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Tuesday, April 11: Out of Beard, (James Beard club), 10:30PM, but home and phone taxi and record message and add clock and spare disk to stack and bed at 11:30!

Wednesday, April 12: Still awake at 12:45AM, so I take one Rohypnol and finally drop off about 1AM. Only five hours sleep to long-ringing alarm at 6AM. Dress and wash face and put last stuff (Traumeel) in bags and phone rings at 6:15 exact. 45 degrees across bridge and RECORD time to Newark: 6:20-6:47AM. NO one on lines, and get second flight window-seat. Sit in Gate 37 lounge across from SEXY dad and beautiful mom and three good kids. NUMB at 7:10 to write all this. Foggy driving in, but clearing as sun rises. Vaguely HUNGRY, but "snack" on two-hour flight to Charlotte. 7:25, still numb. Good seat 21F, CLEARING skies, and at 7:55 bother everyone by getting camera out of overhead bag. Blue sky shows! 1:30 flight announced. 8:28AM off, VERY bumpy, and most of FLIGHT is "choppy." Mostly clear and green. Snack of yogurt, raisins, cake and apple juice. Land at 9:55, sunny, to Gate 7C at 10:13, boarding time said to be 10:25, leaving at 10:55. Do puzzles until seating called, finish at 10:52. BIG guy squeezes into middle. Row 5 is JUST in front of jet, so 9A is NOT good for my return flight. Big guy bumped, less-big guy takes his place. Flight of 95 minutes. #6 Charlotte. #7 Clouds north of Miami. GOOD VIEWS of Tampa, St. Pete's, Fort Myers, swamps. #8 canal, roads, flatlands. #9 Miami suburbs and RAIN on the right. Off at 11:28 and land at 1:08, taking longer because we went down the WEST coast of Florida due to rain squalls along the EAST coast: which also meant I got to see more. Out at 1:15 and shit. Luggage moves from carousel 9 to carousel 10---and I'd thought I'd lost my tiny key in the john, but found it in my pocket. Get bag and phone: still Paul's message. Take the Blue Super-Shuttle #266 directly to Paul's for $15, call them the day before to get back to the airport for Lima. Get to the door and it's STILL Paul's message. Someone leaves me in, and I try ringing apartments 9 and 11 but there's no answer. What NOW? Try a helpful lady who lets me in when I stand waiting for the rain to stop, but she's back only fitfully. Lug the bags around the block to South Beach Stone Crab for a delicious fish sandwich with a small salad for $9, OK, but the Bud Lite for $5 was a bit much, and they DID include the tip in the bill. The gal says I can leave my bags THERE! Wander West to the Gay Film Festival venue, then back East to find (at long last) a tourist agency who books me into the Everglades at 8AM-5:45PM tomorrow for $49---all I have to do is tell them where to pick me up! Back to try again about 4:30, then sit in front of the Van Dyke to watch the people go by (not NEARLY as sexy as the crew that muscled past while I was having lunch, however), but then it starts to darken and cool off and I'm afraid of rain again, so I try one last time at 5:55 and there's STILL no Dick (has he something AGAINST me??). Went around corner on Collins to the Berkeley Shore Hotel, who'd quoted me $50 for a room, and LUGGED the bags from the Crab House the MANY blocks, back KILLING me and KNEE beginning to go and VERY sweaty. She gives me a choice of two rooms, but 315 has only one straight window rather than a corner one, and the head of the bed is farther away, so I take that rather than 314. When I present my Visa card she demands cash, but accepts that I go up to unpack to get cash from my bag. My "new" shorts are BROWN with slit-shit, so I soap it up while it's still moist and put it on the table to dry along with my undershirt, single long-sleeved (gray) shirt, and pants. Sort things back and forth: camera bag with cash and passport and plane tickets for the tour tomorrow, blue bag with most everything else, and get out the Smith Corona Notebook about 7PM and go to work on this until 7:30, time to eat at last and get to bed early to get up early to go on the tour early---though NOT so bad as the 7:AM for the $59 Key West tour I might take Friday---depending on if Dick has anything to suggest, but I bet he doesn't. Decide to risk leaving this out when leaving room, to finish when I get back from dinner. But I put it away anyway. Evening is much cooler, though the big thermometer still reads 82 degrees (though another DOES admit to 75). Some restaurants are JAMMED, some are EMPTY, as is the Philly Cheesesteak place, but I sit down anyway to watch the animosity between the white (Portuguese?) host and the black waiter-with-attitude. Have a 16-ounce glass of the Honey Brown Draft, quite mild, not at all bitter, but the ribs have NO sauce until the host repeats (for the third time) "Sa-usss", difficult to understand with its unusual two syllables, and he brings me a bottle of A1, which I practically empty. The people are incredible: no two guys holding hands, as two did this afternoon, but many older couples (honeymooners nonetheless?) are, as are more typical young 'uns. Not QUITE so many muscles as this afternoon, but still EXTRAORDINARY: in-line skater, shirtless, obscured by my waiter at the worst moment; a real over-built professional with a floozy; two young ones who you really CAN'T tell are built up for MEN or for WOMEN. Like the guy "on my block" with a blue-eyed husky, talking with a girl, with such GREAT arms that I was clearly staring so he glanced over at me and said "Hello?" What was I supposed to do? I ignored him. Seemed the only thing to do. Bicyclists, however, should be banned, since they endanger everyone including themselves. Skaters, rollerboarders in a small minority, college students, an average guy with an above-average Jack Russell at which EVERYONE looked. Straight ones, wanting to be stared at, who seemed to resent being stared at. Perfectly awful women: the stringy blonde with the yellow sweater and pink toreador pants? The awful makeup and straw-like black hair? The mini-skirt, as memorably immoralized in The New Yorker, "up to her ying-yang." More than usual, even compared with NYC, crazies talking to themselves, to others, always belligerent, angry, sad, and OLD! So I paid my bill and got up to see if Dick was in YET, at 9:15PM, but he wasn't, so I continued on 17th, looking at the Convention Center Theater which seemed to be doing SOMETHING, and the ship-like City Hall. Priced some off-Collins hotels just to check: one was $68 plus tax, another was just $60, and the San Juan didn't take singles, but their DOUBLE ROOM was $59! NOT per person! Continued back toward the hotel, thinking maybe to take a video-------WHERE WAS MY SHOULDERBAG!!! My GOD, I left it on the chair at the restaurant! Right on the street! I RACED back, heart in my throat: I'd LOADED it with ALL my cash, my passport (with my Brazilian visa, of course), my video camera and tape, my camera and telephoto lens and umbrella: OH, it just HAD to be there! DASH back, NO one outside. Inside to a fat black who said no one left nothing nowhere. Out to look for the white help----and he gets up from a table in the back and waves his arms and says "I wondered when you'd be back for it!" I could have kissed him. I SHOULD have kissed him. I WANTED to kiss him!! He went inside and got it from under a table near the window, obviously unopened. I thanked him, walked half a block away, then walked half a block back to root him out of his table and give him a $10 bill, which he said I didn't have to do, but I said I really wanted to THANK him! WHAT A RELIEF!!! Back toward hotel and I can't resist tasting the Zabaione Parmelat Gelati, compare with the Amaretto, and pay $2.93 for a too-big cup of it, but it WAS good. As was the cold water from their fountain afterward. Took some video of the (I'm now at line 101, WHEN does the SYSTEM start a new page?) Lincoln Mall, and also of my hotel. Back to find that the toilet flush seems to keep the bathroom floor wet. My shirt is almost dry but my underwear is still quite wet. Stopped by the Travel guy who says they'll pick me up at 9:30AM, not seeming to understand that this is NOT better than leaving at 8AM, but he then FINALLY says they'll be back later than 5:30---"The air-boats just weren't running that early." It better NOT be that awful Alligator farm trip! I'm so tacky from sweating that I just HAVE to take a shower, even though it's 10:40PM and I'm QUITE tired. Shower isn't bad, but floor is awfully wet. Get into bed about 11:15 and get pretty quickly to sleep.

Thursday, April 13: Wake at 1AM, again at 2AM, again at 4AM, but have no trouble getting back to sleep. Despite the awful character of the Berkeley Shore Hotel, it's quiet and the room is dark. But at 7AM it's light, so I get up to pee, bathroom floor 80% dry, shorts 90% dry, and working noises start to build up outside. Up at 7:45 to update this, a fresh breeze flowing into the room, but it still probably might rain today. Lots of luggage updating to do, breakfast to have, Dick to try AGAIN, and wait for ride at 9:30AM. (Now 7:07PM and I'm FINALLY in the apartment! With two gin and tonics under my belt, and Dick so apologetic that HE'S willing to pay for dinner, I'm HAPPY! Now there seems to be SOME point to having made the decision to come to Miami for a few days in the FIRST place! The kindly Brazilian woman at the Berkeley Shore Hotel who let me use her (not working) john when I needed to pee, and kept my bags until I finally got in touch with Dick at 5:55PM, and then I grabbed a cab for $4, with a generous tip of 754, with my bags, and GOT IN, and listened to Dick talk about his two children, both black (one Jamaican, one American), both in the Civil Service, one going to Ethiopia with her three children! Lots of stories, and he puts out the comfortable-looking futon, and he doesn't mind my leaving at 7:20 in the morning tomorrow, so things are looking GOOD! Now at 7:11 I'll get off this so that HE can set the pace for going to dinner. He suggested Sushi Siam, where I had the good duck with cashews, peas, and mushrooms and he had the swan-wrapped seafood combination. Show him the Berkeley Shore Hotel, but he doesn't seem to resonate to the girl from Parana, though we have fun comparing notes about Sete Quedas. Sit on the steps a bit, but my eyes start stinging from the SPF 15 lotion, so we get back about 9:53 and I wash my face with pleasure, then shit and shower, taking advantage of Paul's sybaritic three side-shower heads that can be set central or fine as one wishes. I told Dick "You could do a good psychological analysis based on who directs what where." Wash my AGAIN shit-stained shorts and wear them to dry them while my hair dries and I type this from 10:20PM, conscious that I'll have to be waiting at the front door in just nine hours.) 9AM: Morning's GRIM: sun starts upping temperature and humidity by 8AM! Dick not in at 8:30AM. Hardly anyplace open and few places to EAT but pricey Cafe Americas, rock-bottom "Munchies," with flocks of blacks, bums, bickering bitches, and the blasted by years in the sun. EVERY table and chair I choose TILTS on three legs and a short fourth. LOTS of busses, some full, mostly empty. Spanish jitney-driver "Goes five blocks in ten minutes." Elian in all headlines. Old, fat, painted whore sits, hoping. NO seats. Elders perch on McDonald's ledge while Spanish babble. SMOKING near every outdoor seating. My right little TOE hurts at the start of the day, but it wanes. BOTH knees hurt! Awful! Breakfast of "Big Breakfast" is $2.29 and medium fruit juice (not bad) for $3.67. I find I forgot my Naproxen! LOUD Spanish arguing. To room at 9:15, find and use sunscreen, after washing face and taking last of toilet paper for back pocket. Get two bags repacked and down to lobby closet (woman is Brazilian) at 9:40. Sit and write and hopeful white truck pulls up outside. HUMID as I sip last of McDonald's ice and write. Read nothing paper. "Giselle" showing Saturday night at 8PM at the Convention Center. l9:50AM, start to fret! 9:55 I ask desk to phone: "654 from here, 354 outside." Well, I phone 354 outside and get a MESSAGE, but at 10AM a Safari Tours bus pulls up at hotel at last. On back seat with Spanish ma and fidgety daughter. Pick up two more to be jammed in at 12 of us. BUT we stop at central station, two get off and I CAN'T have front seat. Sit in heat 10:15-10:30, palms and deep green grass all over. Doves and calls of stranger birds. Huge apartment buildings, but what do these people DO here? Haven't seen BEACH yet. GET front seat: "Guy didn't show up." "My arthritis thanks you." Out southwest to Miccosukee Tribe Bingo and Gaming on Route 41. "High 82, down to 74 degrees, rain likely," on radio. Stop for gas 10:55-11. Along SAME canal I shot from air, as we retraced road past airport. Light air conditioning in car. Girl in back (and I) cough a lot. Dark clouds and hawks (vulture?) hover. Have umbrella. Sunglasses on. To Gator Farm 11:10, airboat 11:15-11:45, lots of great videos except for GREAT fish and turtles. $2.50 beer and $8 alligator tail sandwich, "Show" of scorpion, cockatoo, caiman, alligator "wrestle", turtles (dent in HIS shell to stay on HER). 12:25 wait for sandwich, gotten at 12:45 and GULPED down (not that great) and leave for HOTEL at 1:05, getting in at 1:48: "Shortest 8AM-5:30 tour I ever took." No Dick! Through Loew's (shops, fountains, pools) to beach and take #19, LAST of Roll 1, of new hotels. Tram 2:30-2:45. WELL! So I'll waste day sitting on Lincoln Mall. Buzz 010 to get Paul's number and call HIM to TRY to learn of DICK! AT 3, GET Paul's number, find a phone and get----his machine! This IS new: a DOG (greyhound-type) with an AMBER GEM set into its forehead! Finally, at 4PM, I GET Paul: DICK CALLED THIS morning and should be here about 4PM! Call him HOME and it's still machine. At least I know SOMETHING! Try again 4:40, still no answer, but I go to SECOND tour office and book Key West tour tomorrow from 1698 Jefferson at 7:20AM, back about 10PM! DO stop for breakfast! Back to Berkeley to pee at 5:10 and WAIT to 5:20, but still no answer. Go through Loew's again to see FIRST PERSON (sexy guy with big crotch) actually IN the ocean, even though most people have left the beach. The huge cruise ship Imagination sails out and I video coast again and try to photo seaweed-encrusted waves, but I don't think I succeed. Catch up on old notes now, having tried to dry my shorts by sitting in them on my pants on the chair, but succeeded only in wetting my pants. Took two glasses of water from the cold-water jug in the fridge, and will take another with my Pravachol. Then to sleep by 11PM, I hope, to wake at 7AM.

Friday, April 14: Wake at 12 and 1, then phone rings three different times for Paul about 3AM. Wake at 4 and 6, and get up and brush teeth and put stuff in bathroom and toilet paper in my bag and my slit! Drink water and get out at 7:15 in cool humidity to wait for pickup. Pickup ON JEfferson as I WAVE DOWN car at 7:38AM, last one on. Highway jammed and we get "free" tour of Coral Gables. Starts POURING rain. Parisian couple next to me say this is VERY unusual for Miami this time of year. On Islamorada we stop at Treasure Village for "Tourist Breakfast" of croissant, ham, scrambled eggs, Swiss cheese, potatoes, and orange drink for $6.68. Stop 9:25-10:02, group REMARKABLY good. Noon: South Point: "27 southernmost businesses." $18 for Trolley tour, stop #3 for Truman Annex/Museum at 12:45. $8 ticket for tour starting 1:02. Courtly Burl Ives-type talks wonderfully: Truman CHANGE to Great Seal of the President: eagle looks to olive branch (peace) from arrows (war) in talons. To 2:02 EXACT. I must say I feel bit guilty with HIM (from New York, yet) with my "no tipping" policy, but when I think the Trolley is overcharged at $18, the tour too much for $8, I'm not going to ADD to the criticism by paying MORE for it. The COMPANY should pay the people who give the service, and if they don't, well, QUIT. My argument includes the fact that I do very good work and I don't get tipped at ALL! Wait to 2:25 for bus, which even then turns out to be "in the middle" to take care of extra traffic, otherwise I would have had to wait for the full half-hour. One, empty, passed me by just after I got to stop, which made me angry. Around WHOLE circuit to 3:45, then get a $3 pina colada and a $3 raspberry/rum "bastard" (or some such opprobrious name) for both of which I DO leave a $2 tip to the outrageously gay bartender who impressed me from the start when I tried the door and THOUGHT it was locked, but he came over and pulled it open for me since it had only been stuck and he saw that I clearly would wait for the person to come out before trying it again. The family of four with the Vietnamese father and the (possibly) Philippine mother and two kids not back til 4:10, and then he must get cash because no one told the DRIVER that there would be final payments with credit cards. I spent over $100 that day and find this morning that I have ONLY $500 in cash left (but with 25 singles, 5 fives, a couple of tens for change for the Amazon itself), so I'm REALLY glad I got the $200 "extra" in cash from the bank. We're still sitting at 4:17, though we do leave at 4:18. Lucky that it really didn't rain while we were on the tour, but I'm sorry I didn't have a chance to do the Lighthouse Museum and the prize-winning Golden Giraffe key-lime pie. At 6:15 we're at Islamorada again for a twenty-minute stop to 6:40 during which I have a slice of pizza with pepperoni for $2.69 which I eat while watching the school of hundreds of little fish and the groupings of eight or nine types of medium-sized fish and a distant schooling of dozens of foot-long "other" fish swimming in the seaweed-murky waters. Then at the awful Cuban place about twenty minutes later I had a Yerba Mate soda, essentially the same as creme soda, for $1 on the counter. Don't feel like experimenting with a fuller meal, yet I'll have to get something to eat when I get back to Miami. Sad trip all in all, and I don't feel terribly enthusiastic about signing up for a city street-and-boat tour combination for tomorrow. With the rain and the uncertainty about where I was staying, Miami turned out not really to be worth the $250 or so that I saved by coming down on Wednesday rather than Friday. Leave the Cuban restaurant at 7:40, and shreds of a beautiful sunset appear to our rear left as we turn up out of the Everglades just past 8. I'm not fulfilling his fantasies as a "good co-pilot" by having endless interesting conversation with him after I turned everyone off by saying that I couldn't see any reason for having ANY opinion on things that I couldn't do anything about like the O.J.Simpson trial and the Elian case which of course was mentioned. But he didn't seem to be falling asleep, the sunset-light continued past 8:30 as the miles unwound into the lights of Miami and we went north to 95th to let off the foursome in elegant Bal Harbor, the others down along the way to his letting me off at 9:40PM at the corner. Buzz Dick twice, but he appeared not to hear me, but buzzed me in anyway and then went down the stairs so that I could pass him in the elevator and beat him back to the apartment. Chat about our days, he says he'll call a friend in the morning to check out the possible Salvador Dali Museum in Fort Lauderdale, but the next morning when I check a guidebook and he checks a friend and Paul, I conclude that it's probably in Jacksonville, which I always confuse positionally with Fort Lauderdale. Shower at 10:40PM and drink lots of cold water---oh, out to "elegant Burger King" for a whopper and a medium Dr. Pepper for $4.85, or something, with a depressing young female nut-case who appeared to be trying to make some sort of social contact in the worst possible way, shouting goodnight to Mr. Jackson, and intimidating someone she may have known into giving her the time of night. I ate in a depression and left to tell Dick about it, who admitted that it had a pretty scruffy late-night crowd. Bed about 11:20PM, having the wit to turn the louvers on the blinds the other direction so that the bright lights from neighboring buildings didn't shine into my eyes, and got rather more quickly to sleep.

Saturday, April 15: Wake about 7AM and lay, thinking gloomily, until about 7:40, when I'm up to shit just a bit and sort out my pills and comb my hair and get dressed by 8AM, when Dick's up and we get out to a local Cuban breakfast place where I pay $11.85 plus about $1.70 in tip for scrambled eggs, Cuban cafe con leche (actually not bad) and Cuban toast (better with jam) and overdone bacon. We chat about growing old and get back for him to shower and talk on the phone and get things set while I catch up on my notes (having worked on reorganizing my luggage AGAIN this morning, at last starting a "souvenir" bag to put "past" things into, already substantial with gay stuff from Miami for keeping, and finish with this to date at 10AM, wondering whether in fact Dick will take me up to Fort Lauderdale where I'll be content to look at the Science Museum until he's ready to pick me up for the return to Miami Beach, OR whether I'll be content to re-see the Norton Museum, since the Dali is no longer an option. Leaving tomorrow night, so only five more Florida meals to wonder about. I'm just feeling TIRED and DEPRESSED and looking forward to the AMAZON part of the trip, though, as day before yesterday had an excellent air-boat ride, and yesterday had the Truman Museum, today will bring SOMETHING of note, as will tomorrow, and then the trip will continue. Though this was a burden to lug along so far, I AM glad I have this laptop with me! Nothing more to say at 10:04AM.) I suggest the Metrozoo and he said that he'd been there only years ago and that he and Paul BOTH liked zoos, so he'd like to go! We get into his truck and drive down I95 to the end and get onto Route 1 to SW 152nd Street and follow directions to the Zoo. Have a discount for $7 from the guide-map, and there IS no senior admission fee, so I pay $14.95 for the both of us at 11:05AM. The maps show it as quite large, and we admire the Bengal tiger which paws at its entrance to the faux-Cambodian temple, the swinging gibbons, the unknown anoa, the former site of the Wings of Asia, blown down by Hurricane Andrew a few years ago, and talk a long time to the volunteer with the parrots (macaws, cockatoos, cockatiels, and others are ALL parrots), petting the sheep and pigs in the meantime, and by then it's almost 1PM and time for the Ecology Theatre in the Children's zoo. We get introduced to the Blue Skink and the King Snake (which eats other snakes) and sneak out at 1:25 to continue around the elephants, rhinoceros, lion, onagers, camels, oryxes, most of which are lying as individuals in the noonday sun. Stop for an arepa for $3.50, which Dick insists on paying, mozzarella encased in fried sweet-cornmeal, and that with a cold $1 grape soda serves for lunch. Great videos of guy throwing coconuts to the chimpanzees, a huge silverback gorilla, giraffe and ostriches feeding off the same branch, a black rhino wallowing in mud, and we catch the Monorail back to the entrance where Dick says he'll wait while I finish up with the duikers and the keeper feeding vegetables and fruit to the Aldabra (bigger?) and Galapagos tortoises, ageless literally!, and around to the wallaby, tree kangaroo, and a surprise addition: a koala who poses for me and drops back off to sleep. The dama gazelle is wonderfully beautiful, and I take a last pee and guzzle water and get back to the car about 4PM to drive back to town, where Dick thinks he might stop off to see his mother in the home, but then says he's too tired to do so, but he's willing to drop me off at the Jackie Gleason Theatre box office for me to pick up a $45 orchestra seat for tonight's "Giselle." Walk back and let myself in with his housekey while he lets himself in by way of the garage, and we're both tired enough to drop off for a rest at 5:20PM. I'm up about 6:30 to try to shit and can't, then type this to 6:50, ready to re-dress for the show, though Dick implies he won't be here to meet me for a late dinner, and Kristine, a drag-queen, returns his call so he'll be busy tomorrow afternoon. He agrees to let the apartment-door key under the mat (how original!) if he's not here when I phone after the ballet. Four meals left! Sit and mope on the toilet, but the zoo was GOOD today, and the Bass Art Collection will probably be worthwhile tomorrow as a time-filler. Out to the Jackie Gleason Theatre at 7:20, with policemen stopping traffic to allow balletomanes to cross the street unhindered. Lots of older people with canes and walkers, quite a mix of gay, straight, married, single, white, Hispanic in the audience, which is surveyed as they enter. Elevator to the third floor to look out over the cavernous red-gold theater with great amphitheater seating sight-lines. Only one program for family, and maybe 2950 seats sold in the 2900-seat theater for the two performances, "but tomorrow matinee will probably have more children." Open my program and it's Nicolaj Hubbe instead of Charles Askegarde!!! Totally delighted! Maybe 2/3 the orchestra fills by the time the lights dim at 8:15 for the first act, and of course the scenery is applauded the INSTANT the curtain leaves the floor. Hubbe comes on and NO ONE applauds: either they don't know him, or that's not what's done here. Then Dagmar Moradillos appears and there's a STORM of applause---THAT'S how it'll go! She dances a few steps and takes a very solid balance in arabesque, and some faggot to my right lets out a throaty ROAR, followed by scattered applause. The "villagers" will clearly quickly die out: there are about 30 women but only FIVE men to be seen. Michael Cusumano is young and could be cute, but his legs are flabby and his crotch awkwardly stuffed. His partner in the Peasant Pas de Deux is thicker than he is, and he clearly wouldn't be able to lift her, and in fact he never does. She's not bad, but just too padded. Dagmar actually isn't bad: hard to tell how old she is, somewhere between 40 and 60, I guess, but she has good balances and turns, and fast footwork in the second act is truly marvelously accomplished. Hubbe doesn't have much to do, but after Dagmar gets thunderous applause by falling dead on her back in the first act VERY swiftly, HE gets applause by his prostration-collapse before he's saved in the second act. The wilis actually manage to do most things in unison, and of course my favorite passage is obliterated by applause for the flat-footed unison-hopping wilis. Her acting is pretty good, his body, legs particularly, are fabulous, and his face is even better: INCREDIBLE sexy looks. Large applause at the end at 10:15, even though he's not permitted a SINGLE solo bow, only with HER at his side. She gets this altar-bouquet that could cover a catafalque. Out to a large frog hopping across the entrance-way and RAIN. Figure it HAS to slow or stop soon, so I wait until 10:35 and it stops enough that I can dash back to the apartment and only get slightly damp. No key, and Dick's home; he's eaten, but is willing to go with me for a drink while I eat. I take two stiff gin and tonics "for medicinal purposes only, you understand." Then he suggests the Lincoln Road Cafe just around the corner, a Cuban restaurant that does have a chicken soup that I order, and it's JUST what I want, not feeling really hungry but having to eat before bed. I order a glass of sangria, then Dick changes his beer to a sangria, so we decide to have a pitcher, and I ask if they can make it white. The grandmotherly type says no, but a guy comes up next to her and says "Of course we can." "Are you the owner?" "No, I'm the owner's boyfriend." I remark to Dick that everyone seems to be gay down here, and only the next morning, on replaying the conversation, do I realize that the owner's probably a WOMAN, and he's HER boyfriend! Dick followed the same line of logic. Order the seranno ham and manchega cheese, which is rather like swiss, and with the pitted black olives and the seven or eight glasses of potent sangria it's quite perfect. Close the place about midnight and back to FALL into bed about 12:45, totally sozzled, hoping I don't have a hangover tomorrow: last day of Florida!

Sunday, April 16: Wake about 4:30 to try to shit, but can't, then at 8 to lay until 9, when I try and finally squeeze out a hard turd while Dick talks to Paul about replacing neon bulbs in DC. Feel rather woozy, but Dick wants to go to breakfast, so we're out about 9:40 to Van Dyke for me to have a bowl of fruit and a glass of water and Dick to have an American breakfast, my treat, though he wants to pay for it. FORGOT to get the Times, but when we're back to the Van Dyke, they don't have it, but recommend the bookshop, which does have multiple copies for $4. Dick picks up two local papers for $2.30. Back about 10:45 to remind myself to locate the Lariam for tonight, which is hard to find even though it is in the bottom of my dop kit. Then ask Dick about the phone number for the Super Shuttle to the airport and he volunteers to TAKE me!! He might take me early, which is perfectly OK with me. GREAT! I type the first of the entries into the DREAMS file, and finish up with this at 11:46, GOT to clean my teeth! Last night he showed me FAGENT: Free Agent, which he said was a good free download program. 4/16: 1:03AM note (drunken): The Mandelbrot Set IS the Glass Bead Game!!! I view TV while brushing teeth, and watch a good program on Wagner until it goes off at 12:30, and I switch to "Dead Bolt", with Adam Baldwin as a madman keeping some woman prisoner until she gives him botulism. That's over at 2PM and I get out to see the Bass Museum at 22nd to find that it's closed for enlargement! Stop in a Wolfie's for a cup of mushroom barley soup and a scoop of tuna salad with rye bread and salad, then go to the Beach for a final look, buy Butler brushes and Odor Destroyers ("stronger than OdorEaters") at the corner shop, and get back to Dick's street about 4PM to see him in his truck on the way to his mother's, so I join him, seeing their old apartment overlooking the Inland Waterway, and say hello to his mother, who instantly complains about a sore behind. I leave and sit outside watching a (former CIA agent given Alzheimer's by the Agency) woman walking her Scottie, a man in a red shirt staring at the sky (and ignoring the jets flying directly overhead), other women wandering, and feel VERY depressed, even though the environment is 100% better than Pope's Brooklyn Nursing Home. Back at 5 and I shower and Dick goes out somewhere. I lie down (but only fret about flights and trip) and up about 5:50 to finish this. (Just checking, now at 7:11PM 4/19, that this DOES work in my cabin!) (Now all I have to do is find the sheets that I wrote between then and now!) (and find, at 7:15, page 3 of the Cite notes:) Pack, read Times and Sun, drink at 8, chat, leave 8:30, onto AA line at 9PM, WITH Marine Expedition greeter. Get 9J window by 9:38. Go to gate, find that I don't have to check in, and decide to find someplace to eat. Find the "quick pizza" shop, but HOPE to find something better than that, so I wearily lug my heavy shoulderbag---and ENGINES start MOVING us at 7:20PM! At 10:40 TOTAL madness: NO Lariam in box! Off at 11:50, for 5:10 flight, due into Lima at 4AM. Lights of Miami and Keys.

Monday, April 17: Take Rohypnol, but can't sleep. Window is BACK of seat! Bright clouds under moon. "Galaxy Quest" garbled, since I probably dozed off during a lot of it, but none of it made any sense. At 3:30AM get snack to 3:40. 78 minutes to go, about 1/4. At 4:38 we're landing in 10 minutes. Land at 4:49. Quick in, to luggage at 5:03, numbish. Onto (too small) bus at 5:30, getting the last seat next to an unpleasant old single man: Nuger, whom I hope I don't have to share with. She asks to collect our Iquitos tickets and says she expected 28 people but has 58 to take care of. An air conditioned bus comes in at 6AM by my watch, 5AM Lima time, quite dark out. Second bus arrives at 5:02, and at 5:19 she goes to check Iquitos tickets with us all waiting for her. We're to leave hotel at 8:30. At 5:44 bus leaves, and into room at 6:15. GOOD buffet at the Sheraton Hotel 6:30-6:48, when I change my watch. Rest. Down at 8:10, bus at 8:32, and it leaves at 8:42. At 9:50 at the customs stop the guy RIPS the bottom button off my camera, but at least he has brown tape to keep it in place. I figure that 12F is probably over the wing when she hands out boarding passes and I ask for a window. Oh, and Sheila and Seymour and "I'm Gay," (Oh, so am I!) go LATE outside to find BOTH busses gone! They catch a taxi into the city for $30 which they're going to try to get back from Marine Expeditions. #13 and 14: Lima has 8 million people! Off at 10:24, land at 11:51, "Another on-time TACA flight," which is actually better attended and served that the American Airlines flight. Lots of shots of snow on the Andes and mountain rivers that will eventually flow into the Amazon. FIND my "lost" Lariam in a PILL BOX! The point off Lima was Callao, and Isla El Fronton is built up while Isla San Lorenzo is farther out and rocky. From a map in the Iquitos airport I see that most of the river I'd photographed was the Rio Ucayali. Taxi hawkers and hotel pushers outside Iquitos airport too. We're divided into two groups, people and luggage. Board bus for group of 48 at 12:30 with the other 14 going to another camp. They didn't get to the zoo, I later find out. It's 90 degrees and very humid. Kids selling stuff and begging. #3 is the Eiffel House, made of iron. We're to meet at 4PM. Boat from 1:10-1:50, and they have two singles on the list and FIVE in the group! Lunch with SEXY Steve from Colorado and Carol and someone from Oklahoma to 3:15. Then we're told that the 4PM meeting is cancelled and we're going to a walk at 6PM. Rest from 5:15-6 and we're on a NIGHT BOAT from 6-8PM! Dinner 8:05-8:50. We're to be wakened at 7:30, breakfast is at 8. Bed at 9PM and get to sleep quick.

Tuesday, April 18: Pee at 3:15, wake at 6:15, water pump rumbles on at 7AM, up at 7:30, shit a bit, shoes ALMOST dry from walking in the blackened lawn-lake last night. (Start of sheet 5): Breakfast to 8:30, cocola juice, like little tomato, tasting like weak orange juice. Someone tells me this is the ONLY Iquitos-Belem trip! SAGA tour for $1500 to Thailand was good for the Yanofskis, and Skip Williams does the best Copper Canyon tour. At 9AM we're to the Boras Camp on the Momon River to Nanay River to the Amazon. #13 mouth of Nanay (black) to Amazon (brown)---this MOVED 35 miles 8 years ago. From Iquitos is 2300 miles to Belem. Up Amazon to Iraya River, past Iquitos. In Leticia, Brazil, this is known as the Solimoes. At Manaus the river is 150 meters deep and 8-12 miles wide. Breadfruit tree sap heals broken bones. Five days upriver to Pucallpa and overnight bus to Lima. #16 sinking former city hall, occupied for only four years, taken FROM middle of river, DRY for Millenium party! FIRST fireworks in Iquitos! $60/couple included drinks, food, and a 5AM breakfast, which included a soup of cilantro and walking catfish for hangovers. Floating villagers like "Snickers." Candy bars? No, SNEAKERS! DRY thatch roofs last five years, but wet ones go in three months from fungus. The river is highest NOW, but last year was four meters HIGHER! People had to move to their second floors and live with their cattle who had nowhere to go! Floating village of Belen to 11AM, and PINK dolphins surface at 11:20, surprising even cute Ricky, our guide. I note that I should have EVALUATED film: Floating village at end of #3, Seattle 200, FLANKED by two Seattle (or Sensia, since one in NOW is 36?) 400 (#2 AND #4). Seattle 200 #1 started in camera. 12:25 back, STARVED and needing to pee. #5 and #6 will be Sensia 400 (#4 BETTER be Seattle 400 when I take it out, but it has 36 pictures!!). Lunch (with beer) from 12:55-1:50, walk to 2, RAIN. Tour 3-3:13, at which time I FILM MARMOSETS! #5 Cecropia flower. Four awkward dances, selling, and thunder at 4:30 so I try going back, go STRAIGHT, not right, and get LOST! Try not to panic when I see logs across two streams and then a clearing which I don't remember passing on the way in. Back at 4:39 to Yagua huts at 4:48, no one's THERE! Guy takes me back, I give him $1, though I think he was returning anyway, from seeing his girlfriend? Have gin and tonic and hear of shower-taking, so I TAKE one to 6:10, as wet after as before, in last clean shirt, in darkening lightless room, and only three meals left in steamy dining room. Dinner 7-8:15, with birthday, THEN music! to 8:50. Bed at 9:05, with wakeup call scheduled for 5:15. Up twice for "false door-knocking" sound by either bird or monkey who bothered everyone.

Wednesday, April 19: Pee at 3:10, wake-knock at 5:10, cock-crow before, pump-sound (I STILL have no water!) after. Rained much of night. Shirt still damp. Still no water at 5:25. Feel VERY tired. COLORFUL: Boa was first photo, DULL, anaconda second photo. It was a COATI that Steve scratched nose with eyes closed. WOOLY monkeys and Marguay cat. Glimpse of toucanette with a big bill. Fried eggs for breakfast (entree order: walking catfish, chicken, beef, fried catfish). Gave $5 to "Staff" for tip and $10 to Ricky, who must have gotten a PILE of cash for his two days work! (Start note 6) Brush teeth and Grandma is reading "Edwina Mountbatten" from 1991! To town 12:30-1:15. Boat is BIG. CITY tour 1:30-2:30, El Dorado only five-star hotel. Look at menu, buy 10S ayahuasca and 5S anti-arthritis for $4. To boat 3:55-4:10, ALONE in room 427! Right in MIDDLE of ship! Brad is leader, Juan is Manager. Good buffet and drinks. TALK to 6:45. Leave at 7:15, lifeboat drill at 7:35, dinner 8-9:15. Turn air conditioner down, turn sound off? (No, I didn't) Bed at 9:30, TIRED. More ship LISTING than expected. Pee at 11:50PM.

Thursday, April 20: Pee at 3:15, up at 5:30, read "Expeditions" book to 6:47. Breakfast 7-7:30, check NEW zodiac list, and I'm not on it! To Brad, who says I'm in group 1, leaving at 8AM! Leave cabin at 7:47 and get first notice which side the zodiacs leave from, and am second on, leaving boat at 7:57 with eight aboard. About a half-hour ride down a river, changing two people from our boat to a boat with only six so we can go faster. Water buffalo and woodpecker along river. To village in RAIN, and up a long flight of stairs to a REAL DOWNPOUR. I stand under some eaves, and we're down walk to large meeting hall with a dance for about half an hour, with some sexy guys, and then we buy, I finally spending $1 for a necklace of palm nuts and palm-weaving and red-good-luck beans. Then it POURS and we wait for a bit, then walk across to the next village for more buying and more rain. Then those who want to go to Pevas should leave early, so we go to river and get into a zodiac and set off into DRIVING RAIN for over twenty minutes, getting THOROUGHLY soaked, even getting the videocamera wet so that it starts re-setting apertures strangely. Break a beer-glass, look at paintings, and get sent down a road to ANOTHER landing for the return. Not quite as wet back, but at 12:15 I'm finished hanging up all the stuff to dry, shower just before lunch at 12:35, good creole chicken (better than the underdone, tough lamb chops last night, though the lentil soup was good to start), and order wiener schnitzel for tonight. Back to room at 1 to catch up with this to 3, deciding to GO as the sun is now streaming in my window! Get packed by 3:05, putting cameras in plastic bag in still-wet A&K bag, hoping to dry it out (it certainly makes the front of my pants wet on the trip into the Quebrada!). Get to the loading platform to find only a few zodiacs going out, and we're eight out at 3:10 and over to the inlet where the Japanese-Chicagoan specializes in hunting for the name of every bird sound, and the woman who still owes me $1 keeps hoping to catch up to her by seeing birds in yellow leaves. A masked scarlet tanager is about the best I saw before it zipped into its nest, and I videoed mating butterflies! Stoop for low branches, and once have to shush the loud Portuguese and the priest who started shouting as they slapped mosquitoes on each other. Already starting a list of people I don't want to be on zodiacs with. But then I may be on a few of those lists already. Go back farther than the others with Brad and sit for a long time while others see lots of birds. I try to video, but it's hard to capture the ambiance. He says we have to get back for the hike, and get on shore about 4:35, after others leave, and we set out into the muddy jungle, where I almost lose it five or six times, but my shoes are a mess and I manage to tear a small hole in the back of my green shirt! Couple that with the ENORMOUS rent in the back of my black pants (which I STILL think I'll try to salvage with safety pins and wear for the roughest landing---possibly even joking about it to make sure everyone notices, and I'm really running out of clothes. The priest kept going ON about today being Holy Thursday, and all kinds of possibilities for Easter Sunday services, which of course turns me TOTALLY off. Now I feel OBLIGED to go to Happy Hour at 6:30 so that I WON'T be thought by ANYONE to be at the service. We finish the trek about 5:40PM, just over an hour (for a 45-minute walk), when I'm feeling about at the end of my "rescuing myself from falling flat on my ass in the mud" repertoire. Not many mushrooms except on fallen logs, most leaves are EATEN INTO except the VERY young. Buttresses seem to be the roots of choice, some of them enormous. The tarantula was totally motionless---a plant? Lots of sounds of frogs and birds and insects (crickets). Back to the ship just after 6 and have to take my shoes off. Take them to wash in the sink, getting them fairly clean before getting another pair of socks and finishing this by 6:30, wondering whether I can wear shorts to the bar AND to dinner! Have two Cuba Libres for $2 each and buy a beer for which Frank gives me $1 and the story of his life as a stripper's go-fer and Army air-crash victim. Into dinner, hoping to sit with someone else, but end up with him, but ignoring him to talk with another couple about travel, in turn ignoring the Portuguese and Russian sitting to my right. Don't finish my Wiener Schnitzel, but buy a $15 bottle of their house-special white which should last for at least three meals with two glasses per meal. Suggest to Sheila that I show my videos tomorrow, since Rachelle said that she'd help me set up the video which I could use anytime, and then, since Steve and his wife and John and his wife are sitting at the same table, I inveigle Sheila to invite them along tomorrow. When they say they're in group 2, I say, "Well, then I guess you'll have to miss it." Then Steve suggests TONIGHT, even though we have to be up at 5AM tomorrow, and I think that's just fine, since I want to make sure BOTH the wet tape from today AND the wet camcorder are both operating well. Get the stuff together and get to the video to find hardly anyone there except the blue-eyed guide, who reacts to the sounds of the zodiac motors on my last five minutes. THAT goes well, and then I gather an audience and backspace into the last frames of Vietnam and the stuff from Florida, which everyone is impressed with, and into the current stuff. One of the LEAST helpful comments is: "Oh, the picture's so CLEAR!" But Steve watches the whole thing, everyone breaks up with my line of "Crowds waiting at the docks to bid us farewell," and he ends my applauding my framing, my composition, my selection of subjects, and even the inadvertent fade-out when I was desperately trying anything to get out of the 9x16 setting on the wet camcorder. That's over at 9:55, and I get back to my room to sort things out and get to bed about 10:15PM. Wake at 11:50 to pee, sleeping easily under the duvet that I'd inadvertently slept on top of last night, but with the air still off. Wake again at 3:30 to pee and shit quite a load, maybe the first faint sign of diarrhea, but then I can't get to sleep even after doing an EXHAUSTIVE Actualism session, really the first one on the Amazon, and so I'm up at 4:40AM to put DMSO on my knee and thumbs, sort through the laundry and come up with scraping most of the mud off the bottoms of my green trousers, still damp in spots, my green shirt, mostly damp, and three sets of shorts and socks with one white undershirt. AMAZON TRIP FILE 2: Just completed down to 1% in---was it seven or nine pages?

Friday, April 21: Now 5:27AM (between the ship's 5:26 and my 5:28!) and I'm starting the second file. Put the laundry out, lots of stuff away, still letting my A&K bag DRY, and will pack it with cameras in the plastic bag for protection. Still dark out but not raining. Cockroach flipped out of my bag when I was trying to dry it, and it was uncivilized enough to wait just inside the bed-leg so I could kill it and dump it into the toilet with the trash from my shoes and dust from my trousers. Takes it all. Now 7:45AM, waiting for 8AM "official breakfast." Got up to closed doors at 5:32, but a few others gathered and Madeline came out of the room next to the dining room, and then it opened to apples and bananas, cereal and yogurt, coffee and tea, of which I took two of the second and a bowl of the third with raisins, but had enough so I put the yogurt back. Down for throwing everything into the A&K bag and put the binoculars outside the life vest. Up to a fairly long line at 6:03AM, getting in one with the voluble Brit with Madeline who does NOT take the hint when the driver for the Japanese woman asked Kirstie (who isn't the best driver of them all, only her first time here) to either move up or fall back, and he even JOKED "That's a nice way to tell us to get lost." But he kept SHOUTING, and I finally said "It sounds like you're projecting for an audience of 50, but we're all right here." Mostly birds, mostly unfilmed: a bright yellow-bellied bird flew RIGHT across our bow on the way back, two bright blue slashes soared to a nearby treetop, and only an egret pair patiently stood, posing twice, for us to take their profiles. There was a HUGE splash, like a twenty-pound stone being flung into the river, which Kirstie said might have been a surfacing caiman. We looked but saw nothing more. A bright red bird was spooked by the Brit's voice. Macaws and parrots flew overhead in pairs and flocks too fast to be shot, although they were merely black against the bright sky above them. Stopped at the beginning for a number of communities showing off a large boa, still alive; two huge fish, one of which was said to be still twitching; and poor saleswomen trying to get us to stop to buy their enormous papayas. I never saw a second palisaded pen two or three feet out from the shore that could have been either a fish-proof bathtub or a live-fish pen. Tried to wet and wash the top of my wristwatch, but it seems permanently corroded by my spraying it with Off yesterday. Rather worried about rubbing my unwashed arms against my face and eyes. Black pants have ripped more, but they're still serviceable for the zodiacs if I warn people coming up the stairs behind me. Seat wet from the wet zodiac seat, but none of us seemed to be wearing (or need) sunscreen for the 6:05AM-7:40AM ride, since the sun never really cleared the early-morning clouds. BRIGHT sunrise outside the dining room about 5:45AM. Since my room was cool I thought it might be cool outside, but the temperature was at least 78 degrees and humidity about 95%, so there was no need for anything but a shirt. NO ONE wore their nametags! The shaved-head Russian zodiac-loader wasn't on, so I couldn't tell if he'd have his shirt off so early in the morning. Now 7:58AM and I feel like a second shit for the day. Then up for a second breakfast! Scrambled eggs and squares of decent ham, with wheat toast and marmalade, and papaya. Check that NOTEBOOK was on the fourth line of page ELEVEN. Also check back the order of film so far: I was right and wrong: #1: Seattle 200, 20 exposures. #2: Seattle 400, 20 exposures; #3:Seattle 200, 20 exposures; #4: Sensia 400, 36 exposures, as will be #5 and #6, and then the rest will be Agfa 200, 36 exposures. So, four rolls in nine days: I'll have plenty to spare. Ceiling lights went off for about five minutes while bathroom light and plugs remained on. Then they went back on. A&K bag is ALMOST dry, but I sure had problems with condensation for the first few shots this morning. I think I hear cleaning ladies in nearby rooms, so I might have to stop while they clean. Haven't seen the bridge yet, but I want to clean my teeth today, coated since Wednesday morning. Two zhlubs at table can think of nothing better to do that sack out until 10:30 lecture. Goodly number of INTERESTING couples on board: maybe I can get a passenger list so I can jot down characteristics to help me with the names. The guide-staff seems widely variable, though none of them seem to know QUITE enough birds and trees and flowers for most of our questions. The PLACE is fun, though I joked this morning, "Isn't this where we were yesterday?" since going toward the shore usually looks about the same. Kirstie didn't even know what types of Indians these might be, though someone said they were variable in color among themselves. Ship is comfortable: the slide on the air-blower really works: on and it's cooling and drying, off and it's warmer. Patches of blue sky now, let's hope they stay. Got to get new pants when I get home, or I'll have nothing to wear. Maybe something to shop for in Manaus? Try to rest, but feel slightly ill. Get up and get small amount of black thread left and sew up the back of my pants, and it actually lasts through the next zodiac ride, though I swiveled endlessly from side to side. Then take another shit and take my first Imodium of the trip, then hunt up the Bacitracin and put that on my VERY large red area on my right shin where I barked it yesterday morning in Pevas. FINISH the puzzle at last, one of the BEST (meaning worst!), rest for a bit more, then start getting ready for the zodiac at 4PM when they announce that we're getting early brownies! I dash up and have two (cleft-ass gets FIVE; I hope he gives SOME to his wife to share!) Also slather my face and arms with sunscreen, since it looks like it might be cloudy bright out, but when I get to the line at 4PM it's actually RAINING lightly. Get Cassio as the driver, and he keeps saying "Macaw," and I'm not actually sure he sees one. Lots of glimpses of pink river dolphins around all the boats, but the highlight is actually going UNDER the hard-to-see-until-you're-right-under 4-5 foot iguana and taking lots of film of it, though sadly it's just not right for a slide. Many birds, but not as many as yesterday, and not as colorful. Wonderful sunset, however, and lots of glimpses of beaks of faces and dorsal fins of dolphins. Back after sunset, set out things to dry although they're (finally) past actually being WET, and put on more Bacitracin---is it my imagination that the large area of angry red has actually gone down already? Debate going up to the pisco sour happy hour, but there's enough time to get this done by 6:28. Nuger is really SAD: his mouth curves down and his eyes have no interest in them, staring at the floor. One woman fusses CONSTANTLY with plastic and jackets and zippers before saying "It's so wonderful to hear the CHORUS!" Yeah, lady, YOU!!! Bottom fills up with lots of water, but the insides of my shoes get no wetter, and I sit on my life-vest to drain it of water before I put it on. Took about 20 minutes of video this afternoon and it's taken til NOW for my recharger to indicate it's ready with my full battery for the barbecue this evening (after another damned (oops) Catholic service). Put the air vent back on, though I still feel the LEAST bit feverish---hope my leg doesn't become INFECTED. Chance to meet the doctor, who probably has VERY specific antibiotics for the Amazon. Leave this at 6:32PM, 6:30 aboard ship officially. 8:45PM: I'm first in line for the $2 daily special Pisco Sours, but two people squeeze in front of me so I don't get my full drink the first time around. It's VERY strong, and I video the "love bugs" (if they are, in fact, the same as the sexy orgiastic doodle bugs in Florida), and one of my favorites comes past and says he's going to throw out his drink, it's so strong and awful (oh, and I bought a beer for the guy on the zodiac who had the $10 which was given to the family who showed us their parrots, macaws, pig, turkey, and allowed us to drink their Masato, saying it was shared "by all of us," against my better judgment---how about $10 for 10 minutes in Amazonia???), and he pours it into my glass. Which I hold between my teeth when trying to video a small-rhino beetle on the floor, which glass drops with a jerk all over my shirt and forearm when someone comes up behind me who won't accept the blame for the accident. But it was free anyway. Eat pretzels and note with interest that the "grandson", red where his strap-tee-shirt didn't cover, seems uncommonly interested in the OTHER young man, both of whom were in the pool earlier with the real BEAST of the daughter, but they seem to both have better taste. Finally the charcoal is blazing hot, but it starts to rain and everyone flees inside, except I get in line when I get tired of talking about travel in Russia with Foster and his wife. Hamburg and chicken and GOOD roasted red peppers and potato salad and cole slaw, and I go down to the dining room and talk with two lapsed Catholics who abhor the priest as much as I do, and THEY tell me THEIR releasing experiences, but I didn't get around to telling them MINE. Finally everyone's tired, I really can't decide what to do, particularly since my bedroom slippers, long immune from wet, are SOAKED from the wet deck and need to dry out. Look at the schedule for "Sunday, April 22"---that's what it SAYS, and ends with a double-language lesson which just happens to avoid the fact that Pivo and Cervesa both happen to refer to BEER! Think maybe to go to bed, then there's the announcement that there's a briefing in the Lecture Room (aka Bar) at 9PM to discuss "changes to tomorrow's schedule"---maybe at least MAKING it THOROUGHLY tomorrow? Type this up---page 3 already, and close down to go to the briefing at 8.57PM, tired. 9:06PM-9:20PM: Sharon Mohorovich fractured her ankle, so the ship is going directly to arrive in Leticia at 8AM, "bypassing Amacayacu National Park, one of my favorite stops," which is something Brad should NOT say! Place Orellana is at the center of town, and the hub of our visit will be the Anaconda Hotel, pick up a map. Breakfast with be at 8AM, everything else announced there. Bed 9:35PM

Saturday, April 22: 4:40AM, after over seven hour's sleep, shit, put on more Bacitracin, and take second Imodium. Stomach not feeling great. 6:25 AM shit, and take THIRD Imodium. As I'm finishing at 6:31, the PHONE rings a number of times, but when I pick it up there's no one there. Crank call? Up at 7:45 and almost shit, and at 8:07, looking at Leticia, long line for breakfast, announcement to "bring yellow fever certificate to get into Brazil." French toast isn't bad, but I don't have much, concentrating on a quarter-apple and a large glass of apple juice. Brad announces the schedule for the day: 9AM zodiacs start, disregarding groups, for Leticia for wandering around for the morning with the map, shuttles back at 11AM and 12 noon. 12:30 lunch on ship (except for those who want to eat in town), and 1:30 zodiacs to busses for regularly scheduled tour of the Zoo and town. 4-5PM shuttles back, and boat leaves at 5:30. Another ship, sounding like "Les Levants" is in town today, so we have to watch for the Marine Expeditions sign in the bus for OURS. Finish this (glad not to have had to take my fourth Imodium, but they're in my bag) at 9:07, ready to leave. Get across quickly, leave life-jacket, and get into the bus, not wanting to walk in the early-morning heat and sun. Fairly long ride into town-center for Tio Toms, and from the corner I see the fruit and vegetable market, so I walk down that, debating pictures, seeing citrus fruits and star-apples and Brazil nuts (Leticia, woman says, is ALL THREE: Colombian, Peruvian, and Brazilian). At the base of the street, where it turns into mud, there are two choices: off to the right a fellow in boots, coming back from a levee of sandbags, is balancing on a log which disappears into the water, getting his boots wet, so I look to the left. A slanted board leads up to a system of two- and three-plank walkways. My first try on the board causes my shoes to slip, but I wet them in the water and get enough purchase to get to the top. Over the water 4-5 feet below the planks, the planks run between trestles about 6-7 feet apart, maybe 8-9 of them to the final concrete platform with a shop at the end. I get to the end without much problem, passing a few people (or rather a few people let me pass them), and I take an interesting panorama of the shore-front. On the way back, maybe 3/4 there, I step aside to let an older man pass, and put my left foot onto the end of a plank for the next walkway: the end of the plank isn't held down and the opposite end rises up as my foot sinks and I begin to fall forward, and the plank and my chin meet at about a 45-degree angle, driving my lower front teeth into my lower lip. The plank falls away, somewhere, and I continue my fall to straddle another plank, both arms ripping past adjacent wood supports, the right side of my face hitting another board, various parts of my upper arms impacting the horizontal surfaces, and my camera bag plunges between boards to end a few inches above the muddy waters. I'm conscious of blood and bits of flesh in my mouth and between my teeth, but my lower teeth, to my relief, feel intact. People assist me at my shoulders and arms on both sides, exclaiming in Spanish, and I wobble to the last slant-board and quickly run down so I don't slip again. A handsome man wearing a red shirt, whom I'd seen with his kid on the end of the pier, shouts something about "taxi" and "hospital." I agree, since my shirt-front is bloody and my handkerchief to my face keeps wiping away large blood-spots from my chin and the right side of my face, just in front of my right ear. We pass through the fruit market and I see two women, who turn out to be Margaret and Lisa, and I stop to say, "I've got to get a taxi to the hospital, and I don't have my wallet with me (I almost returned on the zodiac to the boat to GET it when I remembered I hadn't taken it as I rode over---and of course we wouldn't be visiting Leticia this MORNING had it not been for Sharon's broken leg-bone last night hastening our arrival at Leticia---if only, if only), so could I borrow some cash from you?" Margaret gives me a five and two singles and says she'd have to go into her money belt to get twenties, but Lisa has two of them available instantly, so I take the $47, thank them, and follow the red shirt up to the taxi-stand. Somewhere in here I discover my watch is gone: did it get ripped off my wrist and land in the water, or get "ripped off" my wrist and landed in some "assistant's" pocket? Tip red-shirt $1, who doesn't thank me very much, and the taxi driver tries to ask me all kinds of questions, but takes me a fairly long distance, to the outskirts of the center of town, to then "Emergencia" entrance to the Hospital San Rafael de Leticia. He asks for $1, which I sort out of the crumpled bills in my pocket, and I enter the door to be greeted by a concerned-looking guy in a white shirt who leads me into a room with two cots, on one of which is a large American who turns out to be Sharon Mohorovich with her broken leg! She's in a lot of pain prior to her bone-resetting operation and keeps asking for more anesthetic, sorry that her heart condition, diabetes, and even something else would prevent her having general anesthesia for the operation, "You might not wake up," her friend tells her. The doctor cleans my various wounds, asking what I fell on, not happy that it's wood, since that can cause infection. He says the right-face lesion is "no profundo," but the chin is different. He ignores my left wrist and right shin for the time. A younger, cuter doctor comes in and asks my name, then starts iodinating the cuts, getting some on my shirt-collar. They decide I need stitches and the first guy injects me quite gently, with lots of anesthetic rolling down my neck, and then pokes and asks "Dolor?" and I say no. Sharon later says she hates me for having no pain while she's in such pain herself. They cover my face with a green extra-large handkerchief with a 1x4 inch hole cut in it, and start cleaning and suturing the lip inside and out. It goes on and on, sometimes painful as I think they might be plucking beard-hairs to clear a critical area, and Sharon is now quiet as, it turns out, they're resetting her bone at the same time. They stitch inside, they stitch outside, they turn my head to the side and, without anesthetic, I think, stitch the right side of my face. It's over by about 11:30, which I can't tell since I don't have my watch. I get the word "sutureys" for stitches and they seem to try to explain I had two clamps and two somethings that amounted to eight stitches inside and eight stitches outside my lower lip, verifying that "it went through." The right side took only four. The inner stitches will vanish, but the outer eight and four have to be removed in five days. The younger guy takes me to his office where he fills out various forms for administration and for my two prescriptions, and hands me forms that he says I have to pay at the glass window at the left of the entrance. Olga enters and says she'll be taking Sharon back to the boat and I can go with her. Clerk hands me a form with a total of 43,000 pesos and says my $40 will be OK. I try to suggest that the stated exchange rate of 1500 or 1700 pesos to the dollar would make it less, but perhaps they don't have dollars in change and figure I can afford it anyway, and they DO give me a receipt for $40. Olga says I can get the prescriptions when I come back for the tour of the zoo. Out to the van and sit in the hot sun until about 12:10, trying to talk with the Colombian driver, but she and I don't get very far. They bring Sharon out in a wheelchair and three of them wrestle her into the front seat. We drive through town to a farther landing where Simon's waiting with a zodiac. Another car with the osteopath comes with a board for slipping under Sharon as she comes out of the van and is carried "mucho peso" to the floor of the zodiac. The friend and I get in without lifevests and we go quickly across to the ship in the hot sun, Sharon accepting my large plastic bag to shield her pale face. We trot up the gangway while she'll be lifted with the zodiac out of the water. I pass people asking what happened to me, and I tell Juan I want to go in the first zodiac in the afternoon so I can get my antibiotics (oh, they also gave me a tetanus shot, for which they appeared to have forgotten to charge me) before touring the zoo. Good pasta for lunch, my lip sore but not terribly so, and I've changed my bloody shirt and get back down about 12:45 to get ready for the return, get a spare life vest from the pile in the reception area, and stand in line for the first zodiac. When we get over, Olga's not there, so the first van leaves, then the Spanish guide says I should meet her AFTER, when the group returns from the zoo to Tio Toms. Well, OK. Second van fills and we're across town to the zoo, which has been only open a week, they say, but looks simultaneously still unfinished and already going to ruin. Some of the animals are "usual" like the tapirs, the peccaries, the anacondas, the crocodiles, but some are rather unusual, like the two enormous panthers, the sleeping agoutis, the unlabeled cute otter eating, the whimpering, calling Cebu monkey, the harpy eagle, the manatee which loved to have its skin rubbed. It's muddy, people pose with the anaconda, the French contingent arrives, and I'm back to the van just after one leaves, and am told that the shirtless military machete-ing roadside grass would probably not want to be photographed. Into town about 3, and Olga's waiting, smoking a cigarette as I get off the bus. "Can you wait five minutes til I finish?" "Where can I get a good cheap wristwatch?" "Down at the blue and green entrance." I go there and no one speaks English, but then Olga arrives and they settle on the leftmost, lowermost watch, a Casio simpler than the one I lost, with only three buttons, which is better because they don't have instructions with this $9 watch, nor do they have a working visa-imprinter. So I pay cash and he updates the watch, and I'm pleased to see that the "light" button actually WORKS, though someone said it may have been a dying battery that caused the other's failure, "So you lost it at a good time," as some sympathetic female passenger told me. Starts raining lightly, and I'm pissed because I don't have a plastic bag protecting my cameras. She takes me to the pharmacy at the far corner of our map, where they say first that it's $23, then she gives me $2 back. One medicine is thought to be "a tablespoonful," but then I open the package and it's PILL-form. One is only 400mg ibuprofen that I take every 8 hours, the other is Clindamicin, 300mg, which I take every 6 hours. Pay and go to Viejo Tolima to see they have Guarana, which after much haggling I get two bottles for $1, since each is 800 pesos. They put the bottles in a bag, so I carry them out, since no one's eating at this "good place to be." Try pricing postcards, but everyone insists they're 2 for $1. No wonder they look so old. Sit with a few women at Tio Toms and drink my guaranas and take my first two pills, telling people again and again what happened, and the bus collected the last few people to fill it up at about 4PM. VERY slowly back to the zodiacs, and I manage to get into the first one back to the boat. On the bus-ride back to the pier I observed that I took VERY few pictures of Leticia, for my first visit into Colombia, but 1) it WAS a grungy little town, 2) nothing much was attractive except for a few striking Brazilian-looking men, 3) I really didn't have a very good impression of Leticia, 4) Sharon didn't want her ordeal recorded by videotape. I figure I'm exhausted from shock and my operation, so I sit back and onboard ship close the porthole-cover and crawl into bed. Get up about 6:15 to find that the drink of the day is a gin and tonic, so I have one, talk to the red-faced one who always gets that way, and when I hear there are some (albeit packaged) chocolate cookies still in the lounge, I go for them and get ambushed by the fat military couple who start telling me about their mink-ranch with their two industrious sons until they went to college and got spoiled. She says I should wash the blood out quickly with cold water, so I retrieve my drink and leave it jokingly in their care, and go down and wash my shirt with the same good soap with which I washed clean of blood my handkerchief earlier. Back up to tell the story a few more times, then in to dinner at 7:30, food OK of strip steak like thick London broil, but only the tomato acid really got through to my lower lip. Think to go back to the bar after sitting for a long time trying to identify the passenger-doctor, and it DOES turn out to be the fat one; don't know WHERE I got the idea it was someone else, but the bar's empty. Wanted to take the second Clindamicin with food, but it was more like 8PM when I finished dinner, so there was only 4 1/2 hours rather than 6 for the second Clindamicin. Back to the room---oh, got my laundry back while I was washing my handkerchief, so I could wear my clean green pants to dinner, with my long-sleeved shirt because earlier I felt a real CHILL in the room, not realizing I'd left the air-vent full on, and feared I was coming down with a fever. Didn't feel like writing this last night, so I took my second ibuprofen at 9:15PM, only 5 3/4 hours rather than 8, but for the first time I figure it's OK. Not too much trouble falling asleep.

Sunday, April 23: Wake at 2, in time to take my third Clindamimcin AT the six-hour mark, again at 4:30, a good sleep, for a loose shit, but not loose enough to take another Imodium, since it's been a long time since the last shit. Doze, then up at 6 to take a long shower, gingerly cleaning all my wounds in the wonderful warm water, and start writing this about 6:30. At 7 I turn up my volume to hear that breakfast is at 7:30, not at 7 as on the schedule. Found that my watch had been set at 3:15AM yesterday, so that this morning it showed Saturday PM, but with a lot of trial and error I THINK I adjusted it correctly. Should be able to exhaustively check all combinations of the three buttons to come up with my own set of instructions. Used the light during the night, and it worked fine. I guess the first zodiac was postponed since we were cruising all night and are still cruising at 7:25AM. Looking at the map last night, we had to agree that we'd come a relatively short distance so far, in Peru, and still had the ENORMOUS length of Brazil to go. The schedule for today seems to reflect that: only ONE tour in the morning, and the rest of the day is on the ship rapidly sailing eastward. Dried my body and put on Bacitracin all over, the step-wound on the shin seeming to slowly get better where I irritated the skin with DMSO, which I haven't used since the second day. But, sadly, I feel I have to shit AGAIN now at 7:26AM, so finish this. Shit was loose but not really diarrhea, and my stomach feels OK after, so maybe it was just a reaction to the foodless ibuprofen at 5:45AM. Tell woman who was looking for the passenger-doctor that she was right: it IS the obnoxious, bug-bit-legged guy who lays on the floor at meetings, and I have no idea HOW I got the idea it was another guy. People ask how I'm feeling, telling me I look better, and breakfast is something like huevos rancheros: scrambled eggs under potatoes and roasted red peppers. Good ripe cantalope and an apple quarter and apple juice. Brad announces that breakfast was delayed because of the delay in leaving Leticia last night because of visa problems (the cook had a one-way visa out of Brazil and couldn't get back. The ship debated taking him anyway and paying the fine, since it would have been impossible to find a replacement cook yesterday, April 22, 2000, since everyone was partying to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the first European sighting of Brazil). Sit with the mink couple, and they remark about the "ship-only" crazy getting her third bowl of oatmeal this breakfast. Group 1 leaves 9:30AM til 10:45, then Group 2 10:45-12, then lunch, then another outing (revised schedule upstairs, which I go up to check, and ask Juan if he has a copy and he gives me one) as on revised schedule. Feel I really should brush my teeth, if only to clean the healing area inside my lower lip, hoping not to abrade it unnecessarily. Finish this at 8:34AM. Cleaning of teeth goes well (with reading of New York Magazine), and by late morning the lip-swelling is actually down. Then re-sort stuff in the drawers into "done souvenirs," "still to do stuff," and clothing and generally needed stuff in the top drawer. Set out an ibuprofen to take for lunch, with the next Clinamicin scheduled for about 2PM, before my second zodiac of the day. Watch a village pass, then we turn and watch the same village pass again, and that's Panelas. We're late, so our 9:30 departure leaves at 10:06, when I check my watch in the first zodiac on the way, with Kirstie. We bypass the huts, good, and then Simon threatens to catch up with us, and I yell "Don't let him pass us," but he does. We race neck and neck for a bit, seeing nothing, and then they stop on the left and we continue down a smaller stream on the left, rather nice views THROUGH the trunks and branches to the continuing inundation past a shoreline that still exists only as a visible cliffside in very few areas. Everyone still solicitous of my chin. Day had been cloudy, then clearing, then cloudy again, but no hint of rain. Kirstie sees a toucan which I miss, but on the way out (Simon turning on a dime and leading the way OUT) I see the perfect silhouette of a bright-green iguana right at the top of a tree right next to the stream! Shout it out and she turns back and I get GREAT shots from the front left seat as it moves down from branch to branch and up another tree to try to avoid us. Poor Seymour hardly sees it. Then we're back to the main channel and come upon THREE of the zodiacs clustered at one point on the bank, forming an interesting video picture: a bushmaster had been attacking a nunbird (they insisted that was its name) nest, and the parents had been flying around the eggs trying to protect them; now the snake was gone and I didn't see the bird that was supposedly remaining. Kirstie headed back for the ship, making a good slide at the head of the inlet, and then a "home boat" passed by at the right time for another shot. Back on board at 10:56, less than an hour, but theoretically the others have that same amount of time---and we've scared away all the good stuff! Obvious competition between the drivers, and it sure helps to have expert ones. This is Kirstie's first time here, though she came upstream with the first trip, saying it was MUCH harder steering the ship coming upstream, much chancier for landings, and they made MANY fewer landings than we're making now, thanks to the current helping us downstream. However, sailing downstream has its disadvantages as even the pilots ("We took on four new ones last night," says Kirstie, which sounds unlikely, but I've yet to visit the bridge, so I can't be sure. Going WITH the current makes it VERY hard to steer, and the captain "has to be up all night" because of the difficulty of the downstream passage). It's rough all over. Re-Bacitracin my leg; the light spot in the middle of the step-wound is now gone, the upper scratch from the wood is more painful. Eating breakfast revealed soreness in my lower front teeth, even though they don't seem loose, nor do the gums look traumatized. But at least the left temporomandibular joint pain from last night hasn't recurred. I suspect there will be lots of different manifestations as these things go away. The bruise on my left bicep has developed an interesting red-purple color, with spots of cherry and indigo. Put on clean green shirt with the clean green pants (which I proceeded to stain with the Bacitracin on my wrist! Damn it!), then changed into the ratty muddy black pants and red-stripe shirt for the outing. Sent the blue-stripe shirt (muddy from the fall, but free from the blood and antiseptic stains with the good boat-soap), and a set of shorts and socks to the laundry today, which she picked up at 11:10 as I went upstairs, skimmed the April 17th Newsweek, saw people playing cards and reading, but no one trying Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly, or Pictionary, all of which they have. Not a bad library of books. Lots of people sort of "hang around," as I found this morning when I went on deck waiting for the zodiacs to muster and found people reading and chatting in chairs along both sides of the ship and observing from the top and front decks. Margaret and I chat about why she was afraid to go to the awful zoo, and others asked how I was doing. Wow, down to 31% left from THIS NOTE2 file! End now at 12:10PM, hungry for lunch, nothing after that until 3PM for the group 1 zodiacs. Notice that the shore is quite close now, so I go up to level 7 to see what I can see, and the sliding door to the bridge is open, so I enter for the first time. An assistant captain greets me, I look out into the sunlit river view, and somewhat later the captain wishes me "Good afternoon." I think they're just ready to start moving as everyone is reported back on the ship by 12:15PM, but we don't move. At 12:35 I decide to go down for lunch, during which an announcement comes that there had been a mechanical problem that delayed our starting; consequently group 1 wouldn't be ready to go until about 4:30PM! Lunch of chili and rice, with an unusually tasty MANGO cole slaw. They have Guarana in cans, Antarctica (the same that's bottled in Brooklyn?), so I have one for lunch and share it with the two couples at the table, the Jameses and the McNeals, I think. They all like it. Discussion of migraines, which both women have, Ms. James from stress and foods, Ms. McNeal from ice cream, cheese, chocolate over a bit, some beans, bread, and many other things. Whew! Wander into the library after lunch and find Lonely Planet's "Antarctica" which I skim. Watch more shoreline (sandy colored cliffs and in some places almost CONTINUOUS houses in villages along the shore, some kids on the banks, some boats, ranges of kudzu-people hulking over the shores), then go up the central spiral stairs to the Engine Room again, this time looking at the charts and seeing we're just a bit outside of Belo Horizonte, LONG way from Rio Urutubinha. So much for the posited THREE excursions today. Take Clindamicin late at 2:45, telling myself to FILM the incredible gas-eruptions when the 1.5 liter bottle of San Antonio "agua de mesa" is opened. Very sunny now, TOTALLY blue sky overhead and INCREDIBLE fluffy white clouds. Film now at 3:12PM, as reset on my watch from the radar in the Engine Room. 6PM: took a couple of telephoto shots, but as usual a wide-angle might have been better. Bright sun on cliffs prior to my taking pictures, no cliffs now. Zodiacs delayed until 4:30, so I lie down 3:30-4PM, then go up for FABULOUS fresh bittersweet chocolate, light cream filled, light-as-air-dough eclairs. Have two while the having is good, look through a photo book on Amazonia which is primarily about the PEOPLE along the way, and have a third eclair. Put my bag in line at 4:25 when the zodiacs aren't even down yet, and look over the side as we move into position for the Rio Urutubinha. Brad has the first one this time, but the Freemans are shouting the whole time, so that when she asks "How do you call howler monkeys?" I feel like responding, "You're doing a pretty good imitation right this second." Ask Brad if he ever asks for silence, and he just grimaces. We get glimpses of some spider monkeys, but the swallows (over a dozen) flying off one bush and coruscating ahead of us far downstream are wonderful. High macaws and parrots fly over, lots of bird-calls. Sun went down as soon as we entered the mouth of the river, sunset not very grand. We end up at a greenwall of hyacinth, and to my amazement Brad just starts nosing in, nosing in, backing out, nosing back in as the others follow him, and he's opening up a path for tonight so we can go farther up the river later this evening. He shoves whole RAFTS of greenery to one side, occasionally getting hung up on a log floating in the midst, but he keeps going, backing up, going to the side, and at the end detaching an enormous mass and pushing the whole thing out of the way so that it won't likely drift back in the few hours before the next set of zodiacs. The lighted ship is waiting for us, and I take a shot of the zodiacs nipping into the teat of the landing platform in the sunset-light. Actual SNORTS of river dolphins! We land at 5:52 exactly, just one hour after our 4:52 departure, and we leave the zodiac to find only five people waiting to get on, but the people in the LAST zodiac were told they couldn't have a SECOND trip, so Michelle had to tell me that I couldn't go a second time. Down to my cabin and find that the bag which had dried on my lap was still wet INSIDE, so I set it out to dry, take a pee, and start in on this. Battery is recharged in just fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes to Happy Hour, then half an hour to dinner, then we're supposed to go out again at 8:30 for a night outing. Have to wash my face: the sunscreen really started making my eyes go crazy toward the end of the ride. AND I really scratched at the stitches at the side of my face: hope I didn't undo anything. Stop now at 6:17. Have a Cusqueno, or whatever, Peruvian beer for the special of the day, though beer is $2 anyway, and the bar is crowded and I get invited to sit at a table with people I hardly knew from before. Then dinner of Tierra del Fuego salmon, pretty good, with more of my bottle of wine, but five glasses is just about all I'll get from it. Seymour mentioned that Sheila wasn't feeling very well as "She's got what's going around." Every so often there's a whiff of shit as people climb aboard the zodiacs, and I've had a continuing touch of something intestinal, so maybe there's something in the food or water that's affecting everyone. The doctor must know because, as Seymour says approvingly, "He makes house calls," and there have been a lot of "Doctor, please call 322" recently. Brad announces the evening zodiacs at the end of dinner, around 7:45, when I take both pills with my evening meal, and everyone is enthusiastic, so he says, "Group one can start off as early at 8PM." So I dash down to be ready, but still am only in the second zodiac. Simon gives the boat's flashlight to Joan, who does a pretty good job, and I THINK he gives another to Kanae, who refuses to use it, but I'm not sure, knowing only that at one point when Joan kept showing the LEFT shore, I offered my flashlight to Kanae to show on HER side and she refused to take it. Not really much to see, though at a few points there was a nice night-chorus of frogs and insects as background for the dazzling panoply of stars strewn dust-like across the silken black of the tropical night-sky. The path through the water hyacinth was quite open, and a bird flew across that Simon identified to his amazement as a Boat-Billed Heron, only the second he's seen since his first sighting in Costa Rica in 1984---quite a statistic whether actual or invented at the spur of the moment. It stays long enough for me to get good videos of it, and we continue upstream, at times nearing other boats who would blind me with their stabbing flashes of light. There are a few splashes in the waters behind the shorelines where we flash our lights, but we see nothing in the waters despite the fact that Simon says caimans occasionally lurk along there. But I'm content to look at the stars, the other boats, and wonder why Joan keeps flashing up into the trees. Oh, there WERE other things she found, not iguanas, but some kind of small mammals that weren't monkeys that clustered among high branches and skittered down when the lights hit them. The padre kept insisting he was seeing eyes, but it was only the DTs (not fair, since I haven't seen him drinking, but he's an Irish priest, so obviously he drinks). We went out at 8:08 and returned at 9:18, letting group 2 go out for their turns. I got back to the room quite tired. Oh, forgot that I'd read the DMSO book that Frank lent me in the library yesterday, before dinner. Put things away and got to bed at 9:50 with the air off so that I'll be comfortable with my Bacitracin-laced leg out of the bedcovers, with timings of 1:45AM and 3:45AM determined for pills.

Monday, April 24: Wake at 1AM to pee and take a Clindamicin 45 minutes early, but it doesn't seem to affect my stomach as I fall quickly asleep. Wake at 3:25 for a second pee, taking an ibuprofen 20 minutes early, with a slight aftertaste in my mouth from the previous pill. There's an announcement I don't hear just after 6AM, and then I get up to shit and get to this. The ship's still moving until 6:30, when the announcement comes that the 6AM group 2 departure can now take place, followed at 6:40 by the last call for group 2 members. My schedule calls for taking another Clindamicin at 7:01AM, not really following the schedule very closely. Notice spots of dried blood and scab on the bedclothes (isn't it near the middle of the trip? Got on Wednesday, for 14 days through Tuesday, so the second half starts Wednesday, two days from now.), and I decide to wash the leg with soap to see if anything else will come off before letting it air-dry and putting on more Bacitracin after I finish with this just after 6:50AM. My lip seem MORE sensitive this morning, as if some local anesthetic had just worn off (unlikely), but it's less swollen, but all my other bruises remain vivid. Go up to find the dining room open, so I have some cereal with raisins, and juice, and chat with the McNeals. Then look out to see where we'll be loading and there's Sheila! She'd had no food for two days, since everything that went down came right back up, and she couldn't even think of looking at the chocolate eclairs yesterday afternoon. But she feels better now. I ask her to save me a place in line and go down for my stuff, and get back up to find quite a line in place. Simon's zodiac returns about 7:50AM, lets off eight people who rave about all the dolphins seen, and takes eight of us aboard, unfortunately including the padre and the doctor, who hoot and shout and laugh and compare notes with each other throughout the entire trip! Is there no END to the assholes with whom to share a zodiac? It's cloudy and almost cool as we sweep across the river to the estuary that has a skimpy palisade of tree-fencing in an almost semi-circle just off a raft of water hyacinth, but Simon doesn't know what it's used for. Then we're in the middle of the water and the dolphins begin surfacing all around us. Sometimes three or four are on the surface at the same time, and for a long while I simply leave my camera ON and I'm sure I caught a NUMBER of small-back surfacings and, with luck, maybe even a few LARGE-back surfacings. Then I see a white-capped heron in plain view near the waterline, but shouting passengers scare it back into the trees. Simon thinks he sees some monkeys, but we can't see anything. Then he spies a sloth high in a tree, silhouetted in a clump of leaves against the sky. I GUESS I take a lot of footage of it, but when it doesn't move, it's hard to distinguish it from a clump of leaves or a termite's or ant's nest. But then it does slowly make its way down the branch, giving a great perfect silhouette against the cloudy sky. Then another zodiac spots one in a perfect position in the leafless upper branches of a tree right aside the river, and two or three zodiacs gather around (from one of which Carroll McNeal noticed that in OUR zodiac, the people TOWARD the view were standing up while those behind were seated. I confessed that I'd had an almost unconquerable urge to shout out "Father, sit the fuck down!!!" She almost choked on her cereal with laughter. They had the mink howlers, astounded as I was that they, although obviously well-traveled in and interested in what they could see, could be so LOUD throughout the ENTIRE boat ride. I really consider talking in private with Brad to see if he can't give a small talklet on zodiac etiquette, or at least set aside one zodiac in each group for QUIET! But I'm sure this is a CONSTANT problem with groups like this, and clearly they haven't found a good way to solve the problem. Back at 9:10AM, and Juan assures me as I climb up the gangway that breakfast is still being served. Oh, forgot that as I climbed to my first breakfast I saw Frank, so I came back down and returned his DMSO book to him, not interrupting his sales talk to yet another passenger. Also had taken an apple to eat during the night when I had to take some pill with food. Left my life vest on the gangway side and went directly into the dining room, put down my bag, and picked up two sunnyside eggs, some of the lesser-done extremely salty bacon, jam, and apple juice. Keep forgetting to pick up silverware. Ate with the McNeals and complained, but then Nuger sat down in the opposite corner with every indication of wanting to join the conversation, but I never looked in his direction, and then Shiela wanted to sit next to me, so of course Seymour came and took the last empty seat. She also complained about the constant talking. I brought a glass of apple juice down to the cabin with which to take my pills, taking an ibuprofen early in the schedule, and since I was down to my last pills decided to get out the reserves and refill the pill bottles, which took until 10AM. AND remembered to take yesterday's Larium at 9:30AM, hoping it was close enough to Sunday evening to make no difference in my immunity! Will also run out of Naproxen sodium about a few days after I run out of the prescription medicines, and then I'll be flying "on empty" until I get back to what I hope is a new tricor waiting for me. Do "bings" mean that I've hit the 1% capacity indicated? Time to start file THREE at 10:24AM!