Jim de la Selva
by, February 25th, 2009 at 11:51 PM (2032 Views)
A very short vlog tonight. Tired from practice:
400 warm up
10 x 100 on 1:40, evens IM
6 x 50 fly :55
6 x 50 back :55
6 x 50 breast :55
6 x 50 free :50, first one no breaths; 2-6 1 breath down, 2 breaths back
1 x 200 alternating free and back easy
1 x 200 IM hard (2:33 for me)
1 x 100 cool down
fried six Wallapa Bay oysters (those giant pacific kind) in vegetable oil and butter; ate them with bread, lemonade, and then some Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream with organic raspberries and extra creamy Redi Whip, followed by medications...
Also tired from writing about a curious case of soy protein induced gynecomastia in a retired attack helicopter pilot.
It occurred to me when I recently inventoried the Many Faces of Jim--Jimby, Master Jimmy, Golden Boy, Jamesuardo, Spunky Po'Boy McPunkerton, etc.--that I left out perhaps the most complimentary moniker I have ever been given.
Here is a brief excerpt from a story I wrote 8 years ago for National Geographic Adventure magazine on the time I traveled to the Equadorian Amazon for training at La Escuela De Contrainsurgencia De La Selva--i.e., jungle soldiering to keep the F.A.R.C. over in nearby Columbia where the kidnapping bastards belong....
At breakfast on my final morning at La Escuela, I sat with Lt. Colonel Bravo and Capitan Freddy in the Casino, a gigantic domed officers’ mess that resembles a modern church and was built as a largely unwanted gift to the military by petroleum interests. Bravo, who looks a little like a mustached Raul Julia, had just outlined our upcoming itinerary: a couple days on real patrol with BOES-60 troops near the Colombian border, and then off on our own for the trip to Huaorani land, deep in Yasuni National Park and far from any possibility of military protection.
“The principle thing,” he told me in heavily accented, deadpan English, “is theese. Do you have insurance?”
“Do not worry, Jim,” Freddy added quickly. “You are equal to Schwarzenegger now. Do you know theese TV show we have down here, Jim de la Selva? Eees about English man who lives in the jungle. I think you are now the real Jim de la Selva.”
The complimentary moniker was just starting to take hold when my eyes happened to spy a photo in the morning newspaper, El Comercio. It showed an Indian police investigator holding three spears found at a murder scene in the Oriente. I asked Freddy to translate the accompanying article, the gist of which was this: members of the Tagaeri tribe, a renegade offshoot of the Huaoranis who have refused all contact with the “civilized” world, had just assassinated two Quichewa Indians who unknowingly wandered into Tagaeri territory. The first victim, a 60-year-old man, was lanced with thirteen spears, his wife was then killed with four spears inserted in such a way that she was found still standing in death. Their five-year-old grandson survived the attack by hiding in the vegetation. He told authorities that he witnessed “several naked people” kill his grandparents.
This was by no means the first time Tagaeri have resorted to murder to defend their territory against encroachment by cowore, their term for outsiders. The tribe made international headlines in 1987 after assassinating Spanish missionary Alejandro Labaka and Colombian nun Ines Arango, lancing them both with a bevy of 13-foot, triangular-cut spears designed, like military bayonets, to inhibit clotting and promote fast blood loss. A one-time victim of Brookside Bible Summer Camp myself, I’m sure part of me might once have admired the Tagaeris spunk--that is, from the safety of the United States.
“Where we’ll be going with Stalin after the patrol,” I asked Freddy, “is it close to Tagaeri territory?”
“Si,” he said, nodding with confident nonchalance. “Eees cerca, muy cerca. But there is no problem, no is danger for you.”
“Why not?” I asked, emboldened by his apparent confidence and figuring he knew something I didn’t.
“Because,” he said, “you are Jim de la Selva.”