Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Hi guys

Tomorrow is the first and likely the last chance I get to send emails out of
the forest. You will get them, without doubt with some delay. After a
longish but nice boat trip along the rivers here of the Congo we arrived at
the site. Bit pressed for time and all, so just a brief outline of some of
my personal highlights so far: lovely sunsets and huge double rainbows over
the river on the way in; little kids screaming racist greetings at you
everywhere you go; people staring at you most if not all the time;
caterpillars the size of small sparrows being cooked for dinner (I passed);
extremely powerful lotoke ­ a kind of local alcohol that probably in the US
might be used for peeling paint off walls (but here is administered orally
in profusion);being in the centre of a small village rebellion of sorts
aimed at preventing me from entering the forest to see the bonobos (long
storyŠ all down to local politics and petty squabbles over bags of saltŠ).
But all is well that ends well. Bonobos are great, even managed to identify
three of them yesterday. I know that its really bad of me to say so but I
was really pleased to see that those animals had some very characteristic
deformities on their hands making them absolutely distinct from all the
other individuals in the party. By the way ­ another useful feature you
should look out in wild bonobos if you want to tell them apart, as far as
the males go, is the colour of their balls. Some have pink, others have
darkish. Then again, I¹ve heard that some can also be bi-coloured. On this
educational note, I leave you until, probably, January.

Yalokole village, DRC
October 3rd 2006

PS: By the way, it¹s very irritating, sitting here in the evening, to have
more than 30 tiny flies crawling all over my laptop screen as I write this.
No doubt the glowing light of the screen is a major of their otherwise
boring day but I wish they get a life and leave my laptop alone!