We see a gang of long-legged spiders, and are accompanied by a village dog. The guide is more wild than anything around, with his corrked bent walk coming from a broken leg just below the knee, mended by itself into a slightly curved shape. He gets by effortlessly, with the aid of a walking stick. He’s the king of the jungle.

The baths are the main attraction. Halfway, before turning around and taking the same route back, we’re introduced to a formation of miniature waterfalls, combined with natural pools of fresh, clean water, untocuhed from its source. And by another watering-hole, there’s a fall dropping at least two meters, we jump from the top of it into a deep pool, fighting against the current to squeeze into a natural cave hidden behind a curtain of roaring water.

We have our lunch there. The lunch consists of a grey, moisty mass served in a leaf; it’s maize and something or other mushed together, with a taste of licorice. Brown Eyes and Green Eyes feed the better part of their meal to the dog, but I actually like the first few bites, before the sweetness and the gooey consistency becomes a bit too much. But I finsih my meal as a good boy.

After lunch Wivvi seems a bit anxious to get this group of botanical retards out of the jungle, and it’s like the last ounce of respect he’s got left for us vaporizes as we make a bigger fuzz oer the mules and roosters coming back into the village, than we did for the bananaplants and the jurrasic-era plant that looked like a tree. He said botanist went wild over that last one. He chuckled a bit at our lame response.

The dog followed us all the way to our car. He looked sad as we parted. After a drive down the mountain, Wivvi looked a bit relieved as we parted with him.


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