No big deal, just using WiFi in the frigging Amazon rain forest. This world we live in is a constant wonder. When we arrived at the lodge yesterday afternoon, I counted eleven of the twenty four people using their smart phones immediately. That did make me a bit sad, as this place is breathtaking. I will attempt to upload a photo of the black lagoon where our Lodge resides. It was a 4 hour boat ride up the Napo river, then 15 minute hike, and a 20 minute paddle canoe. It’s spectacular.
While the lodge area has a total of 24 guests spread out in the cabins, we’re divided into much smaller groups with a guide and naturalist. Our group is 6, Erin & I, along with an older English couple, & their son and his wife, who are our age. They’re delightful and we really lucked out, because we could’ve been stuck with real duds for these 4 days.
We’ve seen so many amazing birds (and long time followers of mine will know that the birds must be pretty amazing for me to care). Lots of turtles. Tons of bugs. Erin, not the biggest bug fan, did remarkably well when she opened our curtain this morning to discover a fairly large brown tarantula on the inside of our screen. I have named her Matilda. About 9 people, in dribs and drabs, left breakfast to go see her. We should have charged admission. Also, I gave James (the 30 yr old in our group) a deserved bit of hell. After he comes back from seeing Matilda, he astonishedly says, “That’s a real tarantula.” “Did you think we were lying?” “No, but I thought you must’ve seen a large spider and overreacted” *cue my indignation* Esp after he and I shared stories about University biology classes yesterday.
We had a 3.5 hour hike early this morning. The rain forest jungle, while similar to others I’ve visited, had some really striking differences. One of which was the deep variety of smells, not all pleasant, but all interesting. I don’t remember that from jungles in SE Asia or central America. I mean they all often have a pleasant vegetable and decay smell. Decay isn’t the right word, as that sounds unpleasant, and this is a very green earthy scent.
A wide variety of parrots were out in force this morning. Creaky parrot noises, flying in mated pairs, or threesomes (that the guide maintains is parents and child, but I’m not so sure there isn’t the odd poly parrot family). The blue and yellow macaws are enormous and so regal with their long tails. I did not bring my large zoom camera this trip, so there may not be as many avian photos. But there were great.
We did see some howler monkeys from very very far away. But did not see any primates on our hike. Geranio (our guide. His name means geranium) made the joke that we’d accidentally put on monkey spray instead of bug spray. Wocka Wocka. And I was internally resigning myself to the fact that this isn’t a zoo, and seeing mammals especially is hit or miss. But on our 40 minute paddle back from the hike, a sizable troop of Squirrel monkeys marched past. Jumping from trees on the left bank to the right. It was very very cool.
Some of y’all may remember I was nervous about the canoe dismount, as it were, because I’ve got terrible balance. In truth, none of me was designed for this environment. Between my wonky legs/wide stance, fear of slippery hills, extreme sun sensitivity, there are moments on the hike when I wonder what the eff I’m even doing here. But then the trail turns a corner, revealing something amazing, and I determine I do have the wherewithal to keep going. *smile* also, I’m writing this AFTER seeing monkeys and after a cold shower and change of clothes, with a frosty “Club” beer in front of me. It’s the Ecuadorian national beer.
This afternoon we’ll be going up a very tall canopy tree tour. And possibly a night time paddle tour to look for Caiman (related to crocodiles).
Also, it’s fricking hot hot hot. This equatorial sun is no joke. The Noel Coward “only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the mid-day sun” song did run through my head during our noon canoe back to base camp.
I will attempt to upload two photos. One of the view of the lake from the lodge, and one of Bob, a resident bird. His wife’s name is Marley but she is more shy.