Solbit encounters Amazon jungle mysteries

Dear Nicalai,

Our river canoe took us deep into the jungle of the Manu Biological Reserve here in Peru, landing riverside in the mud and the muck. Nona carried me up to the trail into the dark jungle. That’s when I discovered something very important, “Nona, I don’t like it here!”

“It’s ok to be unsettled in such a strange place, Solbit,” Nona tried to calm me. “I’m not ‘unsettled,’ Nona,” I corrected her, “I’m terrified!”  Keeping her calm,  Nona asked me, “Now, Solbit, you have me, Papa, and our excellent guide, Danny, to protect you, so why are you ‘terrified?'”

“I don’t know. It’s all so mysterious here. Nothing is familiar. Nothing seems — you know — normal.”  Nona listened to me and then her eyes sparkled and she told me, “Solbit, jungles do hold mysteries. Jungles are not familiar to us. We don’t know what we’ll encounter here. That’s why we came here, to discover and to learn about new things — things strange to us, and to unveil mysteries. We’re going to have fun! You have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Then Papa chimed in, “… And maybe a puma or a caiman!”

I could not refuse to go along, but I sure wanted to get right back into our canoe and get out of there. Then something changed. I don’t know why, but I started to ask questions about the mysterious things I was seeing in the jungle. Like, “Ooh, what’s that?”

"Oh, look at the pretty mushroom," I called out. Papa said he thought it wasn't a mushroom but a lichen . I wonder which?

“Oh, look at the pretty mushroom,” I called out. Papa said he thought it wasn’t a mushroom but a lichen. I wonder which?

Papa answered, it’s a beautiful living community of different organisms that together we call “lichen.” You know, Solbit, we have lichen back home in the US too. It’s not so mysterious. “No, but it sure is pretty,” I admitted.

We walked on, deeper into the jungle.  Next thing I knew, I was acting as if everything were normal.  “I bet we don’t have this kind of bug back there. Do we?” I asked Papa.

Bugs can be beautiful. Don't you think? I just love this one's color -- orange, like me -- and long hair, too -- not like me.

Bugs can be beautiful. Don’t you think? I just love this one’s color — orange, like me — and long hair, too — not like me.

The next thing I know, I’m looking at a very familiar object. “Look at this! Somebody left their piñata right here in the middle of the jungle,” I called out in surprise.

Gee, I knew we had piñatas back home and also in Mexico, but in Peru, too?" Nope. That's something else.

Gee, I knew we had piñatas back home and also in Mexico, but in Peru, too?” Nope. That’s something else.

I didn’t know that termites were such skilled builders.  Even without measuring tools or tools of any kind, they can make almost perfect spheres way out here in the jungle.  How do they do that?

Hey, did you know that some termites make their homes underground.  Yeah, they dig tunnels.  They even have storage rooms down there.

I guess termites have to put the dirt somewhere when they tunnel underground, so they make mud towers. How cool!

I guess termites have to put the dirt somewhere when they tunnel underground, so they make mud towers. How cool!

Remember before when I said that I learned something very important, that I don’t like it here?  Well, I’m changing that to I’m loving it here.  I’m learning so much by putting aside my fears and finding one interesting mystery after another.  What a great trip!

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

July 2016

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

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