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In trouble again. A Journey Between the Orinoco and the Amazon

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DSC01896Edmon O’Hanlon. Vintage Books, New York 1990. Tapa Blanda 272 Págs. ISBN 0679727140. Estado: Muy Bueno.

O’Hanlon takes us into the bug-ridden rain forest between the Orinoco and the Amazon–infested with jaguars and piranhas, where men would kill over a bottle of ketchup and where the locals may be the most violent people on earth (next to hockey fans). The book describes O’Hanlon’s expedition into the remote Amazonas jungle of Venezuela. Although the term «expedition» is perhaps too strong a term to describe a trip with idiosyncratic guides and companions that frequently went awry. He also encounters frightening animals and inhabitants. As a treat, the Yanomami inserted a long blowpipe into his nostrils and blew in yoppo, a mind-altering drug, during an evening hanging out in one of their villages. He met the dreaded assassin beetle, carrier of Chagas Disease.

However, the misadventures are very entertaining. O’Hanlon woke one morning to find his testicles looking like a bunch of green grapes. They were covered in ticks from a tapir killed the previous evening for food. Apparently some ticks migrate to the genitals of a new host because they have learned that the genitals are the only part of the body that a tapir will not scrape against a tree to dislodge parasites.

Anyone who has travelled down the Amazon and into its jungles as a conventional tourist will recognise many of the things described in the book: palm trees covered in long thorns, eating piranhas, the sounds of frogs, fire ants, curare arrows and much more.

 

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