Lewis the Lion woke up to the rhythmic sound of rain against the hut. It was a very wet day.
After a delicious and filling breakfast, the group of adventurers were ready to go again on their exploration of the forest.
At the back of the group, Lewis the Lion hid in Helen’s bright pink waterproof jacket as she trekked through the jungle. It wasn’t an ideal colour for a raincoat as it meant the animals would have more of a chance of seeing her coming.
However, it was the only thing she had and my goodness did she need it as the heavens had truly opened! In spite of the wet, Lewis loved the sense of adventure as he and Helen traipsed through the expanse of green all around them. Helen even said that she felt like she was 6 years old again as she raced through the undergrowth and Lewis the Lion thought that was really funny because she was really much older than that!
Click here to get a sense of what Lewis felt.
On the plus side though, all the rain kept the mosquitoes at bay and Lewis the Lion and Helen didn’t even get one bite whilst they were in the jungle. That meant that they didn’t have to take any more malarial tablets when they got back from the jungle.
As on the previous day, the tracker continued to clear the way with his knife as he led the way for the group. Lewis thought he was a bit like Indiana Jones!
There was so much rain that very soon the ground was sodden and became extremely muddy.
Helen’s trainers took on a distinctive grey aspect and the mud on her trousers crept up to her knees! Lewis the Lion however loved the squelching sound as the group made their way through the forest, and loved the way that the plants and trees glistened with the raindrops.
Watch this clip to see how muddy the forest floor actually was!
Like the previous day, Lewis the Lion learnt so much about the incredible properties of the trees and plants around him. There seemed to be cures for all sorts of ailments and Lewis thought it was a shame that some of those plants couldn’t be used more commercially to help more people in the world with various illnesses. However, the forest trees and plants were protected and at the same time, Lewis knew that that was equally important for the environment of the planet.
What do you think about this?
Lewis the Lion was intrigued to see a tree with bright-red roots and asked the guide what it was?
To his surprise he discovered that it was in fact the açai tree. Do you remember how Lewis had enjoyed the açai berry when he was in Brazil? It was an exceedingly tall tree and Lewis learnt that you could actually use the roots too in a type of herbal tea.
The tracker then pointed out so many things of interest:
– a dead tarantula which was huge,
(Lewis the Lion was just glad that it wasn’t still alive or he might have been very afraid!).
– a strange shaped vine called “The Devil’s Stairway” – “L’escalera del diablo” and also another one from which you could extract clear, running water;
– an abandoned burrow (The tracker said it was empty because otherwise it would have had leaves covering the entrance.);
– another tree from which colour could be extracted as a dye;
– and Lewis got to taste one of the tasty nuts on the forest floor. He thought it tasted a bit like coconut.
Suddenly, the tracker stopped and listened. The whole group could hear it. It was a clicking noise and it was very close at hand. The tracker responded, mimicking the sound. He was sure it was the sound of animals cracking very hard nuts that are found on the forest floor.
The tracker quickly ran on in quick bursts and then stopped. He sniffed. Yes, there was a very distinctive smell that had been left in the forest. Lewis the Lion thought it smelt a bit like very strong pork paté! There were also fresh prints in the mud. The animals were very close by and you could hear them scurrying through the undergrowth and hear the rustle of the leaves as they tried to run away. They must have known that the group were also close at hand. Their movements were as quick as lightening as they scuttled from one part of the forest to the next. The tracker however had had years of practice and all of a sudden the group chanced upon a fleeting sight of a wild boar. Click here to see the high drama of the event.
A little further on, the tracker pointed out a huge termites’ nest that was quite low hanging.
He tapped it on the side and Lewis the Lion could see lots of termites scuttling out of the hole! He retracted quickly as he felt a little bit nervous with there being so many of them! Click here to see what Lewis saw. Most surprisingly, the tracker then ate some of the termites! He told the group that they were a good source of protein and so reluctantly, Helen gave way to the pressure of the group and tried them too! She was amazed to discover that they had a lemony taste! She was not expecting that!
As the group were drenched and so, so muddy by this point in the morning, Helen gave up caring that her feet were so wet as they plodded through a shallow, muddy swamp.
On the other side was what looked like a perfectly carved wooden boat.
It wasn’t but it was in fact the husk of some fruits.
Lewis the Lion thought that was very clever, just as he did when he saw one of nature’s very own hairbrushes!
The guide the showed the group a plant with a very strange property. The group had to simply chew one of its leaves. Within a couple of seconds, Helen felt the side of her tongue go numb!
The guide then laughed and Lewis the Lion joined in. He had tricked the group and not told them that this plant was one of the forest’s natural anaesthetics! What a cheeky guide!
Just then, a flash of darting orange caught the group’s attention. It was a big, red squirrel racing up the trunk of a very tall tree. Helen tried to take a picture but it was so quick-moving that the photo is rather blurred. Can you find the squirrel in the picture?
From there the group continued to trundle through the wet forest. Lewis the Lion just loved it! He reflected on the beauty of nature around him. He looked at the amazing patterns in nature such as this fallen leaf:
He just felt so privileged to be in the biggest rain-forest in the world and felt dwarfed by the big, glistening trees around him.
Time seemed to have rushed by and before Lewis the Lion knew where he was, he was back at the jungle encampment in time for lunch. His jungle adventure was nearly over but he felt a great surge of happiness within: he felt so incredibly lucky to have experienced the Amazon Rain-forest at first hand.
The adventure wasn’t quite over though as he still had the three hour boat-ride still to go in order to return to Rurrenabaque.
The day was still chilly but the cool breeze blowing through Lewis the Lion’s mane was very relaxing as he enjoyed the boat-trip back up the river. The river was exceedingly muddy probably because of the intense rainfall but luckily, as Lewis headed for home, it stopped raining.
As he journeyed along, he was surprised to see an alligator on the bank just as he had done the day before:
Likewise, he saw many squawking parrots flying above his head
and also saw many more wading birds, storks and even a pink flamingo.
Lewis the Lion was feeling rather tired by now and with the rocking of the boat and soothing breeze, he closed his eyes for forty-winks. In no time at all, the boat had docked again in Rurrenabaque and Helen and Lewis had to make fast-tracks to the airport office to catch their shuttle bus back to the airport. Helen just had time to change out of her muddy trousers and shoes before they had to leave for the airport.
This time however, Lewis the Lion discovered that there was a terminal building, albeit very small. This time, the airport staff were much stricter about the weight of luggage: the big rucksack in the hold could weigh no more than 15 kilograms and hand-luggage could weigh no more than 5 kilograms.
Helen had to therefore make sure that she’d drank her water and was wearing her hat, gloves and scarf on the flight! The airport tax was then paid and the passengers started to drift out of the building and on to the runway, waiting to board the small aeroplane to La Paz.
As Lewis the Lion waited patiently watching the luggage being loaded onto the flight,
he casually looked down at their boarding pass: he couldn’t believe it! They were sitting right in the very front in seat – 1A!
What an adventure! That would mean that he was as close as you can get to the pilots themselves.
As Lewis the Lion and Helen were some of the first passengers to board the small flight, they took some photos of Lewis posing and being a curious, cheeky cat! After all, he didn’t think it would be likely that you would get so close to a cockpit again!
Just because yet again, Lewis the Lion couldn’t quite believe how small this passenger flight was, he got Helen to take another picture of the people in the aircraft. It was unbelievably small!
To conclude, Lewis the Lion’s jungle adventure, he decided to do one more thing: he insisted that Helen took a video of the take-off in such a small aeroplane because he thought that for children who had never flown before, they might want to have a look to see what it’s like. So here is Lewis the Lion’s video clip of the flight take-off from the jungle. He hopes that you enjoy seeing and hearing what he did!