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A Journey Between Orinoco and the Amazon

Author: Redmond O'Hanlon

This is an account of a trip up the Orinoco river and across the Amazon basin in which the author discovered that poisonous snakes and life-threatening diseases were not the greatest hazards on such a journey - his photographer and the Spanish and Indian crew were the most volatile elements. O'Hanlon is the author of "Into the Heart of Borneo", a journey on which he was accompanied by the poet James Fenton, who swore afterwards that he would never travel with O'Hanlon again.

O'Hanlon found few experienced adventurers willing to accompany him on this four-month trip up the Orinoco river and across the Amazon Basin. He wondered why...Was it perhaps the fear of contracting dysentery, rabies or river blindness? Or maybe it was a disinclination to meet peckish jaguars, vipers, anacondas and 640-volt electric eels? Surely it couldn't possibly be reluctance to swim among giant catfish, with their relatively harmless penchant for nipping off a person's feet? Fortunately, an old friend volunteered, having absolutely no idea what he was letting himself in for. But, then O'Hanlon didn't have much idea either. How the intrepid ornithologist and his sidekick managed to survive some serious travelling trouble makes for gripping, and hilarious, reading.

From Publishers Weekly
The friend who accompanied O'Hanlon on an earlier, two-month expedition flatly refused to go with him on a four-month journey to Venezuelan Amazonia. Everyone who read Into the Heart of Borneo can sympathize, as O'Hanlon's approach to travel borders on the lunatic. He persuaded Simon Stockton to join him, but Stockton quit the expedition when he ran out of reading material and, anyway, he didn't like the jungle. O'Hanlon pressed on with a Colombian scientist and an Indian crew, on uncharted rivers in a dugout canoe. He wanted to push a little farther than the 19th century explorers von Humboldt and Bonplan, and to meet the Yanomami tribe, reputedly the most violent people on earth. O'Hanlon survived the expected hazards -- poisonous snakes, caiman crocodiles, piranhas, the toothpick fish and even the potent yoppo (a narcotic) used in Yanomami rites. As an expert naturalist, his descriptions of landscape and animals are superb. His humor is frequently scatological. But he holds our attention throughout.
© 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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