Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Notes From My Forest Journal (Entry 3)

GPS COORDS: N02º42.274’, E023º43.067’

We’ve settled down for the night, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, but this town has a name! Makenze!

We’ve found a gorgeous and slightly-less-muddy bluff, overlooking the river on which to pitch our tent.

We nearly stumbled into disaster when we discovered a line of driver ants about four feet to the right of our tent. Appropriately for today, November 4th, Election Day (!!), Adam said,

“We’ll just have to remember to stay far away from the right!!

Cleve had less luck avoiding the ants when following the village’s poorly-demarcated path to the bathroom.

“GAH!!” we heard him scream from the bushes, “I’m peeing and I’m covered in ants!”

Much cursing ensued, but he emerged unscathed.

It seems amazing to be so isolated in such a vibrant, living place. We can not only hear and see the plethora of animals here at Makenze -- countless roosters (who I’m sure we’ll loathe in the morning), a small black and white kitten, a monstrously HUGE dck -- but we can hear a family of blue turacaos calling from across the river.

After putting up the tent, I took a requisite pants-free break inside the tent. It’s nice to be a bit isolated, and I love being around the guys and having Cleve translate their wonderful local stories. But I just needed a little tent time too.

There is also a quiet joy in seeing bugs on the mesh of the tent and flicking them vindictively from inside!

I’m sure too that my urge to socialize locally with people I meet will coincide with my increased utility of Lingala. The language barrier currently makes it readily apparent how much of an insider I really am.

I feel well taken care of, though. Of course Adam is always brilliantly attentive, but Cleve also makes great effort to include me and our tracker Richard tends to me as though I were very delicate, bringing me cushions and pillows and impossibly attempting to keep me dry... on a river trip.

Cleve decided to extend our sojourn an extra day to make up for our rain delay, and that suits me just fine!

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