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Laughter in the Amazon

Benny & Cade our crew out in South America sent us this story of fun they had in the Amazon during their trip out there.  – A crack of thunderous laughter exploded like a gunshot and emanated through the rolling hills of the Amazon. Forest animals scurried for the safety of their burrows, while birds previously perched atop trees instantaneously flocked to the skies. Our small, isolated camp was suddenly awash with people holding their stomachs and gasping for air in fits of uncontrolled laughter. Amid them, and at the very centre of all the commotion, stood Diz and Laura.

Both their shoulders were slumped as if they each bore over them the weight of a heavy old coat. Their arms dangled lifelessly by their side, while their heads hung sheepishly low. Atop their heads, their long hair hung like two wet towels over drying racks, concealing beneath what we could only assume were blushing red cheeks and faces of total concern.

The Amazon basin lowlands of Ecuador is said to be one of the most bio-diverse regions on earth. It is where swarms of insects and arachnids eagerly await their first opportunity to quench their thirst for tourist flesh; where beneath the canopies, the humidity is so great that it sends the sweat to continuously bubble on the forehead alongside the mercury in the thermometer; it is also where Diz and Laura had just learned that the smallest mistakes can prove costly.

Aside from being my two favourite past times, eating and sleeping would have to be high on the priority of requirements when spending three nights in such a harsh environment. As all our meals were to be prepared and provided by members of the Huarani community, this meant that our high priority at the moment was our sleeping arrangements. All of which the required necessities were brought into the jungle by ourselves.

We decided to take advantage of the fading daylight and collectively took to erecting our tents. It was at or around this time that both Diz and Laura simultaneously came to a shocking realisation.

It seems that in all their preparation and all their planning they had indeed packed their tent, which had been a good start. What they had failed to pack however, and had left back in the truck, was their tent poles. Without tent poles their tent would be rendered absolutely useless and they may as well sleep under a neon sign advertising them to all insects as “fresh meat”.

To be fair, despite being quite characteristic of the two of them, we all make these basic human-errors from time to time. These are the oversights that are common and do happen. However after spending the best part of four months travelling with this group in such a condensed environment, what Diz and Laura did next was what sociologists would diagnose as a ‘school-boy error’.

Like I said, in such a harsh environment, the smallest mistakes can prove costly and after travelling with a group of people for so long in such a close proximity, it is safe to say there are few environments that can be labelled more harsh. Unfortunately the mistake Diz and Laura made wasn’t the act of forgetting the tent poles but rather making what was later referred to as ‘the incident of the missing tent poles’ known to the rest of the group. Hence detonating the laughter-bomb, and sealing themselves as prime-targets for a weeks worth of wise-cracks.

The sun slowly sank along with any hope of making the 5 hour return journey down river to collect their poles. The laughter slowly subsided as the group slowly re-gathered themselves. It was then, after some time that Laura lifted her head and rolled up her proverbial sleeves to take it on the chin. Her hair parted revealing two very rosy cheeks and her very confident smile.

“So,” she said in her typically optimistic fashion “which one of you wants to be our big spoon?”

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