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Keith Schofield

The Perfect Shoot?


Posted from: Alvaraes - Rio Japura
Can’t wait to get off this river taxi - and its lesson on one of the dark sides of my favourite place. I wonder what became of those three hopeless horrified men in their chains. Fifteen years in some rank jail ahead. Still musing, I visited the wheelhouse and we promptly crashed into a floating village. The sound of splintering wood and groaning corrugated iron.

The panic on the captain’s face, hanging manfully onto the mahogany wheel - mouth fixed into a grimace of despair. Images of some random Brazilian having a quiet lavatorial moment. In an instant - no house, no trousers and 200 passengers inspecting his bottom. Serves him right. But no jail for the captain. Just a big insurance claim.
We departed the scattered remains, crashed into something else and at last joined our expedition boat. The boat that was to be our home for the next few weeks. The boat with the noisiest generator in the whole history of noisy generators.

Only the Red Zone could hold more terror than this brain-jellifying monster. All night. All day. I feel guilty. It’s only on to charge my beautiful camera’s batteries. I love the Amazon for its peace and tranquility. I wonder if it’s there at all.

Bruce has brought a huge disco speaker for his birthday party next week. It needs to be huge. The generator is hungry for competition. We met the Priest on the way down here. He warned us of huge mosquitoes. Mosquitoes the size of condors with a huge blood sucking capacity and massive teeth. He advised caution in the form of 100% deet and plenty of cigarettes. He advised me to buy a few packets of something resembling what I remember of cigarettes.

I will refer to them as Anti-Mosquito Smoking Devices. Top priest, I thought. Of course I took his advice. Of course – he’s a priest. I of course will not inhale. We have a meeting, and I drift off to my special place with my Anam Cara.

Happy voices. Expectations. A perfect shoot? Well – almost. I realize that if I get through this shoot with the same bits that I arrived with, I will have travelled the Amazon from Iquitos in Peru to Belem at the sea. Yet I’m so very disappointed not to have experienced its source at Mismi.

I decide on a new mission. I must visit the source of my favourite place. I need to see the place of its birth. But now there is work to do. Anyone filming in the Peruvian Andes soon? Near Mount Mismi? I’d love to hear from you!

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