Thursday, June 19, 2008

Swimsuits...and Candiru

Robyn at Lentils and Rice has gotten a new 'modest' swimsuit...

Her new outfit looks like a long-sleeved culottes set... and I keep thinking, won't she sink with all that fabric clogging up every stroke?
She wants a modest look. I can understand that, having jumped into the Amazon, feeling like half the crew was standing there watching. (They weren't, but such is the feeling when you're one of a bare handful of women on board, accompanied by a whole passel of guys. And it was a one-piece tank suit, in case you're wondering.)
Swimming in the Amazon -- or, in this case, in one of its connected lakes (Region of the Lakes) was an interesting experience. The guys on the boat had many interesting conversations about the "conjadue," actually spelled 'candiru,' a thin Brazilian fish (actually a freshwater catfish) that has an interesting habit of inserting itself inside fish gills when they open them to breathe.
The candiru has also been known to follow a stream of fresh urine, and try to insert itself into human orifices...especially guys:
The obvious response here is 'well, don't pee in the water.' But that seemed irrelevant to the Male Contingent on Board.
This whole situation was not helped by a documentary on parasites that aired on the Discovery Channel, shortly before we left for Brazil. It featured, in excruciating detail, some poor man's encounter with the 'candiru.' The man won in the end, but had to endure the fish being taken out in rotting bits and pieces out of HIS bits and pieces.
Add to this the ever-present knowledge that alligators and caimans enjoyed hanging out in the water (though mostly closer to shore) and piranhas were around. (Though they seemed to cause the most trouble also closer to shore, and closer to dry season -- we were there in the rainy season.)
I kept remembering how often I'd seen the ship's crew in the water, especially when we were hacking our way down the creek. I kept thinking there was no way they would allow us to go swimming, if it was that dangerous. (In fact, we had two swim times!) Granted, Boyd kept one or two crew members on lookout at all times, and they did throw out those silly life-preserver doughnuts -- one per customer.
The first swim time, a few guys went bravely out. (And jumped off the top of the boat, totally nuts...) The second time, all of the teenagers went out, along with yours truly and one of the men. After all that sweating and heat, the water seemed like a lukewarm bathtub. I had a great time, paddling around and watching those silly teenagers grab each other, yell and thrash around. They were making so much delighted racket that I figured any self-respecting alligator would grab them first!
It was delicious, 'immodest' swimsuit and all.
And no candirus, either.


Robyn said...

Hi, Cindy. Actually, my new swimsuit is very lightweight, not heavy at all, and it's made of water-resistant fabric so it doesn't absorb water at all.

Cindy Brick said...

Thanks for mentioning this, certainly would make it more comfortable, then! It's not my 'cup of tea,' but then again, walking around in your standard one-piece suit isn't, either. oo drafty, and I am always pulling on things. I wish there was some sort of compromise you could find that would still be comfortable...maybe a shorter/sleeveless version of your suit. I look terrible in capri lengths, anyways.
Thanks so much for writing -- I was surprised to see you on here, as I check your column generally every day, and am sad when you don't have something new up! Your cooking ideas have really gotten me to thinking about using lentils and beans more creatively. (On the Amazon trip, beans and rice were a staple for every evening meal. No matter what else was served.)
Keep on with your wonderful column...thank you.

Robyn said...

Hi, Cindy. Here's a link to the swimsuits I buy for my girls:

They are very durable and comfortable, and I've been so happy with them for our girls.

The wholesomewear suits are not hot at all, and are very comfy, but still modest, no tugging or pulling needed. I bought one for myself last year, but I prefer more coverage so I bought the capri length suit you mention, for this year.

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