And this is where we slept in upscale palapa style, hammocks hung from beams and draped with mosquito netting, one of the most comfortable beds, I believe, in which I have ever slept. This is also where I had my technicolor anti-malaria dreams brought on by the pills I was taking. Contrary to what others reported, they made me happy.
As night descended on our jungle camp, the great escarpments of the highlands caught the last rays of sunlight and our ears became attuned to the forest din as we dined by lamplight.
Various outposts lay along the lazy river early on where people lived the hybrid lives of traders and journeymen, one foot firmly planted in the ground of tradition, the other in those conveniences afforded them by river markets and goods from distant cities.
In truth, some of these pictures were taken going upriver, some coming down, but I no longer remember which is which. The further we got from Cainaima, though, the manicured villages of the lower river began to disappear, replaced by small encampments and jungle.
Midway to Angel Falls, myriad tributaries brought down water from the higher elevations creating miniature Niagaras that we "explored."
The small boats would be beached where trails had been created. Through hacked vegetation, across rock and boulders and through small tunnels where one was required to scrunch and twist under and around outcroppings, we were led to some of nature's "greatest hits." We were not true adventurers, of course, but one could, with a bit of imagination, conjure a facsimile of the wonder they must have felt.
Here I am conjuring up that feeling for the camera, thinking that maybe I could make my way into a Patagonia catalog.
Per usual, at least in my experience traveling to places rocked by violence and revolution, we were the few Americans on the river. Most of the other tourists were from Europe or were wealthier travelers from nearby South American countries. But there was no revolution here on the river or in the jungle. So far as we could tell, no one here had so far been inconvenienced.
* * *
Tomorrow, Angel Falls and beyond. Now, however, I will prepare myself for the coming day. Yesterday was cool but cloudy with intermittent rain, so I did not do any of the work I had planned on. I should do some of it today, but I confess to being completely out of sorts--and I don't know why. I do, but I don't. It is a combination of factors, I think, not the least of which is deciding on finding the right surgeon to fix my knee. It has to be done. Last night, I was awakened many times by shooting pain. Unable to walk or sleep, I feel myself withering. Red is in town and wants to get together tomorrow night, but right now that makes me anxious. It is not just that. Everything does. I don't want to Cowboy Up any more. I've lost that impetus. But I have, it seems, many obligations at the moment and much anxiety.
Now, I must see to one. I must send a big check to the IRS first thing. How did I put it off so long? Why am I so incapable of the most practical obligations?
And as always, of course. . . oh for the arms of one big love.