Professors plan trip

Campus Times
October 9, 1998


by Shiva Rahimi
Managing Editor

"A Bizarre and Beautiful Amazon" informational meeting/slide show was held Tuesday in the KULV room for people who are interested in a two-week boat trip up the Amazon River.

The trip will begin Jan. 5, and will be led by Dr. George Keeler, professor of journalism, and Don Pollock, associate professor of communications. It will last for 12 days and count towards four units of upper division credit. The fifth unit will count toward the international/intercultural experience core class.

Dr. Keeler and Pollock have already experienced a similar Amazon adventure during Interterm of 1993. The students produced video documentaries, magazine and newspaper articles, slide shows and other research.

The group will be taking a domestic airline to Miami, Fla., and fly out of Miami to Manaus, the heart of the Amazon. Manaus is a city in the center of Brazil right on the equator. "It is a city trapped in the 19th century," Dr. Keeler said.

From Manaus, the group will travel by boat, the Tucano, west toward Columbia, which is approximately a 200 mile boat ride. Mark Baker, Pollock's college roommate at Duke University, is now the owner of Ecotour Expeditions. This is the business that will provide the boat and the scientist guide. The boat will be equipped with bunkbeds, air-conditioning, hammocks and have food catered by a group run by an American company.

During the boat ride, the group will do a lot of observing and sightseeing. They will have a chance to purchase souvenirs in the city of Manaus as they go to museums, the Opera House, the zoo and the fruit market. They will take a van about 20 miles away from the city, and look at nearby caves.

They will also have the opportunity to go out into the South American rainforest and "observe monkeys swinging in the trees, hear the jaguars, look at footprints and have the chance to see some exotic birds," Dr. Keeler said.

"The students will have the chance to see both the decay of the jungle and the genesis of things waiting to be born," Dr. Keeler said. "They can smell both birth and death in the jungle, because the rainforest is alive ecologically."

Dr. Keeler also commented on the weather students should expect on the trip.

"The weather during January in the Amazon will be like La Verne weather in August," Dr. Keeler said. He said that the weather should be fairly calm and should not go above 90 degrees, but will probably have high humidity.

Some health precautions were also explained to the prospective students. Dr. Keeler said that when he went on the trip to the Amazon in 1993, the Brazilian government required them to get the yellow fever shot. Taking a malaria preventative, and a Hepatitis A shot were also recommended, as were the needs of updating the polio and tetanus shots.

"It's common sense to take these precautions," Dr. Keeler said. "Not just for Brazil, but for any third world country. Brazil could potentially pose a risk with its mosquito borne diseases."

Dr. Keeler said that he is trying to hold the total cost, which includes the cost of meals and both international and domestic airfare, at $2,500. The deadline for a deposit is scheduled for Oct. 30.

The next Amazon informational meeting will be Tuesday Oct. 20 at noon, in the KULV room. For additional information contact Dr. Keeler at ext. 4294 or Pollock at ext. 4277.