Wildlife Articles of the Osa

Tales from the Jungle: A Night in the Jungle
by Kenneth Barnet

I was lying on my back, in a cabin, in a rainforest, on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica. It was 3:15 am.

There was nothing dry anywhere in my cabin. Nothing. " Urg," I said out loud as I removed a three inch cockroach from my lower lip. Never mind the mosquito net, it easily climbed through the hole in the foam mattress and right into my supposedly secure sleeping enclosure.

Yea right. I had to almost laugh at even having a mosquito net dangling over my head. Plus, I had kicked it and tore it off the posts twice already.

Why wouldn't the bugs like my bed?, after all it was soaked in salty sweat and about 100 types of tree saps. Not to mention the particles of plants all over my skin, and um, um, all the human fluids formerly deposited on my gray/black mattress that just really, really, wasn't a mattress anymore.

I couldn't have sweated anymore, at least I thought I couldn't. Because about that time my body again swelled up and I felt the fluids dripping off of my chest and off of my stomach and on to the sheet. I had to keep soaking up the sweat in my belly button with my T-shirt.

"Bring cotton sheets, light cotton," Mike Boston had told me. Yea right, they really help.

I saw my wife open her eyes and look at me, "Are you okay?," she said.

"Yes," I replied. "Can humans die from sweat, I mean, not from sweating, but from being IN sweat?"

"Go to sleep."

It's just wonderful lying on soaking wet cotton sheets on top of a hazardous waste platform. Just wonderful. What were the alternatives? Sleeping among some three horned Katydids and baby fer-de-lances with the possibility of getting crapped on by kinkajous?

Hum. I tried to get into a deep sleep but it proved fruitless. I heard someone cut a huge fart in the room next door, and then, I heard the splash of water. Someone had midnight diarrhea. And the bathroom was nearby. It began to smell like a porta-potty at a NFL game. But then another fart came from another direction.

Man, were the howler monkey's farting? I shouldn't have mentioned howler monkeys to my own mind's eye... cause it was getting to be 3:30 am, and they were about to start. I rarely slept through the howler monkey cacophony. But it was just a bit better, then hearing some farts and splashing water.

I couldn't wait to get up and change into my other smelly wet T-shirt. We were going to hike up the Claro River this day, to find dart frogs. Was I among the border line insane I wondered? I immediately thought that if I had some Xanax on me down here I could have slept right through the night, and probably have had cockroaches in my nostrils, or at the very least a land planaria boring through my urethra into my bladder. But, I also thought that it wouldn't be fun hiking in the morning with a benzodiazapam hangover. Just not cool.

I had to notice the tree vipers, and I had to have the power to yell at Dave when he made everyone wait on the path for the 30th time while he tried to get the perfect picture.

I love this place. Really. Crap, I let out my own, huge, loud fart. I heard someone giggle down the hall.

Kenneth Barnet writes this little humourous anectdote about his night at Sirena Station in Corcovado National Park