Sunday, 17 March 2013

Tienda Indignities

I don’t  think it can be rain, as when I turned in, the first stars were just arriving. Anyway, precipitation is generally preceded by a warning crump of thunder. Maybe it’s just a few mosquitoes trapped between the tent’s skins, yet there isn’t that tell-tale instant insomniatic whine as they try to tele-port through the screen. Still there’s the gentle patter of something outside. 

I’m roused in the night by a gibbous moon, glancing from behind a mottled, marbled sky, the jungle furnished in noise and shadow, frogs and cicadas harmonise, something rustles in the undergrowth, but still the patters fall. Maybe it’s a light fog, condensation falling from the leaves, or could it be that near-biblical phenomenon of weeping trees.
It’s only in the early light of morning that I discover that we’ve pitched under a crop of incontinent caterpillars. The tent is latrined in their pooped dung. Yet another scatological addition to the list of indignities that our tents have suffered. The fruit bats of Queensland that ruined a drying shirt and pockmarked a flysheet with digested Moreton Bay figs; the packs of Argentine dogs that repeatedly squirt territorial urine, the cats that are determined to claw any taut nylon; the imprisoned moth that broke out, chewing it’s way to freedom through the mosquito netting.

That’s now countered by a break-in. A critter has eaten it’s way right through the waterproof membrane of a pannier, then around the edge of a Tupperware pot, through the intake pipe of the water filter, feasting on some water retention granules, only to nibble the foil from a cheese wedge. Such dedication to destruction, all for such small reward. The joys of jungle camping.