National Geographic : 1939 Jan
I KEPT HOUSE IN A JUNGLE Photograph by William Langley THE AUTHOR MEETS WAYFARERS PREPARED FOR SUDDEN RAINS As Mrs. Langley poses with the travelers, they keep hood and umbrella ready for action. Caught in a sudden heavy shower, they will be utterly nonchalant. The wet season extends from April to October, but downpours are frequent throughout the dry period. ment. But they will not let you pass their home without running into the path with some gift. Perhaps it is a bunch of lady fingers, bananas about three inches long, of a mouth-watering sweetness. It may be a cluster of creamy gardenias which grow luxuriantly in the plains, or again it may be only a great white disk of cassava, the Venezuelan substitute for bread (page 111). Whatever their offering, the spirit which prompts it comes from a friendly heart. One morning, while riding through the forest, we came upon a scene which caused even my horse to slacken his pace. In a cool grove of tall trees and tangled lianas stood a small thatched hut. Beyond the grove a giant tree sliced the sky, naked save for the most exquisite orchid plant I have ever seen. There it hung, like a rare jewel, with six or seven enormous white blooms. The sun spilled a thousand splinters of bright white light over the little bamboo hut. Myriad gleams flirted from the bold bril liance of bougainvillea bushes to the green mango trees which framed the doorway. From a crude charcoal stove the scent of cooking mingled with the heady fragrance of gardenias. The place presented such an inviting air that we were tempted to stop and rest our horses. No sooner had we dismounted, some twenty feet from the house, than a brown skinned, calico-clad native woman came running to greet us.