Finally, after two sweaty days in the jungle, a couple of mosquito-filled, sleepless nights, and parsimonious meals of power bars, I got to take a shower.
It felt great, but no matter how much I scrubbed, the bluish-black dye, which the Kraho Indians had ceremoniously painted on my arms, wouldn't come off.
These garish bands of ink, which was harvested from the fruit of a local palm, may have some folks thinking I just robbed a bank and got nailed by the ink bomb in the money bag. But truth be told, it's a stigma I'm willing to live with. The Kraho village and the lush jungle surrounding it is a place I'll never forget.
Rarely does one get a chance to spend time with a people who truly depend upon and live off the land around them. The Kraho do so in a manner in which their culture seems as if it is completely integrated into the natural world. The genuine hospitality they extended to Anderson, the crew and me is something I will treasure.
Mornings and afternoons were spent exploring the Kraho culture and their struggle to conserve their way of life in a region that seems, at times, to have failed them. Evenings were spent trail-blazing through dense jungle in search of secretive creatures.
I must confess that the rain forest at night, alive with a cornucopia of nocturnal life-forms awaiting discovery, is one of my favorite places on earth. Amazingly, 80 percent of the creatures living in a tropical rainforest are nocturnal. Many of them inhabit the blanket of leaves making up the canopy high over head.
It's often hard, if not downright impossible, to spot them. But when my eyes meet theirs, illumined by the eerie glow of a head lamp, adrenaline seems to surge through my veins.
Anderson did quite well sloshing through hip-deep muck and trekking into the near impenetrable vegetation. Although a rather curious bat seemed to get the better of him, but only for a moment. Until, that is, the bat decided to swoop by once again.