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March 30, 2004

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In this tropical reserve we follow guides on treks, looking for wildlife amidst clinging plants, cloying humidity, and buzzing insects. The bugs welcome us as if we're long lost relatives. The birds and mammals run away as if we're pests. We chase an orangutan through walls of vegetation, hoping for a glimpse. This 'forest man' demonstrates real jungle skill - he's too elusive for us to catch.
Reach in dark places of the forest, within curled leaves or inside hollow trees, and pull out sleeping bats. Their wings feel like thin plastic membranes.
Vines hold fresh drinking water inside and creepy crawlers outside.
Monkeys throw themselves from tree tops when we approach. They show off amazing skill as they grab branches safely before hitting the ground. Must be a world class tree climbing school around here.
In camp we play a soccer match that feels more closely related to ice hockey on the slippery mud field.
Anti-social monitor lizards always walk off.
Frogs make more noises at night than teenagers with drums.