Deep in the Amazon there is a lodge. A lodge with no walls, thatched roof, an airy kitchen with great cooks, a small but well-stocked bar and a somewhat absurd lifestyle. This was to be our base camp for the next four days.
When we arrive, we are greeted with a lovely fresh- squeezed tropical juice and told to remove our shoes and leave them outside on a rack – before our lips touch the glass of juice. Because of wear and tear on the wood floors in a jungle setting, no shoes are allowed in the lodge. Once all have obliged, we are then invited to a ‘lounge’ where orientation takes place – breakfast is from 7am to 830am, lunch from noon to 1:30pm and dinner is 6pm to 7pm. No exceptions. We don’t show up, we don’t eat until the next scheduled meal. This brings up the question of keeping snacks in our room. This is not a hard and fast rule, merely a suggestion - we would discover the reason later. There is 24 hour coffee and tea though. (Good to know.)
There is electricity from 8am to 10am and 3pm to 9pm and sometimes there is spotty wifi – then the lights go out. No exceptions. He hopes we all brought flashlights…
We are then assigned a room key, which is on a cute little carved wooden keyring and also contains a key to the room vault, an absurdity that will make itself clear in the near future. We were told that when we leave the lodge we are to leave our room keys in the basket on the bar. The room keys also have our room number on them – very absurd. At this time we were told that, in no uncertain terms, we are not allowed to ‘leave the lodge or room corridors without a guide.’ This did leave me a moment’s pause as he spoke on though I was preoccupied. What has happened previous that such a rule needed to be in place? A snatching by a jaguar? A poisoning by one of the many wild things? Or just a quiet but unexpected terminal walk into jungle oblivion?
While I considered that, my sister Lauri brought me back to present by telling me we could now go to our room. We padded barefoot down one of the three ‘docks’ that branched from the main lodge. We found the room, turned the key and voila! … a three walled room! That’s right. The room only has three walls. One is open to the rainforest. No window, no ‘open’ window. No screen. No nothing! Just a simple railing between us and all of God’s creation.
It is suddenly an absurd world…and there is more to come.