On being ... a jungle
On being … a jungle
By Ingrid Sapona
We’ve all heard people say, “it’s a jungle out there” in relation to the business world. Usually the expression’s invoked as a kind of vague warning that things will be hard and that you have to be tough to deal with them.
Recently, friends invited me to go with them to
I took a couple days to think about it and to do a little due diligence. My first order of business was finding
I also spent a couple hours in the travel section of a bookstore reading about
So, the big question was what the odds were of there being a hurricane while we’re there. Because I didn’t know how to quantify the odds, I decided not to worry about it. So, I said yes to my friends.
Before leaving we attended to things like what shots we’d need, and what to do about bug protection. I was especially interested when the doctor at the travel medicine clinic said there were only two types of mosquito bites to worry about: those that you might get at dawn and dusk, since they were the ones likely to cause malaria, and those that you might get during the day, since those could bring dengue fever. Great, no need to worry about bites I might get while sleeping, since they’d only cause itching.
So, armed with DEET and anti-malaria pills, off we went. We flew to Punta Gorda, the southern-most city in
When we reached the lodge, the hostess welcomed us and said she hopes we’ll enjoy our stay in the jungle. I must say, till that point, it never occurred to me that we were in the jungle. When I read the tour books about southern
At that point I began wondering what the difference is between a jungle and a rain forest. One thing I had read about was that there are howler monkeys in the area. (They’re harmless and it’s unlikely you’ll see them -- you’ll just hear their howl.) So, I figured, maybe monkeys are the difference between a rain forest and a jungle. I could live with that.
Later that afternoon we met some guests who were leaving the next day. They were brimming with excitement about all the great things they had experienced there. Though they told us all sorts of stories, I really only remember hearing one thing they said: that the two tarantulas in their hut took some getting used to, but it helped that they named them! Needless-to-say, I was quite sure that coping mechanism wouldn’t work for me.
Later I asked our hostess about tarantulas and she confirmed they occasionally have them, adding, “What do you expect? We’re in the jungle. Of course, if you find anything in your hut, tell us and we’ll take care of it.” Hmm… so should I be looking for them, or do they just magically appear? Neither option was welcome.
The next day when we went into town and changed money, I noticed the “native animals of
It rained a lot the second day we were there. So much so that the lovely river we had arrived on rose so high that the lodge’s dock was under water. Later that afternoon I learned that one of the lodge-hands had caught and killed a “such-and-such” snake while trying to raise the boat that was tied to the submerged dock. I confessed that I wasn’t familiar with that type of snake. That’s when I was told that such snakes are highly poisonous.
A poisonous water snake? Thankfully, no --
In the end, I’m sure my earlier-than-originally-planned departure seemed abrupt. I suspect the lodge’s hostess (and maybe my friends too) chalked it up to the scorpion we found in our hut over the bed next to mine the night before. But my decision wasn’t really the result of any particular danger. It was the sum total of all of them and the constant dread of not knowing where the next danger was lurking that was just too much for me.
Mind you, I have no regrets about going (or leaving) -- and the trip certainly wasn’t for naught. After all, from now on, any time someone so much as mutters “it’s a jungle out there” in reference to anything other than the real jungle, I’ll be able to set them straight!
© 2007 Ingrid Sapona