Thursday, September 25, 2008

Breu 7-21-08 Dogs and bats and bugs oh my

This is the beginning of our third day in Breu. I'm not sure which is worse the HEAT or the BUGS. Right now I think its the bugs. They are incessent and will not leave me alone. Nothing keeps them away. They're not mosquitos, but these tiny little bug the size of fruit flyies that swarm every inch of exposed skin. They leave small red bumps with blood blisters in the middle. My body is covered in them. I have 59 bites on one hand. At first they didn't itch, but now, three days later my whole body itches and its driving me crazy. To go along with the little blood blister bugs, I'm having a much more intense reaction to some other type of damn bug that I never even see bite me, but leaves huge red swollen lumps that are visible from under my clothes.
A few of the other bugs around Breu. Gigantism is apparently rampant in the Amazon.

There's also a lot of other creatures to get used to here in Breu. Like the roosters. The bugs never leave you alone and the roosters almost never stop crowing. They only stop for a few hours at night, then start up again at 4 a.m. Its impossible to sleep through the night with the roosters, the dogs, and the bat. There is a bat that lives in the bottom of the cupboard next to my hammock. Every night after we all get in our hammocks and zip up our nets, he comes out and starts flying around us. Around 5 in the morning he comes back, zooms around us a few times and goes back in his cupboard. Then there's the dogs. The dogs here aren't cute and cuddly friendly pets. They're somewhat ferral. They're so skinny you can see their ribs, they're covered in bugs and fleas. We're not supposed to go near them or touch them because they may carry rabies. It is extreamly sad to see and breaks my heart. I'm not sure how their whole social hierarchy works yet but most seem to have territories around or under a hut. During the night there are countless fights. Its very disturbing the barking, screetching, and whinning sporadicly throughout the night.
Our revenge on the roosters! Our cook knocked one out and brought it in our room to see if we wanted to have it for dinner.

The other annoying creature is a "creature" that we brought to Breu. He is the most unorganized, forgetful "creature" I've ever encountered, oh and I can't forget indecisive. I seriously question my ability to work with him for the next several years. There will have to be some major organization implamented in the future. Again, most of my time is spent waiting. I'm already snappy with him because he drives me NUTS. Not only because of the traits I just mentioned, but because he reminds me of that annoying guy that has a crush on you and your mom says you should be nice to, and no matter how much you try and be nice but not too nice, or try to ignore him, or try to have a little space to yourself, he is always there. Oh, he's also very inappropriate, changing in front of all of us and has no respect for personal space. Ok, sorry, enough bitching, but its only the third day here and I may just go insane because of him.

We collected for the first time yesterday in a small "lake". More like a little creek that had been cut off from the river leaving a small pool in the forest that was maybe 2 m across by 10-12 m long. We caught a whole net full of Gymnotus sp. (an electric fish). James says this is very rare and has never seen them in groups or schools before. They are usually territorial and we should only get one in each pull of the net, but we collected about 20 in one net. It was very exciting to jump in the water and get to work. I have to say that I surprised myself jumping right in. I used to have to be carried over the weeds in Houghton Lake, because I didn't want to touch them. Bet you all never thought I would jump right in some murky little lake with who knows what living in it, in the middle of the amazon. Anyway, it was very exciting and we collected 14 species of fishes in that little lake.

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