January 15, 2007
Craig and I walked over to the jetty with boats leaving for Maripasoula in hopes of securing a passage there either today or tomorrow. On the way there, we had to pass the dozens of boat drivers heading to Albina. We practically had to beat them off of us with sticks despite the fact that we weren't carrying our backpacks, which might have served as an indication that we wanted to cross the river. We were delighted to find that a boat was leaving this afternoon in which we would be considered "freight." We went back to our guesthouse, packed up our gear, and headed back to the departure point, this time having an even tougher time with the "Albina" crowd because we actually were carrying backpacks.
While waiting for our boat to depart we met a girl named Omara who was heading back to her hometown in Suriname. We were delighted to hear that we'd be on the same boat and therefore would have some company to talk to.
It had been raining constantly all day, but it stopped as soon as our boat left. This was especially good luck for us because the boat was a long dugout with no roof to offer protection from the elements. We were joined in the boat by Omara, her three sisters, the driver, and two other employees. It seemed like the sisters hadn't talked to each other in years because they constantly gabbed in their native language of Taki Taki. It was quite the jovial atmosphere.
We stopped for the night a few hours later in a small village. Craig and I were the only ones with a stove, so when we boiled a pot of water to cook with, one guy demanded that Craig give him some. This would've been no big deal, but we didn't have a lot of fuel, and as soon as you give one person water, you're cooking for everybody be default. Craig explained to the guy that he didn't have enough fuel for everyone and if he wanted some water, he could easily get it from one of the villagers. They didn't seem to understand this, and suddenly the lady who never stopped talking all afternoon said that she'd do the cooking and Craig would just have to lend the her the stove. Craig said "I have one liter of fuel. This has to last a week in the jungle. When we run out of fuel, we can't cook anymore and we starve." This led to tremendous bursts of laughter when the lady translated it for the others.
We were told that we'd have to get up at 5:30 tomorrow, so I tried to go to bed early. However, the woman who would never shut up kept talking and laughing loudly, and every now and then she'd mockingly say "I have one liter of fuel..." Everyone else stopped responding to her eventually in a subtle cue that it was time to go to sleep, but she didn't get it. Eventually, she was just talking to herself.
At about midnight, Craig and I decided that we'd had enough and moved the tent as far away from her as possible. As I was walking away, she asked if I was going to the jungle, and I just said "yes," hoping she'd finally shut up. I fell asleep a little while later, and I was still able to hear her laughing in the distance.