C5 in the Amazon – or – Everyone Hates Other People’s Vacation Photos

dinner c

With your host C5 and assorted visiting parasites.


I went to the Amazon and all I got was this lousy Blow Job.

That seems a good place to start if you are here today for survival advice. You would think, if someone that claims to be a “Survival Expert” (I use the term very lightly. I don’t claim to be an expert in much of anything… other than the ability to accept the inevitability of the exponential function and choosing to act accordingly.)

… You would think if a “Prepper Guy” heads to the Amazon, he would come back with all sorts of cool bush tricks.

dinner 2 c

Well, that’s only useful to someone if their survival plan is to become a refugee in the Amazon. Don’t cha think? Do you plan on being a refugee in the Amazon? Me neither. This is just a camping trip. I’m not sure how people got the idea that camping advice is survival advice. I’m being facitious/sarcastic. I do know. It’s from people that got war and survival mixed up.

Let me repeat – C5 Rule of Survival – If you go camping for a week you are a camper, not a prepper.  If you go camping for 2 weeks, you are an outdoor enthusiast, not a prepper. If you go camping for 3 weeks, you are an outdoor adventurer, not a prepper. If you go camping for a month or more, you are either a refugee or a homeless person, not a prepper.

Just before heading into the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, I checked my email and while responding to a comment someone wrote over at permies.com I noticed someone wrote an article on some sort of “INCH” bag. That’s “I’m never coming home” bag. The bug out bag… gone WAY too far. I was only reading it to torture myself. Lo and behold the second commenter recommended the poster read Survival Acres, The Fallacy of Bugging Out, presented by Yours Truly… with positive comments on it by following commenters.

So, the word is slowly getting around. I decided to add my own comments since it’s flattering to be quoted, even though Survival Acres did all the heavy lifting. I wrote “I am on the edges of the Amazon. It would suck to be a refugee here but it would suck to be a refugee anywhere” and I added “I was reluctantly converted to Permaculture or Permanent Culture or Permanent Food”. And I refered to a BOB for the first time as a Running Away Bag.


Okay. I lied. I didn’t even get the blow job mentioned above. We were both too tired from travel and sleeping badly. Too pooped to party.

But I did get some surprise Amazonian, full on, mouth to dick action. Let me explain. A fish bit my dick.

Wait. I can’t start there. Upon arriving to a native community in the Amazon, the host family we were staying with tossed a hook into the river and immediately pulled out a piranha. It took him 15 seconds top. We ate it. No shortage of piranhas.

dick biter c

Speeding the story along, on another part of the river, we were told there were no piranhas. Being the naked guy in nature that I am, how could I not take this opportunity to drop my drawers and swim in a tributary of the Amazon… just so I could say those words. So I dove in. I hadn’t made my first stroke before some lighting fast tiny fish bit me right in the pee hole. There is a “just the tip” joke in here somewhere but I am getting nothing.


So I cupped my junk with one hand and paddled back to shore with my other. I had Mrs. C5 translate to our guide why I didn’t want to continue swimming in spite of his assurances that it was safe. I said “I’m used to being in nature. I have held off a pack of pissed off wolves with a samurai sword. I’m pretty sure I am the only person on the face of the planet that can say those words outloud. I have almost frozen to death twice. I have almost drowned twice. I hit a very large mother bear with cub in the head with a rock while holding a 3 inch knife… not my smartest move in life but I did it. But the moment an Amazonian fish bites my dick, that is the moment I realize I am a babe here, totally out of my element.

bait c

My point being, all survivalism, prepping or permaculture is regional. I have nothing to learn here that is actually useful to help YOU survive except to point out that “bush craft” is not practical survivalism. This is, by far, the furthest “out there” I have ever been.


We have found ourselves reading the book “Stolen Continents – Conquest and Resistance in the Americas – by Ronald Wright 1992. It’s a recommended read for those that only know the conqueror’s side of history. An applicable line to this post is, “Hollywood may have convinced us that the typical Indian was a nomadic hunter but in fact the majority had been living in villages, town and cities since long before Columbus”.


This reserve is huge and the original inhabitants, ( very few) gain sustenance from it. They, and this land mass and rivers only survives because the government keeps it a reserve… until they don’t. The right bribes will end it all. It is one of the last great wild places.

Choosing to emulate the First Nations is admirable. They have much to teach. Ethics, equality, theology, history.  Prepping, not so much. Mainly because the food sources they built their “survival” traditions on are mainly gone and won’t be returning unless a miracle happens. A miracle where 95% of the entire earth’s population dies almost instantly. Fast enough that they don’t strip the last remaining animals while slowly starving to death… and waiting around for a couple of hundred years for the remaining animals  to repopulate to the levels before European colonization and conquest of the Americas. So unless you are a miracle worker than can live for at least 200 years, like a vampire, while nature rebalances itself, this particular survivalist fantasy bubble should be thoroughly popped. As I noted before, survivalists seem to miss these transition periods. Even this would still require a couple other miracles. You know that other 5% that remain? They would have to fully commit themselves to keeping a complex industrial society together, fully dedicated to keeping the nuclear cooling pools functioning as well as maintaining other chemical and biological agents, without much in the way of oil, all on a fundamentally changed planet where atmospheric carbon won’t return to pre-industrial levels for umpteen thousands of years.

But there is actually something that can be learned from the First Nations. Perseverance in the face of annihilation. Learning to tolerate the truly intolerable. The First Nations weren’t primitives and these weren’t empty continents. There were hundreds of complex nations that have now already lived through the apocalypse. They are the Mad Max apocalyptic survivors, having lost 90-95% of their population in a few years. Literally 1/5 of the world’s population was killed off. After the invaders’ intentions of 100% destruction of their culture, they endure. This is what they can teach us most. How not to go out and enter eternal night.

There one  goal for their descendants, simply, don’t die.



And those words reverberate in my soul as we return from our White Privilege trip. Those last lines were where I stopped writing on our trip before exhaustion took out all creativity. We are now back in the city, trying to pull it back together.

Shattered… is the word that describes how I feel at the moment.  It will take a week or two just to emotionally and physically hit “normal” baseline again.

Who was it hat wrote, “Why do they call it adventure when what it really means is being cold and hungry and tired and in constant danger”. No cold this time. Some heat exhaustion though.

This started as an Adventure, switched over to Endurance test and by the time it turned into a Cosmic Cluster Fuck…

Let’s just say, we had to laugh at one point realizing the god’s had to be involved in this somehow because bad luck just doesn’t happen this many times in a row. I think it was when the rooster in a bag by our head started to crow as dawn was cracking and we found ourselves kneeling on the floor of a boat that we had been tossed into in pitch blackness and told they had no seat for us, which we met on the river by the long boat that had just taken us out of the reserve… that took 12.5 hours of overnight sleep deprivation… after 3 nights of sleeping (I use the term lightly) on the ground… only to face another 9 hour boat ride, uncomfortably cramped, hungry, sleep deprived and then as daylight approached they turned up unpleasant Spanish pop music as bonus torture. When we arrived at our next ramshackle rive town, our booked room couldn’t take visa as advertised. When Mrs.C5 headed to the one and only bank machine in town… somehow I knew I just knew the gods were not done yet. Mrs.C5 in full meltdown mode. The machine had taken her card. (I didn’t have one anymore since the sea lions and rage episode)

Here we were, Fucked, Fingered and Far from home in a foreign country, struggling with cultural and language issues. No way to even get to the next town let alone get any sleep that didn’t involve lying on a pile of clothes in a park risking policia or robbery without food or any way to contact our host agency.

C5 Rule of Survival – Cash is king.

Yeah yeah we had overspent our cash on hand. Our fault. But there are things to be learned here. You may have been watching what is still happening in Puerto Rico or Barbuda. The electricity and banks are down. Food isn’t shipped in. Crops destroyed. Signs everywhere are saying “cash only”. For the limited supplies left. Forget all about the “I told you so” part and the “expect that to happen again and again and again” part. My point being, there are no signs saying “gold or silver only”. That’s a tip for gold bugs out there. This is a good reason for keeping cash, safely tucked away at home, though I understand most North Americans can’t afford a few thousand dollars sitting around doing nothing… mainly because they have overspent on their lifestyles of “white privilege”. Toys, housing and financing. White privilege is a theme of this trip but I have got nothing to say on the subject at the moment.

But as we hit this bottom, I thought on the cosmic connectedness to me writing about the plight of the First Nations, (all original americans, north and south, surviving colonial genocide, cultural and psychological destruction).

Survivalism, in my limited hard knocks experience, is simply learning to tolerate the truly intolerable.

It’s not about ideology or politics or freedom or the constitution or any of that stinking pile of shit filled baggage. Survival simply means, DON’T DIE.

Do what you have to, to tolerate the truly intolerable. Hope for a better day. That has been the story of my life. I have been given every reason to check out. There are fates far worse that death. I am not one to judge those who check out early. Ending your life is remarkable difficult. It is certainly not the cowards way out or a sign of weakness as often spouted without thought or empathy. It takes incredible bravery, both ways, either to pass or to endure the unendurable. I’m glad I held on. There was more for me to do. But death and dying is not the point of this post. It just feels like it at the moment.

Shall we continue. Thanks to Mrs.C5’s ability wrestle through bureaucratic hoops, through shear pig headed, queen bitchery… we were saved and made it to the next city.

That’s when I got hit by illness… again. I started this 9 month South American adventure fat. Mrs.C5 was complaining about this. Now she is complaining again because I am skinny as a rail and am going to require some rebuilding once I get home. Luckily our Nova Scotia freezer has one of the pigs we slaughtered last year in it. I plan on eating a lot of pork, swinging a chainsaw and hauling a lot of firewood to try and rebuild some muscle mass after a year of non-homesteading.

So I hadn’t been eating much. Stress and food burn out, a future subject, deeply related to prepping and food storage, yet rarely talked about in prepper circles except by those who have experienced it. You can be surrounded by your food storage and not be able to stomach any of it while you slowly starve. We are both pretty tired of the food down here and I, for one am looking forward to some good Canadian unhealthy fat filled comfort food because I am going to need sheer fatty calories soon.

So I have had four colds in 8 months. A mega city and public buses on another continent where I have no immunity, where people can’t afford to take a sick day, will do that to you. Two rounds of extended diarrhea, one of them chronic and requiring antibiotics, a mystery rash that we have to get a doctor to look at… and now this round of pissing out of my ass more liquid than I figured was actually in human body, along with pucking and even more sleep deprivation… and my survival advice isn’t going to be so profound this week. I will just leave you with some vacation photos while my brain grows back. Just a head’s up, if it didn’t relate in some way to Preparedness and Adaptation, I wouldn’t have taken the photo. Better luck next week. Three more weeks to go before we are back home… for a couple of months… this is where I announce, we have another posting coming and will be heading to Barbados for 6 months. That means there will be a new series coming. Survival advice from the Caribbean. Let’s just head towards the hurricanes… and see what happens.

white privlage c

(this was the white privlage place we stayed at near the beginning, on a hill, overlooking the masses)

river homes c

(this is how real folks lived in contrast)

hotel c

(this is the guides home where we spent the first night sleeping on the floor. We shared the shack with his family. I point this out for “expectation adjustment”)

highway c

(without roads and infrastructure…this is a highway. Coming to a north america near you)

dug out c

(a real dug out canoe. Built just like the BC costal first nations. Small fires burn the wood out and then the chared parts a chisled out with a primative adz)

vanity shot c

mrsC5 c

rice 2 c

(terraced rice paddies)

rice c


bike land c

(RAZ was right about the locals relience on 125 motercycles instead of cars)

3 on bike c

(three generations of women)

family car c

(the family mini van for 4. Fuck helmate laws and child car seats. If you really want people to be safe, drop the speed limit in half)

dog on bike c

(no MC sexism on this continent. We asked about it. They said, it happened once the cheap chinese bikes arived. Once woment could aford them, they got them. No one thought twice about it)

farm tool ad c

(Yamaha understands, a motorcycle is a farm vehical to these people)

guinne pig c

(we cooked and ate a guinne pig. More on this later. We can grow these for survival)

save us c

(save us from crocks. Eat a dick, jungle)

pesticides c

(the high cost of food pesticides we export the consiquences of to poor people. Not on my fucking land)

modern terracing c

(modern terracing for flood prevention. these are rocks in cages. Some permies are exited about this idea for building, land sculpting, and evaporated water collection for farming in dry zones)

pig to market c

(pig teathered by foot)

trade by other means c

(trade by othe means. This is what the supermarkets of the futer will look like. Small vendors with a few products. We bought an assortment of antibiotics from a couple of these stalls)

bush c

mrsC5 tree c

(Without her…non of this would be possible or worth doing. She is looking very Jane Goodall on this trip)