「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら
「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら


My Amazon adventures

By Kip A. Cates


Have you ever traveled up the Amazon River? By canoe? It's an amazing adventure! My son and I have done it dozens of times — starting when he was 6 years old. Let me tell you all about it.

As everyone knows, the Amazon is in South America. It's one of the largest rivers in the world and over 6,000 kilometers long. It starts in Peru, then flows through Brazil to the Atlantic Ocean.

My son and I always start our journey in Belem, a Brazilian port city known as the gateway to the Amazon. The first thing you need to do is hire a guide. We usually choose Isabel but Antonio is good, too. Both are very trustworthy!

Next, you'll need supplies. Make sure to buy lots of food, clothes, medicine and machetes. Once you've purchased these, you're ready to begin!

Paddling up the Amazon is hard work, but the scenery is spectacular. You have to be careful, though. The river can be quite treacherous! It's very easy to take a wrong turn, get caught in a whirlpool or hit a log and capsize.

I always bring along a camera and take lots of photos. It's fun to show people pictures of the exotic plants and animals that you encounter. In the river are piranhas and stingrays. In the jungle, you can see monkeys, iguanas and anteaters. Watch out, though, for snakes and jaguars!

As you make your way upriver, it's a good idea to stop at various places to trade for goods and talk to the locals. You never know who you're going to run into! On one trip, my son and I encountered Theodore Roosevelt — the American president. On another, we met Claude Levi-Strauss, the French anthropologist, who was doing fieldwork in Brazil.

During the trip, it's important to take care of your health. You don't want to get malaria or yellow fever. This happened to us several times! With a little luck, though, you can travel safely all the way to Peru.

At this point, I have a confession to make. I've never actually been to Brazil. While it's true that my son and I traveled up the Amazon dozens of times, we made each trip on our home computer!

When my son was small, I purchased an educational computer game called Amazon Trail. It simulates the experience of canoeing up the river. All the guides, supplies, animals and people I've mentioned appear in the game. It's very realistic!

Thanks to this, my son and I know the Amazon intimately — even though we've never been to South America. You can try this, too, since the game's now available online. One day, I plan to travel to the real Amazon. For now, though, it's much easier to go there by laptop!



The Japan Times ST: March 18, 2016

The Japan Times ST 読者アンケート




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