*Written 2010-07-02; posted 2010-07-07 due to WIFI!*
Ted woke up sick in the middle of the night this morning. By breakfast, he still didn’t feel good. Pamela went and ate while Ted slept in, doing her best to converse with Hector and Alexander in Spanish. She learned stories about people from Hector, and about how Hector and Alexander want their ashes spread out over the jungle after they die, and other things.
When Ted woke up he still had a fever and a headache, but he was able to go eat breakfast (crepe with egg, cheese and deli meat on side, fruit). We decided to take it easy today–no tramping through the swamp to find some beetle larvae, an Amazonian delicacy.
We boated over to Hector’s island while the school was in session and met with the schoolteacher and students, ranging in age from 4 to 15. Pamela taught each one how to say their age in English, and Ted taught them how to play chess. Then the children went to recess and watched while Ted and Pamela learned new things.
First we were shown a blow gun. Our goal was to blow a dart through the blow gun and hit a fruit on top of a post 8 meters away. The gun was perhaps 12 feet long, with 2 layers of polished wood, one inside the other. The darts were made of thin pointy sticks with cotton wrapped around one end as a weight and a score near the end so that they break if they are pulled out. Hector managed to send the fruit flying off the post on his second try. Ted managed to make his darts land… near the post, eventually hitting the post. Pamela managed to hit the post, gradually hitting it higher and higher, but never speared the fruit. She hit the fruit once, but the dart glanced off.
Next we were shown Hector’s house when Ted asked for water after discovering he’d forgotten our bottle. To get to Hector’s house, we walked up a staircase that had been carved out of a tree trunk. Inside the house he had a fire pit next to his hammock, a kitchen with a water filter and an assortment of pots and pans and sink, and a back room, presumably the bedroom, with a bookshelf full of books. The house itself was constructed of the same materials as the lodge we were staying at, but he said his roof was stronger because of the ashes from the fire coating the thatching.
Next, we were brought back to the dock because Hector’s wife (a German biologist) had noticed a monkey come to visit. The monkey was in a tree directly over the dock, and we watched it eat and move around until it wandered off. We also watched his wife doing laundry by scrubbing it with a bar of soap on a board and reading to the baby in German.
Last, we were shown how to throw a spear. We sucked. The goal was to hit the same post, no fruit. Neither of us came close. Ted’s landed back-end first, and Pamela’s landed horizontally… Victor managed to knock the post over though. By the end, Ted’s were landing front-side first; Pamela’s still landed horizontally off to the side.
Finally we left the island so that Ted could get some rest. Pamela enjoyed the boat ride back, captain-style. She also saw a barge carrying some oil. We returned to our cabana and lay in the hammock for awhile, dozing on and off until the sun was hitting us and Pamela got too hot… at which point we dozed some more inside the cabana. Sometime during this time, Pamela’s foot got about 9 bites… from some insect that was not a mosquito. However, Pamela fed Ted some Tylenol, which helped him feel better during the evening.
After our nap, we went down to the pool where Hector taught us how to make baskets out of trees. First he showed us how to weave a simple basket; then he showed us a more difficult one. Ours turned out kind of funny, but they’ll hold stuff.
Once we finished with the baskets, we sat on the edge of the pool and soaked our feet for awhile. The staff went nuts, making Victor run around and clean out every last bug from the pool, fill the jacuzzi with equally cold water, get the waterfall working, turn on the lights, raise the umbrellas (at dusk), etc.
We dangled our feet until dinner, at which we tried the grubs even though we couldn’t go hunting for them. They look like… beetle cocoons roasted on a stick. The inside had some squishy stuff; the outside was just really salty. We also ate some soup, battered chicken, rice, plantains, and veggies. We talked with Hector about ants, books, etc until he left to go home for the night, and Alexander started showing us all the different butterflies in the (outdoor) restaurant. Pamela learned that her Spanish sucks. She could understand Alexander, but she and Fernando could not communicate in either direction…
We tried to look for stars from the top level of the restaurant, but it had a roof and there were clouds, so we retired for the night.