“The war of the future will be between those who defend nature and those who destroy it. The Amazon will be in the eye of the hurricane. Scientists, politicians, and artists will land here to see what is being done to the forest.”
The Woolly Monkey leapt on to my shoulders and rested one paw on my forehead. I hadn’t invited him and suggested he leave. When I tried to put him down he wrapped his powerful tail around my wrist and then threatened to bite my hand.
My wife Peggy took photos and laughed at my predicament. Her turn was coming.
We were staying at the Ariau Amazon Towers Lodge some 35 miles from Manaus Brazil in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest overlooking the Rio Negro River. Located high in the rainforest above the river, the Ariau is the Mother of all tree houses. Tarzan would appreciate the luxury. In fact there is a “Tarzan Suite” perched 110 feet up in the air.
Catwalks, some as high as 70 feet, radiate out from the lodge for five miles into the forest and provide the visitor with the unique Amazon experience of walking among the treetops and visiting with the wildlife… including parrots and the far-too-tame monkeys.
Jacques Cousteau inspired building the Ariau in the mid 80s. His statement to Dr. Francisco Bernardino quoted above led Bernardino to erect the hotel to accommodate the expected influx of ‘artists, scientists and politicians.’ Since then the lodge has accommodated a steady stream of famous visitors ranging from Prince Charles to Bill Gates. Peggy and I stayed in the “Jimmy Carter Room,” which was given its name after Carter slept there.
The Peripatetic Bone insisted on having his picture taken with the Carter sign and with a Brazilian mask.
But back to the monkeys… Peggy’s want-to-be friend was a long-legged Spider Monkey. He joined us on the walkway and immediately wrapped one leg around her neck and looked up adoringly. He held on for a mile as we strolled along the catwalk. When we stopped, he immediately stretched out on her lap and made faces at me.
She only lost her long-legged furry friend when we returned to the lodge. That night she discovered the flea bites.