Fonte Boa, 25 December 2050
Looks like we aren't quite there yet. We have one more leg to go before we're on our own.
We are met at Fonte Boa's crumbling docks by a very English gent called Green. He's wearing one of those white suit and hat combos that you only see in ancient black and white flatvids. He is the perfect gentlemen, even helping me haul my bags to his van. Creeps me out so I sit in back with Dances while Finlay and Henry-Leon schmooze with him up front.
Green seems to think we are here for bird-watching or some bulldrek cover story. I've shot a few in my time but don't know much anything about different species, just what bits not to eat. He drops us at the crumbling town's only remaining accomodation to freshen up.
I take advantage of the shower and rinse out some of my clothes. I reckon this will be last chance to get clean before we get out of here with the flower. Green turns us up around 6 PM, just as it's getting dark and takes us out for a meal. The food is simple, but real. The jungle might be taking over but whatever magic is behind it makes the food taste great. Or maybe it's just that anything fresh is better than the pre-packaged soy and krill crap I normally eat.
It quickly becomes clear to me that Green knows we're no bird watchers and is fishing for information. Finlay and Leon try to keep up the facade, while Dances just makes their task more difficult. I just keep quiet and enjoy the food.
Towards the end of the evening, Finlay gets a call on the satellite phone. Only Zero has that number and we only just checked in with her so something is up. Finlay takes me aside and tells me that Zero thinks someone has broken into our garage. He makes a couple of calls and I use the sat-phone to drop a message to Sharif to see if maybe he can help out. But he's pretty much retired these days and it could be a day or so before he even checks the dropbox. Finlay finally gets ahold of one of his contacts through Martha and sends him over to babysit Zero. She wont like that and calls to tell him so a couple of hours later. From the way she's shouting at him over the phone, seems she's none the worse for wear.
Fonte Boa, 26 December 2050
We're up before dawn. The boys, all being ex-military, seem unfazed but this is way too early for me. Green takes us out of town to a hidden bay and a camouflaged seaplane. Seems he managed to keep if from being consficated by the locals and uses it for taking foreigners like us upriver. He keeps the plane low, skimming just over the treetops for most of the journey. It's like flying over a green carpet that stretches to the horizon in all directions.
He finally drops us off on a sandbank in the middle of the river. From now on it's all human power. Dances and Finlay take one canoe, me and Leon the other. We paddle for several hours upstream until the late afternoon then camp out on another sandbank, sleeping under the stars in the canoes just in case the water level rises.
Amazon river, 28 December 2050
I can feel the last two days of rowing in my meat arm, back and shoulders.
Earlier this morning I got caught with my pants down, literally. I had taken off a little from our camp and was hunkered down by a tree when I spotted this naked woman and kid lying in the branch of a big tree not fifty metres from where I was. The woman was staring straight at me. Then she shifts into a big cat, growls and picks up the baby before disappearing into the trees. I'd a wet my pants if they weren't already down round my ankles. Needless to say I finished up quick and hussled back to camp.
Now we're enjoying the company of some local natives. A bunch of them came canoeing downstream right at us this afternoon. Fortunately Dances has been studying up on the local lingo and was able to talk them out of killing or eating us or whatever. I had to eat some disgusting tree worm that made them all laugh and drink some of their local liquor. The stuff was so bad it actually made me glad I've mostly given up on the booze.