Saturday, June 6, 2015

Day 5: The Amazon, I jumped in!!!!

This was the big day in the Amazon!  I awoke early this morning and from out balcony all I could see was mist and a slight outline of the river in the distance, all that and I was surrounded by birds chirping and calling. It was a great way to wake up,  though I did feel drenched from the humidity. Nothing horrible though;

So we ate breakfast, lathered on the bug spray; sorry I have no desire to catch yellow fever or malaria. Then we got our boots on and jumped into the canoes to head to the rain forest. We were heading for a hike.

I was so excited I forgot my mortal peril of being in a canoe and truly looked forward to this unique experience. When we got to the location of the start of the hike we were greeted by a Morpho butterfly, it was huge and just fluttered by us like nothing special was happening.

When we got to location we were given two options for a hike, we could go on a mile hike or a half mile hike. Knowing who my sister is I’ll let you have a guess on which one we went on…… yep, the long one. But totally worth it.

First thing I noticed when we got into the forest was a spider, then another spider, then an even bigger spider. Yeah, if you thought the forest was filled with frogs and butterflies like I did you would be mistaken. The forest is the domain of spiders, and big ones, and ones that are bright yellow with horns, and ones that would drop from the canopy above to land on you unexpectedly…. Story time!

So mostly the hike was going really well, beside the first few spiders which just chilled in their webs not caring about the tourists, we saw ants, and a frog and termite hives in trees, we saw walking trees and rubber trees, I even ate a lemon ant. The hike was going really good, we had just come off a zip line to get across a dip in the path. It was going really well, then we stopped for a rest and as I stood there waiting for others to catch their breath, something caught me eye. Right above my dad something the size of a pingpong ball was lowering itself from a 20-foot tree. My first thought was spider, than no. Spiders don’t have webs that long, but then the thing landed on my dads leg and all I could do was point and blubber. It was a huge spider! Our guide rushed over with a branch to coax the monster from my dad’s leg and after successfully maneuvering the thing proceeded to show us. It was all speckly and big, did I mention big. After a good look, our guide thought we had enough and brought the thing toward a bush but the creature had another agenda and started climbing up its thread it originally climbed down. It went and all I could think was I really wished I had brought a hat.

 this is a caterpillar for a beetle...not a butterfly :(

 These are the infamous walking trees, which will move 2in each year, 
for a tree that is fast
 Here is your natural grater, used by the locals

 There was a lot of mud
We had to pass a suspension bridge, which was a bit sketchy, there was just one small rope stopping you from plummeting to your doom. But it was still fun. Also at another point, we got to sit in a little basket and zip line across a small valley.  There were lots of other very awesome things to see, many I put above as pictures. The place was beautiful, scary but beautiful.

About halfway through the hike it started to rain; and since it being the rain forest it did a nice job despite our parkas to soak us through.  It was fine though cause the forest was awesome, not only for the creatures but for the plants too; and mud, it was fun squishing around the paths.
But like I said we were soaked at the end and ready to go back, but our guide had another surprise tucked up his sleave. Cause after we got into the canoe we only went a small distance to another shore where there were two raftes on the beach. Aparantly they wanted us to float down part of the river. As soon as you stepped on the raft is sunk about five inches into the water and with all of us on there it stayed that deep in there. But hey we were already wet.

So I got on and we started down our merry way, I thought ‘this is nice, I don’t know if this is a good idea but ok’ then out guide stood up, looked around and said that this was a pretty good spot to jump in. We looked at him as if he was crazy and I snidely remarked that he should go first. He shrugged and jumped.

Well great that means it was my turn and since I was already sitting in the water, already soaked from the rain, might as well get the full experience and I jumped in. I didn’t stay in long, it was cold and you couldn’t see two inches into the water; (apparently these are a good sign, as it would be too cold for reptiles and piranha can’t survive in murky water.) But I did it, I swam in the Amazon. I goaded Tasha into jumping in as well, thought I’m sure she would have done it without me saying anything but mom and dad stayed on the rafts. Missed out!

Well, the rest of the raft ride was uneventful; we got back into the canoes and headed to the hotel. When we got there, instead of letting us go back to our rooms to shower they took us immediately to a native food tasting session. There we tried tilapia, palm centers, Yuka (it’s like a tuber mix with potato), caffeine tea, plaintains, and grubs. I thought I would never try those wriggle squishie worm things; but I did. I tried it all. I smelt like dirty water, dripping wet and I was eating grubs, and these weren’t small. But I was there for the experience and that is what I got.

We were finally given time to go shower and clean up which was perfect, and I was grateful for the plastic bags I picked up from Otavalo because my cloths would not dry in that humidity. Oh well.

We had lunch then we were given the option of going to a butterfly farm or an animal rescue center. We chose the animal rescue center and it was so worth it!

When we got there, we were greeted by a trumpeter bird that followed us around during the whole visit. The rescue center was named Amazoonia, clever but they did good work, they rehabilitated animals then released them if possible. There were all sorts of awesome creatures, we saw an anaconda, three Ocelots, toucans, macaws, Pekeri pigs, black and gold guinea pig like creatures, long nosed raccoons, caymen, spider monkeys, and squirrel monkeys. The spider monkeys had a new baby that they showed off which was adorable; but my favorite was the Ocelots. They were so cute and pretty.

This is Trumpie the Trumpeter bird

As we were leaving we were ambushed by squirrel monkeys. One lept on a couple of peoples shoulders finally landing on our canoes, we couldn’t leave till the monkey was off but it was just playing around and wouldn’t leave despite our canoe drivers attempts to shoo it. They were really cute but eventually it got the hint and lept to a nearby branch.

We got back to the hotel and had dinner, played a round of five deck, watched the bats fly around a bit then it was finaly time for bed.

But the adventure in the rainforest wasn’t over yet. Earlier in the day I had laid one pair of my pant over my bed and as I remove them I found ANTS, hundreds of them all over my bedspread where my pants had been. They were tiny, about the size of a grain of sugar, but even more weird was they were all dead. So weird. I couldn’t figure out what to do, so I just wiped them off and went to bed.

Yeah, I didn’t know what to expect on this trip but so far, not a disappointment.

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