I love the smell of diesel in the morning

Rough ride on the Rio Sinnombre
Amazing, how often you get cold in the tropics. Take this train in India, that leaves steaming Goa for some place with temples in the sweltering inland. As you go there for just two days you leave almost all your luggage behind, wearing only shorts and a shirt, but the train crosses a mountain-range in the night and you spend it with rattling teeth under your flimsy towel...

On this 4-day trek in the Venezuelan jungle we were in boats a lot - no roads over there - but the water that comes up from the river is luke-warm. But every afternoon at around four o'clock heavy rains start coming down and that water is a lot colder. So at the end of each day we came back to the little island where our basecamp was shivering to the bone, jumping out of the boats and sprinting for a front seat at the camp fire.
The inexperienced always imagine a jungle to be a hotspot of zoo-sights, -sounds and -sensations. At least I did, but in fact I have not once seen a mammal in this type of jungle. Sometimes you hear monkeys, and occasionally you see birds and perhaps a frog or lizard. Even insects are not always around in large numbers. Not much colour either; just lots of browns and greens that smear into wall-to-wall camouflage under the dense foliage.
But there was a smell that you learn to associate with the jungle: burning diesel. The boats' engines left trails of smoke on the water that hovered between the trees for a long time, and the base-camp at night was always saturated with the smell. Numerous little tins of diesel with a wad of burning cloth in it took care of that, producing the greasy odour that kept all the bugs and mosquitous off the island.