Monday, September 5, 2011

My First Trip to the Amazon!

When I was in the fourth grade, I had an amazing teacher.  As a teacher now, I think back on her classes, and I'm always impressed by how much she impacted my life.  She was the first person to teach me about simple machines, my state's history, the middle ages, and, of course, the rain forest.  And now, over a decade later, I've made it to the Amazon!

On Monday the 29th, as my motorboat sped for two hours down the Amazon, I couldn't believe my own luck.  I whispered little thank yous to my teacher as a toucan's notorious beak caught my eye just before it soared into the trees.  I remembered having spelling tests over drip tips and bromeliads as I noticed different ferns and orchids from the boat.

I was traveling into Cuyabeno National Park, the second largest in Ecuador.  One of my guides told me that Cuyabeno has twice as many opportunities to see wildlife asYasuní National Park, which has gained more publicity and tourists due to its oil-fields and law suits.  Maybe it's a testament to how much I fell in love with the area, but after four days there, I believed him.  Among the things we saw were monkeys (at least four types), bats, birds (too many types to remember), white and red piranha, caiman, snakes, turtles, river dolphin, tarantulas, frogs, assorted insects and fish, peacock bass, an enormous arowana, and a gecko. That doesn't include the flora, like the Ceibos trees, a type of palo santo tree, sangre de drago, and some honeysuckle-like plants that I kept referring to as "chupitas de miel."  I couldn't possibly sum everything up in one blog post, so I'll stop here and start the photos.  Thank you to Cuayabeno National Park, the Siona tribe, Jamu Lodge (highly recommended), my assorted travel partners, and, of course, my fourth grade teacher!   

swimming and sunsets on Laguna Grande
piranha fishing
 hiking on the Tapir trail

almond-scented centipede


"­¡Qué chévereee!"

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