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Crocodiles lined the shore, watching with goofy grins filled sharp teeth. They'd dive into the river, bury themselves in the water, so that their eyes could watch you pass from just above the surface. Barely noticeable. Birds. Birds taller than a grown man nested at the tops of trees, defying gravity. Rodents, bigger than dogs, strolled in the sand. Monkeys, smaller than a palm, played in the branches. Pink dolphins swam up next to the boat. Fish, with teeth so strong they could leave a bloody weld in your leg, swarmed in the water....

It didn't matter if my eyes were open or closed. Everything looked the same either way. I had to trust that my guide was still in front of me. That if I lifted my arm, it would graze his back. Of course, he was there. If he had moved I would have heard him. The crunching of dead leaves below his boots. The snapping of twigs. That was exactly why we'd turned our flashlights off and were standing, still, in the darkness of the Amazon jungle. Earlier, in the daylight, we'd seen capuchin monkeys swinging through the trees, wild pigs stampeding, a...