The German in the jungle

P1010181

Sunset over the Tapajós river in Alter do Chão

An irritatingly loud voice abruptly jars me from my hammock dozing: “WO IST MEINE ZAHNBÜRSTE?”

Gerd decides 3am is the perfect time to shine his lighthouse-strength head torch at my face – presumably to check I haven’t stashed his precious toothbrush up my nose.

Mumbling noisily into his beard, my new best friend finally settles in his own cloth bed.

“Did you hear that?” whispers a wide-awake Sophie.

“How could I not, rude b*stard,” I say, slightly louder than I should.

“No, the noises in the woods,” she replies in a tone of excited fear.

I listen. In our wall-less, palm-leaf roof hut, in the picturesque Amazonian town of Alter de Chão, we have front row hammock seats for the daily performance by the forest orchestra.

DSC07403

Hopping mad: One of our friendly forest frog friends

Toads, frogs and an array of insects comprise the percussion section. Croaks, pops and rattles repeat in perfect rhythm.

The woodwind parts are being filled by feathered musicians whistling piercing melodies through the darkness.

Intermittently monkeys and wild dogs are providing panic-inducing solos in the form of high-pitch cackles and gutteral howls.

Then, another, much louder, less pleasant sound drifts into my ears. It drowns out the big forest band. Gerd begins to snore.

His inability to scrub the plaque from his gnashers clearly hadn’t played on his mind for long, as he has rapidly managed to fall into a deep sleep.

A false, irritated cough and a deft kick to his solar plexus as he hangs in his suspended bed to my left fails to make an impression on the raspy roar being emitted from his mouth – the jaguars growling nearby would fail to produce as many decibels as Gerd.

Just a few hours later, electronic tones from a mobile phone centimetres away snap me out of a sleep that required the cobbling together of a pair of toilet paper earplugs to fall into.

It turns out, of course, to be Gerd’s alarm. He falls out of his hammock and swears (I think) in German.

He fumbles around for his phone, but despite donning his fetching miner’s lamp he is about as effective as a speedboat in a desert.

When he finally manages to turn the bleep off I discover that 5.30am wasn’t even the time he wanted to rise and shine.

He crashes back into his hammock as the first rays of light creep over the canopy.

He starts to snore again.

I stuff toilet paper back into my ears and dream of napping with the animals.

P1010141

Getting some much needed shut-eye after the sad departure of Gerd

About travellingtoothbrushes

We are a couple of journalists with restless toothbrushes. Our teeth scrubbers seem unable to leap out of their respective washbags to take up a permanent residency on the bathroom shelf. So, we've decided to let them live the way they want to and take them on a trip around South America...
This entry was posted in Amazonia, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The German in the jungle

  1. Tia Annegret says:

    Oh Dear … that pains me…:-)
    I assume he helped you with the writing of “Zahnbürste” in the end??
    XOXoX
    Die deutsche Tante!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s