ISBN 10: 1491521171 / ISBN 13: 9781491521175
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Inhaltsangabe: When Pittsburgh attorney Whitehill begins his vacation, he is anticipating a leisurely jaunt across South America. But he gets more than he bargained for when a sightseeing trip goes awry, leaving him stranded in the heart of the Amazon jungle. Whitehill isn’t exactly the outdoorsy type—he hikes in Brooks Brothers pants—so he is relieved when he meets a scientist perusing the jungle for medicinal plants and insects. Of course, the good doctor’s true motives are less than altruistic, and Whitehill soon finds himself being forcibly marched through the rainforest en route to certain death. When he escapes, with the help of some hungry vampire bats, Whitehill falls in with an English-speaking Indian whose tribe is at the heart of a raging land conflict. Trapped in the jungle, Whitehill must gather what little courage he has to stop an Indian war and preserve a vanishing culture from rapacious developers. Along the way, he has a fling with a gorgeous native, narrowly survives being sacrificed to the gods, and is rescued from a bombing by a pair of hard-drinking American expats. A Guest in the Jungle is a smart, engrossing, and uproariously funny novel about the power of one man to make a difference in the world.

The Inspiration Behind A Guest in the Jungle: James Polster in the Jungle of New Guinea

Click on thumbnails for larger images

In the Oriente Jungle, Ecuador--from "You'll Never Get Out Alive--But He Did" (New Orleans Times-Picayune) Polster's home with the Motilone Indians--inspiration for the Lotimone tribe in A Guest in the Jungle Polster navigating through the flora of the canopy jungle

Question: Can you tell us the story behind the mysterious photograph of the large jungle hut (above, center)?

James Polster: It's the bohio I lived in, and the shot was taken by the anthropologist who made first contact with the Motilone tribe that became the inspiration for the Lotimone tribe in the novel. And that bohio is the model for the one Whitehill stayed in during A Guest in the Jungle.

The anthropologist was killed shortly after he took that picture--by a coral snake. That's not easy--a coral snake is not aggressive, has short fangs, and needs to get a good bite. It's a rare death. An anti-venom exists--But not deep in the jungle. Because of this, I used to carry an anti-venom kit, but mine was for pit vipers, not for coral snakes. That anti-venom, I think, has to be refrigerated. So I just got the best anti-snake-bite thing I could find.

The one I had was a thick cardboard box about the size of six cigarette packs. It had a vial of anti-venom, an evil looking syringe, and something to use to tie off--a red rubber rope--if the bite was in a convenient spot where one could even do that. It also had a smaller vial of some test serum, and a smaller needle, which you were supposed to use first to see if the bite was allergic to the anti-venom. Of course, this would be difficult if one was alone and bit by a bushmaster--which almost happened to me (I got the kit shortly thereafter), and to the hero of A Guest in the Jungle as well.

A pit viper, like a bushmaster, can strike about two thirds of their body length, so a good-sized one can get you in the neck. There is immediate pain and swelling, and you start to bleed from every pore in your body. I never had to find out, but I'm pretty sure I would have skipped the step to test if I was allergic to the anti-venom. My mom found this kit while digging through some old gear I left in a closet at my parents' house, can imagine. Fortunately, I was a couple of countries away at the time.

My other snake bite kit was a felt tip pen, a piece of paper, and a plastic bag. The plan was, in an emergency, I would write a note, give it to whatever Indian seemed the fastest, and say "Bogata!" I know, not a great plan, none of them had any idea what Bogata was- but I actually did carry this for that purpose.

The anthropologist was a marathon runner, and when he realized what had happened, his instincts kicked in. Instead of staying in the cool river where he'd slipped and fallen on the snake, he ran and pumped the venom through his system. I never met him. The picture was shot 2 months before I was taken in to the tribe by the guy who was walking next to the anthropologist when he was bitten.

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