Some Yanomam� still grind the bones of their deceased and add them to soup. And to find a gourmet delicacy, they put an ear to a dead palm trunk and listen for the crunching of an edible grub burrowing through the pith.
At 2.5 million square miles, Amazonia is so big as to beggar description—almost large enough, McIntyre informs us, to cover the face of the full moon. Yet we are reminded that this vast ecosystem, along with its native populations, is imperiled. Species are disappearing, trees are falling, tribes await extinction. And we, apparently, are to blame. "People have arrived so recently in Amazonia that in the forest their presence is anomalous," writes McIntyre. "With the arrival of the Johnny-come-latelies came the technological skill to muck up the natural order irrevocably."
But don't expect an environmentalist tract. Amazonia is pure adventure, a float trip through domains few of us would dare explore.
And that's a gift for all seasons.