Exploring The Amazons (Conclusion)

By BobbyRica | March 14, 2012

I woke up in a village, but not one I recognized previously in my trip. Once again, my paranoia got a hold of me, and disorientation, although I was no longer feeling as nauseous. I was a delirious series of sensations while roaming in the deep of the jungle, and really, the experience of it is something that you cannot really fully encapsulate in words. If you can, imagine your body being at its most tense and all your senses amplified to their highest levels. You would sense all these different things big and small and yet was getting tired at the same time. I could only imagine all that energy I found then came purely from my survival instincts.

In fact, I was in a bed with a blanket in my own room, so my immediate feeling on waking up was comfortable. It was the few seconds after realizing that I had not left the forest that my unease had returned. Still, I could not deny that the jungle that had terrorized me an entire day before now seemed so tranquil and relaxing. The sounds of birds felt like free-form symphonies in my mind. Maybe it helped that all those dangers were out of sight (making them out of mind).

As I tried to rise, a painful sensation shot up an arm and a leg. It was then, that I had sensed people around me. I could not see anyone clearly, but saw colors my mind interpreted as coming from human bodies, and some murmurs confirmed my perception.

I found out later that the tribe I was with were called the Matses, and that I lucked out finding their dwellings. Without getting too sciencey, the Matses were one of the first ethnic groups to be investigated by anthropologists for discovering all these different medicines in the rainforest, and they were also one of the first protected by laws. I had assumed that they had given me some amazing medicine through the night, but the truth was even weirder than that.

So one of the medicines the Matses are famous for is this frog sweat called sapo. This is a kind of venom the frogs produce that make their victims hallucinate, but also gives humans all these weird side effects. Suddenly it’s easy to recover from fatigue. You won’t go hungry or thirsty.

So it seems I received a mild dose of it while I was in the forest and did not know. I could have touched or stepped on one while I was running away from that cat. It could have happened while I fell asleep fishing for piranha. The latter made a lot more sense, explaining away my paranoia and sudden impulses.

I am sorry, I know you will think some of what I had narrated earlier contradicts this. I wrote that I was getting tired and hungry and this and that. While those experiences are true, in that altered state a person’s mind plays tricks on them, and the brain has a way of rearranging events so they make sense for you after they happened.

So, I can definitely tell you I ran across a snake and a jaguar and ran for some distance, but I could not tell you how long it took before I got tired, or if I imagined myself being tired far more than I really was, or how long it took before I got hungry. I could not tell you if I would have survived at all if I had not chanced on some sapo.

Within an hour of waking I was feeling sick again. All these was expected from someone experiencing immediate withdrawal of some sorts. The Matses left me alone, but had set aside some conveniently modern pots, which were later revealed to be used as chamber pots if it ever became necessary. I ended up vomiting quite a bit, but that was the worst that it got to.

Soon enough I was able to recover from it all, and enjoyed an impromptu vacation with the Matses themselves. I was also fortunate to have been among medical researchers and government people (looking out for the Matses) to talk to in languages II knew and to help me on my way out of this strange, dangerous and wonderful part of the world. I was not one to complain about the tedium and repetitiveness that eventually settled in, not after that one day I ran for my life.

To my delight, the tribe leaders found it appropriate to honor me as some kind of hero in my last days there, giving me some kind of honorable ceremony. Actually, I felt like I was being made an honorary Boy Scout of sorts, like I earned all these merit badges in just one day.

Maybe I am a hero in a way. There must not be that many nonnatives who can brag that they survived a day in the uninhabited jungle like I did. Realizing that topping that kind of experience would be hard, I had to think hard about what would be my next Latin American adventure.


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