National Geographic : 2000 Mar
NOV. 22 A.M.... 36 hours offlying from Lincoln [Nebraska] to La Paz. Ears totally blocked. After one hour I get altitude sickness (the elevation here is 12,000 feet or so). Soldiers, machine guns, drug dogs sniffing luggage. NOV. 22 P.M.... Fly to a grass landing strip, then a three-hour boat ride to a camp that'll be my home in the jungle for the next three weeks. Two thatched huts, ten bearer-guides,one cook, and it's hotter than hell. Soaked in sweat every minute. My host, Rosa Maria Ruiz, digs a live botfly maggot out of her calf at the dinner table."Boro;' she shrugs. "It's nothing." NOV. 23... Things scream here all night. Birds and bugs, I'm told. So many species that each has developed a specialized call. One bird sounds like water pouring out of a bottle. Another like a digital alarm clock. The locals say palm trees here grow legs and walk to find more sunlight. NOV. 27 ... In town we visit a woman named Palmira, bedridden for six weeks with a stingray bite. "Stingrays hurt so badfor so long, I've seen grown men cry like babies," Rosa Maria says. NOV. 29... I touch a moth tonight, then wipe sweatfrom my face. I spend the next few hours with my face and ROSAMARIARUIZ A IJR lV/f"