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a walk in the jungle

Against all odds, I must say that I slept quite well and although even at 8 AM the weather is already warm and humid, as soon as I got a bit of food into my system, I was more than ready to start the day here in the jungle. 

Leonardo, a local guy from the island, was going to be our guide for today and as soon as we got all of our stuff together for the jungle walk, the only thing left for us to do was to get our rubber boots and lifejackets on and before we knew it, we were back into the canoes again and on the Arajuno river towards Cosano, a private property where we were going to see some primary forest as well as some critters who are living in it. During our almost 2 hour walk, which went through some extremely dense forest, I must say that I was glad to learn more about the trees and plants we came across and although it was a bit sad that we couldn’t see the larger animals living in the area because of the size of our group and the constant talking of a few of our group members, we did however managed to see some smaller ones and they didn’t left me disappointed. Although some of them weren’t easy to find coz they blend in so easily, others were so colorful that it is hard to believe they were living in the same environment.

As soon as we were back at our canoes, tired and all sweaty but with a smile on our face because of all the beautiful things we had seen, we went for another ride on the river, only to stop again at an animal rescue center called Amazoonico. 

The center itself relies mainly on donations and volunteers working at this place. The main purpose or goal of the center is to rescue animals from illegal trade and give them a home where they can recover before they are set free in the forest reserve, if at all possible. The ones who can’t be set out again, remain at the center or zoo in this case, till the end of their days. During our walk through the center, we were hosted by a girl from Switzerland, who showed us the area. Surprisingly enough the zoo not only had different types of parrots, toucans and apes but a boa constrictor, a tapir, some turtles and crocodiles as well as a jaguar and other small catlike species. I just found it so incredible to believe that people go out into the forests to hunt these animals so that they can sell them for big money to Western people who want to have an exotic pet. Sadly enough, small centers like this one, learns us that even till this day, more idiots and morons are living on this beautiful planet we call home, than should be allowed.

By the time we got back to the hotel, it was already 2.30 PM and just in the nick of time, we could still enjoy a quick lunch, which was served till 3 PM. It seemed that we were not only in luck with having a bit of food into our tummies, but with the weather as well. As soon as we arrived back at the hotel, it started to rain as well and not just a small shower, it literally came from the heavens above and about half an hour later, when it finally stopped, we could go further with our jungle tour.

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In the afternoon, we were going to visit a local family and learn more about their way of living. As soon as we arrived at the scene so to speak, we were welcomed by local kids and during our walk towards the house of one of the elders of the community, our guide Leonardo showed us a little bit more about their way of cultivating food.

Upon our arrival into a typical Quichua house, we were immediately welcomed by an elderly woman and her grandchild and although we didn’t speak their language, Leonardo was friendly enough to translate everything.Our visit into the house was although a short one, a very interesting one as well, as we got to see how “chicha”, a typical alcoholic drink of the the local tribes, was prepared and if we wanted, we could even have a try. I must admit that I was a bit tempted, but being a good father I suppose, our tourleader Freddy told us that if we wanted to have a sip, their might be a change we got really sick and the signs he made weren’t all that good, so instead, I just passed the bowl on to the next one.

The prospect of being sick, wasn’t something I was looking for and I guess a few others of our group thought the same, so we just passed it all together to Leonardo, who didn’t mind all that much. Since we didn’t have a sip, he could empty the entire bowl and looking at his face, I guess our grandmother had made a very good “chicha”!

Once outside again, we had one last look at the main house and before we definitely said goodbye to the family, we first had a talk about food in general and of course the way of hunting in the jungle, with a blowgun. Just for kicks, we could all have a try, but just let me tell you that I turn out to be a bad hunter, so if I happen to be left on my own on a deserted island … I have to become a true veggie, that’s for sure!
As soon as we were back at our canoes, we had one last boat ride of the day, towards the indian village of Ahuano, the place where our hotel was situated as well.

Upon our arrival in the village, we first had a quick visit to the local ceramic shop, where the lady of the house turned out to be a real artist. 
With less than an hour of daylight, the majority of our group wanted to walk back towards the hotel for a drink at the poolbar and although this sounded interesting, the prospect of seeing the rest of the village was more appealing and with just a handful of people, we walked through the main street, cheered a bit for the locals during their volleyball contest and visited a family where the man of the house could make a statue out of balsa wood in just mere minutes. Impressive to say the least!

As it was getting darker and darker, we slowly walked back the the hotel and as soon as we got back to our bungalow, instead for one last dip in the pool, we just went for the view on our outside porch till it was just too dark. A relaxing shower later and it was already time for dinner at 8 PM.

Like the day before, it turned out that we had the same table guests, which on itself wasn’t such a bad thing. Sadly enough food wise, it was a repetition as well. The starter turned out to be a delicious broth, but the meats and fish as well as the veggies, were either dry or inedible or to put things simple, just plain cold. This time however, the desserts which consisted of various cakes and cookies, were very scrumptious and needless to say, I went for seconds. Just like yesterday, we turned to our bungalow around 11 PM. We still needed to pack coz tomorrow another day on the road awaited us and by the time we turned off our lights, it was well after midnight, a good time as ever to close our eyes!

Posted by Ils1976 05:04 Archived in Ecuador

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