Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Spiders and Bikes, what more could a girl want?

Monday 11th November

Ouch! Our first night in the rain forest and it really hurt. The bed is not a bed, it is a shelf with a sheet over it, imagine a divan base with the mattress removed, that is what our bed is like. Sitting on it hurts, sleeping on it is painful and sleep only comes when exhaustion sets in. My shoulder hurts a lot again and this is spreading up my neck, five days on this is going to leave me exhausted and broken.

Stomach cramps awoke me this morning and the usual nastiness ensued, however with no running water and only a bucket for a flush, what on our arrival seemed quaint and amusing now feels unhygienic and dirty. 

The mosquito net that covers our bed has many holes in it and I have made an effort to repair as many as I can, yet depsite this we still got bitten last night. The mesh is not fine enough to keep out midges, it may be an idea to have a look at buying our own and hanging that up too. To keep this one closed last night and to prevent the big gaps we used a hair clip to hold the two sides together which seems to have held up over night despite us both tossing and turning all night and Carol's frequent trips to the toilet. 

In all, this may be a beautiful place, but there are some flaws that need to be addressed. Carol is thinking of hiring a couple of bikes today and then us trying to find an air mattress that we can put down on the bed. I have also ran out of antihistamine and the rash all over my body is itching again. So rather than sight seeing, we have some serious things to do before we can really enjoy it here. With the heat now rising and the fan in our hut keeping me cool as I sit nearly naked, the thought of putting on gear to ride a bike feels oppressive. 


We went for a walk to have a look at the local shops and see if they had a mattress, no such luck and when we looked into bike hire, the cost was twice what we paid last time. The heat as we walked was horrendous and with the humidity we could not cool down. I know that it is humid here because washing I did yesterday is still wet, despite it being in the high 30s. It is also raining again which has lowered the temp enough to make it comfortable to wear my leather jacket to escape the bites of the mosquitoes. Despite the utter beauty of the place, it is a struggle to be here and I feel bad for not enjoying it. As a scientist I should love it here on the edge of a national park in the rain forest, but it is too hot.

On the spider front I have found a couple of juvenile Golden Orb spiders located on the hut and they were very beautiful, I also found a spider that was a shiny gloss black with a red markings on its underside. Although not typical of the Orb spiders colours, it did have a large web typical of an orb weaver species. Under the hut is a wasp nest being constructed by some thin bodied black wasps that again are very beautiful. Nesting in the pole that is on the shelving under the hut is a large black bee too, the animal is easily an inch a half long with a brutal sounding buzz, yet it seems so placid and gentle. While sat in the bar today we were visited by a large wasp, three inches in length and with a wing span closer to four. The animal displayed such precise flight as it hovered by the flowers in the bar and again seemed so much more placid than the Yellow Jacket wasps back home. While out on our walk we found some of the most beautiful Dragon Flies too, these were bright red and I think were three males fighting for a female who was a darker brown. They darted about and fought above the river and were large enough that they would have filled my hand had they landed upon it. The wild life continues to amaze me and on just a five minute walk about the camp site I found a couple of species of lizard, several large snail species and many large beetles and crickets. 

Look carefully for the spider at the top

A rubber tree being milked for latex

Given the enthusiasm with which I can enjoy seeing these amazing animals it saddens me that I can feels so negative about my stay here. However with my pain levels controlled and me being medicated I am more stable, especially once the heat drops to below thirty. Carol today came to me in my distress and just quietly held my hand as I had a bit of a cry, she seems to understand that my mood swings are not entirely controllable and are caused by my physical condition. The pain thing really gets me down and with our bed being as hard as a bank vault, I am in pain when I need to rest. 

Once again we retired to the bar at around half seven for dinner and once again it was utterly beautiful. The food is exquisite and the staff are lovely. We met a German couple who had been exploring in the jungle and spent the evening chatting with them and they were also lovely. 

I am now some what happier after another fabulous meal and some good company. Also I was able to have a look at my first large spider tonight, a Huntsman Spider that had hidden itself on the wall right next to the toilet in the bar! It was huge at about five inches across and with huge chellidae. Sadly it had obviously been in a bit of a fight recently and had lost a rear leg. It was a fabulous specimen and after taking a few photos I spent ages trying to identify it. 

Tuedsday !2th November

I have found a red horned spider in the restaurant and have tried to photograph this beautiful animal despite its tiny size. Sadly none of our cameras can really see the detail which to be honest neither can we with out a magnifying glass. We also have a tiny jumping spider on our mosquito net (which I am happy about as long as it eats some of the little bastards) that has the most interesting features, a set of front legs that are heavily developed in comparison with the other six and eyes that are massive, even for something the size of a money spider these features are visible. Again we have tried to photograph it but it is just too small. 

Early start for us today with bikes to sort out and places to go. Mr Boa took us down to the hire place where he had done a deal for us, which was good of him. The trip in the back of his 4x4 was most enjoyable, however the pleasure of getting out on two wheels once again was greater than pretty much all else. Carol has once again got the cool scooter while I am left with the girly shit one that does not run right, drinks fuel and will not run on idle. 

Jayne admires her latest machine

Riding a full auto is an experience that is either a joy or an irritation. Riding along and just enjoying the breeze is lovely, however when I need to drop a gear to over take slow moving traffic, it is just not possible so it trundles past slowly and I have to have the low down racer look on a flower covered fashion scooter! It is hilarious. 

Carol got stopped by the Rozzers today while on our ride, however Carol being Carol had her camera on and recorded the whole incident. On a later viewing with Mr Boa it turns out that they were in fact waving us through and just wanted to be friendly. A few miles later and I was desperate for fuel so had to stop and ask another Rozzer who was delighted to help, when he stopped laughing he pointed to the petrol station next to the Police Station. It also turns out that they do not use the word petrol here, but rather the word Gasoline. My ridiculous mime of fuelling up his truck brought a large smile to his face as it dawned upon him what I was asking for.  

Once we got back from our ride, we decided to ask Mr Boa about going swimming and he directed us down to a place called the Monkey Temple hole, which turns out to be a resort complex full of German tourists. The river was slow moving and filled with fish and pond skaters. The noise was incredible with frogs, lizards and Monkeys all calling out. Watching wild monkeys jumping about in the trees was lovely, but Carol could not tempt me to swim in the cold water.

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