Last spotted in San Francisco, USA on March 28, 2003, 1:23 pm
Who is he? Where is he going? Where has he been? David Barrett / Quinthar
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Our camp, held a foot off the ground by short stilts, consists of four open platforms and an enclosed bathroom. Three of the platforms, including the platform seen on the left, hold futon-style mattresses enclosed in cubical mosquito nets strung from the supporting beams. The fourth platform, from which the picture is taken, holds the dining room and kitchen. Immediately behind the picture is the table at which we drink tea and eat popcorn every night while writing in our notebooks, and behind that is a cloth-covered table on which we eat our surprisingly-gourmet meals. Following the path off camera to the left eventually leads to the dock and river, where I bathe every morning in the pirhanna-invested waters.

It turns out that there is not just one, but three -- yes, three tarantula located in Camp Draceana alone. This fiesty creature is found under the dining-room platform, though others can be found guarding the river entrance and under the sleeping platform. Measuring about as large as an outstretched hand, I can't deny that this furry spider is somewhat unsettling, despite assurances that she's harmless. However, this spider is much preferable to the much more dangerous and scary-looking "wolf spider" that we found walking among our hermatically-sealed sleeping quarters one night. At least these ones keep their distance.
Undeniably the key find of the trip are the monkeys. Our cruise amongst the branches comes to a sudden halt as Sonia and the driver detect a disturbance in the force. Our confusion is immediately lifted as we notice that above us the branches sway and bend as if in a windstorm, despite their neighbors remaining still. Closer inspection reveals not one or two, but dozens, upwards of a hundred squirrel monkeys crawling and leaping amongst the branches high above our floating vessle. Luck would have us be directly between point A and B as this family of social creatures gracefully leaped one at a time from a high branch on one side of the river to crash into a low bunch of leaves on the other. In awed fascination, we watch the incredibly cute animals effortlessly walk and hop the branches until they can be seen no more.
After our last three-hour boat ride through the twisting jungle rivers, we sit to wait for our three-hour truck ride to the city (where we'll take a ten hour bus ride back to civilization). Waiting is somewhat of an artform in the jungle, as time moves differently in the leafy wilderness. Despite our best efforts to wait for the second truck, we grow impatient and decide to pile into one truck, front and back. Seen here is Sonia enjoying the cool wind and beautiful view.

Copyright 2017 - David Barrett -