The end of the evening saw us drink up our entire stash of beer. Meaning I then had a hell of job writing up my dairy after everyone else had gone to bed (well, hammock). In fact, what I wrote in my drunken state looks so comical, I've pictured it to the left and translated it below:
"Howler Monkeys - sound like a cross between eerie Ogres, evil winds and a 747 jet. Today, learned how to make fire, find and eat big white grubs. Went fishing, caught and ate Piranha. Floods from last night have risen the river by a good metre. Drank beer, lots of."
I'll now attempt to be a little more descriptive.
The night had brought a troop of Howler Monkeys passing through the camp. You couldn't see them in the pitch black of the jungle night but, boy could you hear them! They scream a low un-earthly howl bringing visions of eerie un-dead and evil mystical spirits. The sound they propagate through the canopy is truly the stuff of nightmares. Still, I slept soundly!
Morning then, we learnt how to make fire. The husks from nuts fallen from the silk cotton tree contain a cotton wool like filing, which when dry is excellent for catching sparks and turning it into a flame. Tiny twiglets are then used for kinder, followed by twigs, followed by bigger sticks. It's an involved process which takes a lot of preparation. But an essential one to master.
We rummaged around for kutkrit nuts fallen from the kutkrit tree which, more often than not, have been impregnated by the kutkrit beetle and harbour small white grubs. These small nuts have to be delicately held between fore finger and thumb in one hand whilst the other wields an oversized machete down upon it in an attempt to cleave the end off. Thereby presenting the kutkrit grub inside. Given these nuts are as hard as stone they necessitate a hefty wallop with the machete, just millimetres from your fingers. Challenging is a word I'd use to describe it, especially if you're kak handed like me!
Oh, and why you may ask! Why, to eat them of course! Being as cool as I am, I went first, flicked one up in the air and caught it in my mouth. They're juicy and taste, well, nutty!
The afternoon sees us trying our hand at fishing. It seems crazy but we fish for piranha in the same river that we wash and swim in at the end of the day! We make some little Yari Yari (fishing) rods from sticks and add some fine fishing line and a hook. With these we fish for little baby cat fish, using kutkrit grubs for bait. These baby fish are then used as bait for bigger fish and piranha!
I hate fishing. I'm crap at it. (One inevitably leads to the other!) I swear all I do is feed the bloody fish! The local boys on the other hand, using the same tools as us, but with a smattering of skill, pull fish and piranha out left, right and centre! It's good news because we eat the piranha for dinner. Man bites back!
Posted by Steve Eynon