October 21, 2010
We’ve been in the jungle for about a week now. There are villages and farms dotting the area, especially along the river, but most don’t have mail service. I have no idea how long it’ll take this to reach you. Oh, and you might get charged on delivery. The postmaster was also a construction worker and he was on a job a couple towns over, so his son had to take care of it.
The kid was skinny, his elbow joints bigger than his arms on either side. Couldn’t have been older than thirteen or so either. I have no idea if he charged me the right amount or not. So like I said, you might get charged the difference.
I might have underestimated Jim a little. Don’t get me wrong, he’s quite a character, but also competent. Despite the fiasco when I first met him, he seems to generally be able to get along with the locals. His woodcraft is also excellent. The man never seems to get lost, even though sometimes you can’t even tell where the sun is down on the forest floor.
Every few kilometers he takes to the trees. He’s usually looking for flying snake nests or something equally absurd, but he ends up carrying down flowers, fronds, strange bugs, and snakes. If he would forget about the cryptozoology, the man would make a great host for a nature show.
He’s been pressuring me to go up with him, but I’ve been sticking on the ground. I did learn how to adjust the ropes and pulleys, so I don’t feel completely worthless. I’ve started using the digital recorder for some of our conversations so I can remember them exactly. Here’s a sample:
“One day I just realized I couldn’t do it anymore. There I was, sitting in front of one of those boxy computers from the early nineties. You know, the ones that you remember as being so cool and when you look at pictures now you can’t believe how huge and ugly they were.
“I was working on some term paper or other. Some jargon choked monster that I thought was pure genius. I had dreams of being published in some prestigious academic journal. Then I sat back and really read it over. Do you know what I realized? No one in their right mind would ever want to read it.”
After that he talked about his quest to connect science with other disciplines and the world around us. “Science doesn’t have the luxury of being disconnected from the world,” he said.
This is where his genius started to wander into madness. In comparing mythology and evolutionary biology, he stumbled on a few reports and stories that he believed were evidence of a much deeper connection. I believe if he had kept to more officially sanctioned topics, he’d currently be at the top of his field. As it is, he’s been laughed out of pretty much every major publication, academic or otherwise.
Time to head back into the jungle. When we get a longer break I’ll draft out some more complete thoughts. We’re making for a remote village up one of the tributaries. I’m sure I’ll be able to write a piece on life in the rain forest in addition to the one on Jim.