I spent a few days in the jungle on a small island of Okinawa living outdoors under a mosquito net. The average temperature was a sweltering 90 degrees. My hut was situated next to the beach at the edge of the jungle and was equipped with a fire pit, firewood, a large rain water cistern, a mosquito net, and a simple gas canister powered kitchen. I’ve listed a few things that I experienced during my jungle stay.
- There are plenty of things to do in the jungle. You’d think that being away from electronics would be a drag but the natural world is just so much more interesting that I hardly noticed. The beaches are alive with crabs, bright colored fish, lizards, and snakes. Night time offers a cacophony of sounds from nocturnal creatures. The sky alternates between being filled with fluffy clouds and pock marked with stars at night.
- Coconut crabs are equal parts large and stupid. I can’t tell you how many of these things I’ve seen crushed on the jungle roads. When I saw a coconut crab I investigated the creature by poking at it with a stick. It flares up its body, lifts its intimidating claws in the air, and freezes in that position. I imagine this is the last pose of many a coconut crab as several tons of steel, aluminum, glass, and rubber roll over it.
- Insects everywhere. Deal with it. Mosquitoes at night. Little jungle roaches wherever food is present. Ants are everywhere. Spiders the size of my palm.
- Washing naked in rainwater. I don’t remember the last time sunlight touched every inch of my body at once or if it had ever happened in the entirety of my existence (probably not). My hut was secluded enough that during a sun shower I took off my clothes and washed in the rain and the sun.
- Jelly fish are assholes. I got stung on the left arm by an invisible and venomous enemy for little more reason than I was in the wrong place in the wrong time.
- …so are sea urchins. Sea urchins attach themselves to rocks in very convenient places to step. Dick move.
- My sleep wake cycle was finally normalized by the natural day night cycle. Sleep when the sun goes down and wake when the sun comes up. Sometimes I’d get up to throw a log on the fire or for a night time pee. This is the cycle that my body had evolved for over millions of years and putting it into action felt like riding in a greased groove.
- The sky is beautiful. During the day time, the frequent sun showers create rainbows. At night, the Milky Way Galaxy, our home in the cosmos, stretches from horizon to horizon. Looking up long enough at the night sky is a guarantee that I will see a meteor.