"Do you want to hold them?", asked the little girl in the floating house docked in the middle of the river.
I hesitated. That was a very big snake, and even the alligator, which was only a baby they caught earlier that day, had a big enough mouth to do some damage to my hands.
The snake skin was shiny and beautiful, but slippery. and seemed almost detached from the muscles, so I had to hold tight while the girl cautioned me "not too tight". As my hand touched the snake, she started moving, slowly at times, but steady, and I could feel just how strong she was. She could crush me, I thought as I put her around my neck and over my shoulders, and this could be it. She wouldn't hold still, which made me nervous and made it difficult for Bá to take a picture, but how could I prove to the twenty years old me, who swore he would never try to hold a giant snake, that I was in the middle of the Amazon river (called Solimões river right there before he meets the Negro), alive and well, holding that sucuri (Anaconda for the gringos) and that baby alligator and looking at trees wide as a street and tall as a building?
This was one of the highlights of our trip to Manaus,capital city of the state of Amazonas here in Brazil, which included research for a future book. This, alongside our recent trip to Machu Picchu in Peru, made us want to create stories as impressive and astonishing as the experience of travelling to incredible places.
I returned home wanting to tell about the things I did and saw to my friends, and I wrote some of them, only to discover that my friend Craig Thompson was packed and ready to leave on a trip to China, so I'm sure an equally impressive experience will inspire him the same way I was inspired by these trips. Safe journeys, Craig, and see you in a bit.
Back to work, it's good to be back.