The Rubber Boom Revival

I'm out of the forest early but with some luck: the two scientists with whom I went three weeks deep into Lago Preto are in town.

They returned from the field Sunday and presented a lecture on their new book about effects of climate change in the Peruvian Amazon.

It was great to see Dr. Richard Bodmer and Pablo Puertas again after eight years

They are like rock stars to me. Bodmer has spent more than 30 years doing research here and a few years ago opened the Amazon museum here in Iquitos, using his own personal collection of indigenous ceremonial and everyday items to share his knowledge.

Pablo is a scientist from Peru who grew up in the forest and now is also a wildlife photographer.

A decade ago, Bodmer restored a 1906 rubber-boom era boat to its original grandeur. It was on this that Earthwatch Institute volunteers lived as we counted monkeys and caught caiman and were generally wowed by nature and our tiniest roles in it.

It is now a museum, floating next to the promenade. My room has become, fittingly, the room of atrocities against indigenous tribes… rubber barons enslaving them as workers and shooting them if they escaped. I'm always watching the depressing documentaries.

It is such a lovely boat and maybe the only of its kind in this way.

I wish Pablo or Richard would scoop me up and say, “You're amazing. Come!!” What if I had dedicated my efforts—all—to the Amazon?

But I have always been a sampler. I want to do it all.