With no chance to make it home for Christmas in the cards I decided to take the opportunity to get some jungle survival training from a local expert. Wilderness survival is something of hobby of mine because I fly over some very remote regions of the world and there’s always a chance that I’ll go down and suddenly find my self in a life or death situation. The Amazon jungle is among the most dangerous areas to fly over for a number of reasons. First thing you have to do if you go down in the jungle is survive the crash because most of the trees are over one hundred feet tall and after you stop impacting the trees you then fall ten stories to the ground. If you survive the crash you then have to be prepared to wait for a long time because most of the countries in South America don’t have much in the way of search and rescue operations so even if you manage to get off a mayday call you might be there a while.
Super Girl and I went up the Amazon river with a native guide who took us into the jungle and showed us how his people have survived in the area for thousands of years. I don’t have time to go over everything he taught us but one of the most interesting things, besides me eating a grub, was what the natives use for insect repellent. What they do is wake up an ants nest, stick your hand on it and let the ants crawl up your arm. When your arm is covered with ants you smash them with your hand and spread the juice over you skin. After we left the jungle we got chased off the river by one of the monster thunderstorms that pop up every afternoon. The training was great but I hope I never have to use it.
Well Super Girl and I finally put some good miles under us yesterday. We did the O dark thirty wake up, no breakfast get to the airport and go thing with just a few of the normal bureaucratic road blocks to slow things down. With good weather we flew from Capo Grande to Cuiaba, which was a blessedly fast gas and go, then on to Alta Floresta. There we got a new weather forecast that while wasn’t as bad as the afternoon before was still just so so. As I might have mentioned, in the Amazon their are very powerful thunder storms every afternoon and most pilots flying in this area call it a day about 3:00. About the time I was thinking I would maybe take a chance at it another ferry pilot walked into the weather office and said that he’d just come from Manaus and the the thunderstorms were thick as thieves and he was calling it a day. Now that sounded like a great idea because: number one, I love to spend time in out of the way place’s and meet the people, and number two hotels have beer. But that’s when SG pulled out the big guns because you see she has it in her mind that if she isn’t going to be at home for Christmas she damn well better be someplace cool and if that was going to happen we had better get on the road. “What’s the matter dad? Getting a little chicken in you’re old age?” Now I have a real problem and it’s called “can’t say no itis.” but it’s nothing compared to my problem with being called a pussy, epically by my daughter. Long story we made it to Manaus but the thunderstorm salomon course was fun.