Friday, June 22, 2012

Thursday, May 20

Hi! We are back in Quito for the night after our adventure to the Amazon! It was an amazing experience and we learned so much about the wildlife and jungle. We stayed in a very remote place, and to get there, we went on a 30 minute plane ride from Quito to Coca, and from Coca, it was a 5 hour canoe ride (motorized canoe) along the Napo River and Parahna River to the Amazon Dolphin Lodge. The lodge is located on the Parahna Lagoon (doesn’t that name make you want to jump right into the water?!)
Once we arrived, we put our bags in our huts and then went in different canoes explored the lagoon and river. Later, we had a delicious dinner and some people went on a bug hunt, while others chose to enjoy the hammocks.
The next morning, we woke up early and went on another canoe ride and saw some cool birds, and returned to have breakfast. After breakfast, we went on a 3-hour hike, led by our guide, and learned about surviving in the wilderness. Later in the day, after lunch, we enjoyed a great siesta, which started out as most of us reading, and resulted in everyone falling asleep after about 5 minutes. After dinner, we hopped back on the canoes and went looking for Caymans (crocodiles or alligators…I’m not exactly sure….) Callie and I were in a wooden canoe, and it was slowly gaining water every few minutes, so we had a minor freak out because we thought our canoe was going to sink in the Parana Lagoon, late at night, with Caymans lurking nearby. However, we survived and the canoe didn’t sink (hooray!)
On the second morning, we woke up and had breakfast, and then we went on another 3 hour hike and learned about medicinal plants and such in the jungle. We learned a ton of cool things, and we even ate live ants that tasted like citrus! After lunch, instead of a siesta, we got in the big canoe and went to Monkey Island, and saw some really cool wooly monkeys. After dinner, Bailey, Micheal, and I went on a bug hunt with our leaders and Amazon guide. We saw some really awesome things, such as frogs (including a glass frog that is transparent), night monkeys, and other various insects.
On our last full day, we started with an early morning hike looking for monkeys and birds, and then returned to the lodge for breakfast. After breakfast, we went on canoes and traveled up Piranha River to go piranha fishing. I caught one, and tried it later at lunch! After lunch, instead of a siesta, some of us went swimming and kayaking. After getting over my initial fear of getting eaten by a piranha, it was really fun, and I didn’t get eaten!
Today, we left the lodge early and got back on the motorized canoe to head back to Coca. Just our luck, it was pouring down rain for the first 2.5-3 hours of the trip, our string for the motor of the boat broke, and I was convinced I was on the verge of developing hypothermia, luckily though, that didn’t happen. We made it to Coca and flew back to Quito, and we are now repacking for our trip to the Galapagos in the morning! Adios!

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