We creep through the jungle. The Butter Mouse and I have spent the last few days locked in our cabin. She’s moving all the time, and, like everything else in Nadada, this once strange acts blends in my daily routine. We have even added something to our routine where she runs across my shoulders.
Bar three members of staff singing opera backwards, everyone disembarked at our previous stop. We were glad to leave them behind. Strange is not always good. The jungle was noisy, but not with the chaotic howl of different animals and birds. Everything had a rhythm, a mixture of industrial clanging, musical notes played on a huge bells, and steamships puffing out to sea. Not that we saw any of these, or even tried to find them. We were here to look at plants.
A crew member handed out factsheets, but the words slink around the page in the shape of a panther, impossible to read. We don’t walk out too far. The Butter Mouse was with me, snug in the crook of my arm like a cat.
A thin honey coloured fluid drizzled from a hole in a tree, stemmed by a handful of leaves. One of the passengers hands me a cup covered in thin faces and silhouettes.
‘Always be prepared,’ she said.
I put the cup up against the bark with my free, and caught the muddy some liquid. The method of distribution made me ill, but I am a pro in Nadada now, and knew this wouldn’t kill me. I expected a bitter cacao from the first sip, but instead the tree sap has a gorgeous chocolately taste with a hint of coconut milk. My only wish was for marshmallows. They must hang from a bush somewhere out here.
The tiger prowled around us, our entrance in the tail whipping through vines and ferns. The Butter Mouse tugged me in deeper, towards a pink flower that smelt of pubs. Or rather, pub gardens in the sunshine next to an a pint of lager. These flowers smell so much of prawn cocktail crisps I want to pick one and swallow the petals.
Clockwork ticked from further in. A zebra striped aye aye scampered down a tree, and beckoned us with a paw. If we had followed, where would we end up? There must be people wondering around the jungle forever. At least they find the marshmallows.
More gig news next week.
The hot chocolate tree.