I have cycled more miles in the last week than over the course of the entire year. This isn’t part of some new fitness program; it’s all because of ants.
My recent bout of pedalling is taking place in jungle – Costa Rican jungle. We are at La Selva, a small reserve run by the Organization for Tropical Studies. They had the foresight to make this beautiful patch of rainforest accessible to everyone, and that means broad cement trails that link together a good chunk of its 1600 hectares of protected land. For a film crew it’s a great help, particularly when you have 21 cases of heavy film equipment to lug through the forest. We can rent tricycles with large front-loaded luggage carriers to move our equipment to the best areas for ant action. In the last week we have witnessed two army ant raids, filmed leaf-cutter ants chomping their way through hundreds of cocoa leaves and assembled a 20-foot crane in the forest to shoot a high-angle view of a large leaf-cutter ants’ nest.
But I am beginning to feel rotten – quite literally. My left foot has developed a fungal infection from days spent in sweaty rubber boots. Why rubber boots? There are plenty of snakes in the forest that could kill with a single bite not to mention the awesome stinging power of hundreds of thousand of marching army ants; boots are a line of defence against the dangerous creatures of the jungles but unfortunately the pay-off seems to be foot rot! I think, all things considered, I’ll stick with wearing the boots and take my chances with my rotting left foot.