Plumbing Problems

I awoke at around 11pm on the night of the 22nd with the horrible knowledge that I had shit the bed. I got up and washed the sheets in the sink. I wasn’t feeling so much ashamed as inconvenienced. It was stiffling in the cabin and I knew that damp sheets wouldn’t help me sleep any better.

I went to find Tyler to see if he had any antibiotics. (My pharmaceuticals were all in the van, which had not yet arrived.) He did, and I took some before returning to bed.

The rest of the night was a nightmare of vomiting, diarrhea, fever and halucinations. My sheets were damp from being washed, and there was no air circulation in the room. Several times I awoke to find that I’d had another accident.

I got very little sleep in the course of the night. When I did sleep I dreamt that I was being tormented by biblical verses. It was one of those weird dreams that only anal-retentives have. I was driving along in my van, and the road was paved with quotes from the bible. I would have to recite them perfectly as I passed over, or the page would rip and that would be Bad. Later in the night the dream changed, and the bible passages were passing overhead. (I’ve been reading a book on Christian history, and I think it’s getting to me.)1

Despite my biblical plague, I tried to stay in bed as late as possible. I finally got up at 9am when the stomach cramps made it too hard to stay horizontal. The ship’s crew was already hard at work loading cargo for the trip upriver to Manaus. I found an out-of-the-way spot to sit and tried to ignore the feelings coming from my gut.

Eventually Jeanne appeared and told me that Tyler was suffering from a similar complaint. Fortunately, he didn’t seem to have it quite as bad. (He was only expelling fluids out of one end.) I suspect the all-you-can-eat Sushi Fest we’d had for lunch. The uni was certainly a funny color.

Antonio, our taxi driver, appeared at 10am sharp to bring us to the port where our vans were expected. They were there waiting for us, loaded onto a car carrier. They were unloaded and we headed east out of town on Brasil route 316.

Just outside of town there was a naked man wandering down the highway. Cars would slow and go around him. The man walked directly in front of Jeanne’s van, waving a rag in one hand.

Around mid-afternoon I hit a speed bump hard, and one of my muffler pipes tore completely free of the exhaust system. I’m getting a lot more attention because of the huge amount of noise my car makes, but I’m not very happy with this. Tomorrow I’m going to try to have someone weld the pipes together.

We’re staying at a truck stop tonight near the village of Gurupi. There are bathrooms and showers, and the night is cooling down nicely. Unfortunately a truck has parked directly in front of my van and is pumping out music at sound levels appropriate for a stadium heavy metal concert. I’m hoping that he’ll either go to sleep, drive away, or be beaten up by another trucker sometime within the next hour.

Ron


  1. A World Full of Gods: The Strange Triumph of Christianity” by Keith Hopkins.  A really wonderful book!

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