arrived here last Friday at the Urubupunga Research Station deep in
the heart of the ancient ant-strewn Amazon and I've been hard at work
writing my Report from the Field ever since. It
was no mean feat getting here, I can tell you. The roads are
not exactly superhighways and my battery gave out a couple of times
and I had several accidents, but then nothing in life is easy! When
I pulled up in front of the simple white, wooden headquarters building,
I was met by the man I had come all this way to do my report on, Senhor
Teófilo Afonso Rosario Sobradinho, South America's premier
primate biologist, gobo root expert, and fellow Nooz Advisory
Board member. He took me over to the guest house and helped
me get all my suitcases inside, and then, with large carved wooden
mugs of jaragua wine in hand, we went on a tour of the Station.
Urubupunga is situated
on the wandering banks of the sluggish Carauari River in the state
of Amazonas, where stately jaragua trees overhang the water
and drop their fruit directly into the gaping mouths of hungry skipperjacks
and giant mud turtles. The tall forests around the Station are
alive with jumping spider monkeys emitting their characteristic hroot-hroot
calls while tiny leopard birds flit nervously from branch to branch.
After dinner, during which darkness fell with tropical suddenness
over the ancient poison-filled Amazon and we feasted on some excellent
baked boa, Senhor Sobradinho regaled me with stories of his poverty-stricken
youth in the undernourished neighborhoods of Sao Paulo, then it was
off to a comfortable cot and a good night's sleep.
Saturday and Sunday
I rested in the guest house and brought my Report up to
date, and then on Monday I got ready to leave, having had a fantastic
experience. Senhor Sobradinho's camp staff prepared a wonderful
picnic lunch for me and also recharged my batteries and straightened
a bent axle on my car. At last, following a quick dip in the
sluggish Carauari River, I was off and anxious to cable my Report
back to the Nooz.
That's about it for
this issue. I'm sure you all know a great deal more now about
Urubupunga and Senhor Sobradinho than you did before. Next time,
I'll try to jump start my car and make it to the Kualakurun Primate
Reserve on the mysteriously-shaped island of Borneo to meet the well-known
Dutch primatologist Piet Mons Apeldoorn. So until then, I'll
just say So long.