In Trouble Again

A journey between the Orinoco and the Amazon (1988) by Redmond O’Hanlon. Today I finished this book; I liked it a lot. While the first part of the book describes the journey to discover a river, the Maturaca, that is supposed to connect the Orinoco and Rio Negro rivers and also to approach the Neblina mountain via canoe through the jungle of Venezuela, the second part describes the journey to a tribe of Yanomami in Venezuela. As O’Hanlon and his Venezuelan guides couldn’t find the river (although they did get to the Neblina), they decided instead to visit the Yanomani tribe of Leapopuei-teri. These people are described as dangerous (the Venezuelan guides are afraid of them) and so O’Hanlon’s English companion Simon leaves the expedition about at the half-way point. The others and are welcomed cordially for a few days to the tribe and then told to leave again, politely but firmly:

Jarivanau ostentatiously took down his hammock and packed his catumaré in the front of our shelter. He tied our cooking pot to his load with a length of vine and placed a bunch of plantains on top. He grinned at me and nodded towards the door by which he had entered on the far side of the shabono.

If Jarivanau thinks we should go, I thought, then we had better go.

In Trouble Again (1988) by Redmond O’Hanlon, page 298f.

As with his other book Into the Heart of Borneo, I enjoyed the way O’Hanlon describes his trip, the people he travels with and those he encounters, as well as all the animals and plants he describes. I like his robust humour and the way he describes the Yanomami. At once as ferocious warriors and loving family fathers and mothers. I was surprised, as I hadn’t though that the Yanomami were ferocious, and I remembered that I’d read anther book about them by Kenneth Good: Into the Heart: An Amazonian Love Story (1991). This book describes how the author, an anthropologist, lives among a Yanomani tribe, falls in love with and marries a Yanomani woman. It’s been a long time since I read this book and I’m going to reread it. I also found that Good’s son, David Good, has written a book The Way Around: Finding My Mother and Myself Among the Yanomami (2015). This seems very interesting, as it tells the story of what happened when his mother left Good and her three children because she was unhappy living in America and how they reunited. It must have been very difficult for her and the family, having to reconcile two such different cultures. I’m planning to read this book as well. I love it when books lead me down this kind of interconnected web of stories. I also believe that learning about other cultures is both interesting and important.

David Good has a YouTube channel that shows some of the cultural practices also described by O’Hanlon and has started a non-profit dedicated to supporting the Yanomani people: https://www.jointhegoodproject.org/. I haven’t had time to explore the webpage in detail, but I will do so when I read the books. They have expedition summaries as PDFs on their pages which I want to look through as soon as I have time.

Today was very relaxed. In the morning the usual walk with Curious Dog, up the hill and back again through the woods. We didn’t meet anyone, and it was cool but sunny. Later it became overcast and on the afternoon walk, it was a little chilly at the beginning. We only met one other dog in the morning, none in the afternoon. It’s weird, sometimes we meet lots of people with dogs, other times none.

We watched the third part of the German classic Treasure Island TV series and will watch the final part either tonight or tomorrow (it’s on YouTube). Perhaps we will watch the Tatort tonight, the classic crime series that always runs Sunday night “im Ersten“, one of the public service TV broadcasting channels. We don’t watch all instances of the Tatort (which means “Crime Scene”), but this one plays in Vienna and we like the Vienna pair of detectives, so I guess we’ll be watching it tonight (although, if not, we’ll watch it sometime during the week via the channel’s mulitmedia library).

The weekend is over again. It always seems to pass so quickly.

Keep safe, world.

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