I’m in the jungle, damn it.

I’ve been wanting to write a blog post for a while, but I always put it off because I never have good enough internet access to upload and format photos on new posts. So screw it. From now on, no photos. If you want photos, go visit my instagram (@rrsuro), my twitter (@rrsuro) or my facebook page. Plenty of photos there. This is where I write.

It has also been more than a month since I’ve started my Young Explorer’s grant project. It’s too late and too much damn work to do a recap and tell you about everything that has happened so far (because a LOT has happened), so screw that too. No recap. So friends, if you want to hear my best stories from the last couple months, send me an email and ask me. I’d love to hear what you’re up to as well.

So today, I’m starting over. I’m going to write every day, and I don’t care if you read it or not. I’m doing this for me. I might not post something every day (because sometimes there really is no internet), but you better be damn certain I’m going to write SOMETHING every day. Even if it’s a sentence or two regarding my thoughts of the day. I’m in the jungle damn it. This is MY Walden pond, except way better because it’s actually in the middle of nowhere and not 2 miles from Concord, Massachusetts. I’m also not locked into a cabin.

Do I sound a bit icey? That’s probably because I totally am. I’ve had it with the smoke and the fires. Yesterday, I was driving my motorcycle down the street. I was very stressed, and wanted to take a deep breath. But a split-second before I did so, I realized that taking a deep breath would be terrible for my lungs, with all of the smoke on the street. UGH. I can’t even take a breather because of the smoke.

I know I said no photos. I guess I lied. But this one was easy because I just linked it from facebook. If you can’t tell, I’m not very happy about the smoke.

Overall, I feel pretty powerless to do anything about it. Meanwhile, people are burning their trash in the middle of the streets, releasing copious amounts of further smoke into the air. And later, those same people complain about the smoke. I am ready to go back up to camp. There’s less smoke there, and fewer people. Both great things. The only reason I came down in the first place was to deal with (yet another) permit I needed to get. This time for a local assistant that will be helping me on my long term orangutan follows.

His name is Midi. He’s an old dude from one of the villages, rocking a scraggly gray chin-puff beard and a pretty badass parang (the indonesian version of a machete). He’s going to be our porter when Evan (my assistant) and I are out following orangutans. We’re only carrying enough food for 5 days at a time. So when we are running low, Midi is going to go search for us in the forest and give us another 5-day resupply. The forest is a big place however. Without the right tools, he would never find us. Which is why I’m equipping him with a radio and a GPS unit. The way it works is this: he communicates with us via radio, I let him now our coordinates, he enters them into the GPS, and boom, he can find us. The only issue is that he doesn’t really know how to use a GPS yet. I’ve already gave him a training session at his village. Now that he has a permit to come to the forest, I can train him 100% until he’s a Robert-and-Evan finding machine.

I’m heading back up to camp tomorrow. Let you know how it goes.


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