1989: One day, hiking through the Amazon I saw a lemon-like fruit that I could eat. I stepped off the trail to pick the fruit and noticed that my foot was next to a hole. I peered into the hole, wondering what creature lived there, picked the fruit, and returned to the trail to peel it. While peeling I happened to glance at the ground. My eyes popped out of my head and suddenly I was in abject terror! All sanity went out of the window and I began to scream. The fruit flew into the air, as I danced for my life.
Out of the hole came the meanest, nastiest-looking creatures that I have ever seen and they had my death written all over them. Though I had never seen creatures like these I immediately knew they were poisonous and later found out that they are called, Bullet Ants, because when you're bitten by them it feels like you’ve been hit by a bullet.
The ants were an inch and a quarter long, and jet-black with armour-plated bodies and mandibles that looked like fish hooks joined solidly to their heads. I have never seen anything so determined in my life. Some were already on my boots, charging up my legs with their mandibles never ceasing in their search for something to bite. Luckily I had tucked my trousers into my socks, like I had seen in the movies. This probably saved my life as the ants did not get in my pants.
I continued screaming. With my feet, I ground the ferocious monsters into the earth, but the earth was soft and they kept popping back up, even angrier. I was fighting a losing battle. I covered my hands with my shirt sleeves and beat them from my trousers. One reached my hip. I hit the ant with my sleeve, but it caught on and with no hesitation at all charged straight up my arm with its mandibles coming together like a greedy sewing machine.
"It’s going for my neck!" I thought. as I ripped off my shirt careless of the buttons popping and continued to dance and scream until I got a giant wake-up call. I was bitten straight through my jeans. It was like a red-hot needle going in. Then I found my senses. They screamed at me to run away. I did. My leg burned like crazy. Thankfully I had a bottle of rum, to use for occasions like this, so I poured some on the wound and drank the rest! My leg was stiff for hours afterward.
Rather than scare me away from the jungle this experience enabled me to see the beauty. I realized that upon the trees and in the bushes were a myriad of creatures. I had not been seeing them because I did not know where to look. Previously I had been looking for something big, something in the depths of the forest. Now I looked much closer and discovered that everywhere, upon the leaves, the trunks, and the ground, were lizards, snakes, spiders, and insects in amazing disguise. For some reason, I remembered the old television series of Kung Fu. The series began with the hero having to walk on rice paper without ripping it. If he could do this, then he was moving silently and could leave the monastery. I realised that this is what I should do when moving through the forests. Now, when I am walking in the Amazon, or any other forest for that matter, I place myself in Kung Fu mode. If anybody saw me they would think I was crazy creeping around a jungle like a Kung Fu nut, but this is how I get to see the creatures. I walk slowly, barely breaking a twig, listening, all the time listening, until I hear a noise. Then I stop, stay quiet, and look, to see where the noise is coming from. That way I can find the creature that made the sound.
In a place like the Amazon, you see first with your ears. then with your eyes.