A casual weekend in the AMAZON RAINFOREST.
I've had a few moans and groans recently as it turns out I have been neglecting my personal blogs, and loyal readers, while I have been working on my Tips and Advice section on my new website.
But fear no more, I'm back on the waggon, and a pretty exciting one at that.
Let me quickly summarise where I left off...
We left Otavalo and our host family the day after carnival ended across Ecuador. The time felt right to move on and the offer of another family to live with in Quito couldn't of been decided easier (as they were the Salizar' s family's cousions) The plan was to stay a night,book a tour for the next day and off we go to the Amazon.
But then Nanny Katty cooked us homemade chips and eggs, so we stayed for 10 days instead.
Ok back on track ( see.. you didn't miss that much)
So the big plan, the trip of a lifetime, the unknown, the AMAZON, finally it was our time.
Let's go, let's do this.
Oh we have the book a tour? That sounds like hassle. Let's get coffee instead.
Katty (the daughter we are staying with) Santiago (her friend) Ryan (my boyfriend, wait you knew that) and I (now I'm just enjoying brackets) Sat in our new favourite coffee house Juan Valdez and ordered our new favourite coffee, Colombian frozen Oreo.
I was in coffee heaven, no one was invited in, so I just drifted in and out of the conversation which went a little something like this.
'So how are we going to get into the Amazon?
Oh my God this coffees amazing'
' You have a friend that can drive us did you say?
Do you want to try a bit of my coffee?'
'We leave tomorrow was that?'
Ohh big chunk of Oreo.
'Oh ok bye see you tomorrow then, No I won't forget my wellies'
Maybe I'll get another coffee.
I'm sure the rest of the conversation was full of interesting facts, but I was caught off guard, you can't expect me to drink coffee AND organise can you?
Lucky Ryan had this ability though eh.
So as easy as that we had skipped the middle man and were heading into the Amazon Rainforest at 5am the next morning. Where were we going to stay?
Yeah I missed that bit as well.
NINE hours later (for some reason I thought it would be a lot quicker than that) we arrived slap bang in the middle of the Ecuadorian, Peruvian and Colombian Amazon, but officially on the Ecuadorian side.
We still didn't know where we were going, but we couldn't care less as we had arrived into the lungs of the world.
Stumbling across a park ranger we are informed there was a lodge a 15 minute walk away. Through the jungle.
I felt like Lara Croft brushing away trees, being run at by a wild pig and swinging from branches.
And what I mean by that is jumping every time a leaf touched me, nearly bursting into tears when a pig came huddling towards me, and watching Ryan swing from trees.
And just like a scene out of a movie the forest made a clearing in the mist and what we saw before us was about 15 wooden, straw roof cabins sitting on a winding river with monkeys jumping through the trees. And the pig. The pig was still following us.
Our cabin had no walls, but was by the far the most luxurious accommodation we had paid for on our whole trip. A double bed sat in the middle of the rustic wooden floor with a huge mosquito net hanging over it that had already collected what looked like half of the Amazon's insects.
The private bathroom came with an Amazonian wild frog as a pet, who refused to let you sit on the toilet, and enjoyed playing 'make the human jump' with us.
As we had arrived late the only activity that night was sleeping. And sleeping I did not do. The sounds of the Amazon are awesome! Seriously something, but also seriously scary. I could of sworn an elephant rustling a crisp packet and a lion playing basketball was in our room that night. That or a cricket and some cockroaches, but either way I thought it was a better idea to sleep with one eye open.
Waking up the next morning felt like I had been giving a new lease of life, I had survived a night in the Amazon Rainforest. Bear Grylls has nothing on me.
After a few gallons of coffee we were ready to go. What were we doing?
I forgot to ask that.
Travelling has seemed to have made me incredibly laid back, I did not care, or have any preference on where my days ended up, everyday is a non stop adventure, sign me up to whatever it entails.
And today?Parana Fishing.
We went speading off down the river,nearly falling in 42000 times, which provided many a screech by me, with the thought I would get eaten up with in seconds by the pirians we were about to catch. Once we had found a calm enough spot on the river we attached our meat and brased a pose that would protect us from the hundreds of pirians we were about to catch.
That would of been a great story. One to put right here on this paragraph.
As the same as all my experience in fishing we caught nothing. We sat for a few hours and nothing.
Well I lie, the driver caught one but I'm still not convinced he got it from the river and not his back pocket, as no one saw the catching happen. But at least we got to see one, the red ones at that (the most deadly) I don't want to shatter your illusions but I thought it actually looked quite cute, like a nice fish, one you would see in the doctors fish tank, in fact I liked him. Until I saw his teeth, then I wasn't so keen, but there's a lesson there for all of us, don't trust cute fish, they will kill you.
Carrying on on our deadly animal tour I spotted a snake on the bank, I pointed out to Ryan 'look there's a snake' and moved on, I figured that's what happened in the Amazon, you saw a lot of snakes. However the driver overhearing my un infused spot, quickly stopped the boat and paddled towards it.
'Will kill you in one bite' he said as the snake literally slid into the water, head high, fangs out speedily heading towards us.
Ermm we should probably move then.
So if the thoughts of piranha underneath us wasn't gut turning enough, now there were deadly snakes that could swim.
Back on try land with all limbs attached we settle down in the communal cabin with the rest of the guests to start dinner. As we are all talking one guy points to the corner of the roof and says 'I thought that was a tarantula then' We all swing round and in unision confirm 'that is a tarantula'.
Lovely, a tarantula bigger than our hand is slowly moving closer and closer towards our dinner with a every moment sending a shiver down your spine. Time for bed I think.
Back in the cabin the tarantula had obviously told his mates about us, as a little less hairy version waited for our arrival on top of the bed. Another sleepless night for me.
Maybe our pet frog had eaten it as it was gone the next morning?
Anyway today was the day we had been waiting for, the boat trip tour along the Amazon river, with possibilities of pink dolphins and anacondas. We were told to bring our swimming stuff, although I was hesitant after the last 'might see'
The night before as we all hung out with the tarantula we exchange stories of anacondas deaths and fights. Well I didn't, I listened in disbelief that anacondas can not only eat crocodiles, but humans. Secretively I really didn't want too see one.
We were off, almost straight away we spotted all different kinds of monkeys in the above trees, picking bugs from huge spider webs and grazing on fruits. The sounds they produced really made it feel like a dream. It was hard to believe we were sitting on the Amazon river listening to monkeys chat and watching them living their everyday lives that usually you only see on documentaries.
The boat to the main river took over 2 hours, and for every minute of those I was scouring the water for a splash of pink,or listening for a sequel of excitement.
Pink Dolphins, for me, have always been animals of mystery and fairytayles, just the name along brings a glisten to my eye. As a child I was obsessed with dolphins, and going into my adulthood not much has changed. I tried not to build my hopes up, but I was fighting with the fact that this may be my only chance to see them in the wild. When I really really really want something, I think of my mum, and then I leave it up to her, and that way either way I get to think of her when I'm at my happiest.
Arriving at the lake it had been transformed into a huge mirror, the water was completely untouched, almost like un trod snow and the sun produced shine like a newly polished floor. I think it was one of the best views of natural beauty I had ever seen.
This was where the pink dolphins lived, and rightly so, such creatures deserved such surroundings. My fairytayles were coming together.
We turned the engine off and sat in silence, I had such a huge smile on my face just knowing the dolphins were under us somewhere.
And then just like that a nose appeared, and then some spray and then a fin. THEY WERE HERE!!!!
There were two of them and they only came up every few minutes, but I didn't care, I saw them!!
Next it was time to look for the deadly,human eating, kings of the jungle, the Anaconda. Safe to safe I wasn't as pumped for this search. So I wasn't too upset when we called off the search after about 30 minutes. Well that was until the boat stop and the driving suggested we take a dip in the river.
'It's safe here, anacondas don't like the middle of the lake'
Somehow this didn't sound like a convincing fact??
However I am not one to miss an opportunity,so stripped off and jumped right in, fully expecting to be taken captive from the lake. Emerging seconds later I realized this was fun and convinced Ryan to plunge into the murky unknown waters too. And guess what? We didn't get eaten by Anacondas or piranha, must have been our lucky day.
The rest of the day was spent in an Amazonian bliss, we visited a local community, saw more monkeys and returned back for dinner and then on a night hunt for caymans. A very successful one at that, there piercing yellow eyes glowed through the darkness making it so easy to spot them and get really close.
The forth and final day had arrived and after a guided walk through the rainforest they suggested we take a ride down the river and ride the natural rapid that had occurred during the last night's down fall. Sounds fun right? If it wasn't in the same spot we want piranha fishing a few days before.
But again I couldn't miss out and I was getting a bit fed up of constantly thinking I was going to get eaten by a deadly Amazonian creature.
We paddled along the rapid a lot further than I thought, to where the river was the highest, they chucked us some life jackets and literally pushed us out.
And there we were, riding a natural rapid on the Amazon river, with nothing more than the monkeys in the trees above us and the life threatening animals below us. The boat was long gone. We were mother nature's children now, and it felt so good.
The Amazon Rainforest experience was by far the most surreal and unique so far. I was so surprised by the things I loved about it, the smell, the air, the butterfly and the sounds. If I'm honest it was the total opposite of what I was expecting. I envisioned colourful flowers, buldging fruits, animals around every corner, Tarzan swinging from the trees, tribes trying to hunt us. But what we got was the true experience, not the one made up for the movies. Animals were there, but hidden, flowers were there but camouflaged, tribes were there but inviting and now another thing that is there is my heart.
Amazon I will return, we are not done yet!!
Oh and I didn't forget my wellies! We even managed to trade them for 3 beers with the manager of the lodge when we left.
What does this prove?
When drinking coffee you really don't have to listen to the conversation.