Darlene Quaife

Days & Nights On The Amazon


Days and Nights On The Amazon What do a Canadian farm woman and a Brazilian plant collector have in common? An enigmatic death, a monkey and destiny. Liberty Hall and Acacia Aranha are worlds apart, but share the same dreams. Death brings them together in the city of Manaus on the Amazon River, but pales beside the river journey Libby and Acacia are compelled to take - a journey of mystery and revelation.

Days & Nights on the Amazon unfolds during a five-day boat trip from Belem at the mouth of the Amazon to Manaus at the encontro das aquas --- the meeting of the waters. Acacia Aranha is The Collector, destined to become the medicine plant collector for a conglomerate of international pharmaceutical companies who see the rainforest as their private drug store.

An Alberta farm woman, Liberty Hall, is destined to meet Acacia Aranha. Libby's husband, Preston, imports and raises animals for sale to research labs. Preston dies suddenly and mysteriously while collecting a South American monkey from the Calgary airport. All of Preston's animals are seized by the authorities, quarantined and used to research Preston's unexplained death. Libby rescues the family dog, Schneider, from the quarantine lab and they flee their farm for the Canada/U.S. border.

What began as an escape from authority becomes a quest along the Amazon River for what killed Preston. Libby and Schneider embark on a boat journey, travelling from one end of the Amazon River to the other, meeting Acacia Aranha, and discovering much more than Preston's cause of death. 



On this boat the poor get the choice accommodations. The least favourable spaces go to those with homes, with beds they are reluctant to leave. Bow passengers spent the night waiting with the wharf rats. Those who have strung their hammocks in the stern are passengers who arrived at the dock by dawn. The stragglers fill midship, attaching their bright, mostly new hammocks to the horizontal beams supporting the upper deck above their heads. To look from bow to stern is to look through a woven birdcage, a gaiola.

Acacia Aranha is one of the early risers. She leaves the bed of her lover while he sleeps. It is easier that way, but never easy, Twenty-five years of practice has not made it so. In all those years they have lived mostly apart. Her work, her home five days up the river from him. She is the collector; he is the doctor.


Journey with Acacia Aranha up the Amazon River: (Download pdf)