Hola for some very smelly Jungle explorers!
We have spent the last 4 days in the Tropical Rainforest in the far East of Ecuador. To get there involved an overnight bus from Quito to Lago Agrio, another bus to the entrance to Cuyabeno and then 2 hours on a motor canoe to the actual lodge. And we were subjected to torrential rain throughout, resulting in two very soggy explorers.
Rain aside, we have had a fantastic time in the rainforest. We have seen all sorts of animals: several types of monkey, butterflies, macaws, a sloth, piranhas, an anaconda, toucans, ´stinky turkeys´, various other birds of varying colours, caimen (like crocodiles) and various insects, some pleasant some not. And various plants and trees including the massive ceiba tree which towers way above the canopy and has a base the size of a small house, cocoa trees, and various other weird and wonderful fruit trees.
We stayed in a jungle lodge that was only accessible by canoe in very basic huts on stilts above the ground where, if you looked closely enough you could see the water through the floorboards. From there we went out each day on various excursions, including a trip to a local community where we learned a bit about how they lived and visited a Shaiman. We also paddled a canoe into a more remote bit of the jungle to see yet more wildlife, and we went for a night hike to visit the insects that only come out at night.
Just as Madeleine had to overcome her fear of dogs in Cuba, Joe has had to overcome her fear of creepy crawlies as they were everywhere. Madeleine went to put her boot on on the first day and was greeted by a huge frog jumping out of it. We also had tarantulas living in the thatched roofs and cockroaches living just about everywhere!
We are now back in Lago Agrio - a town that purportedly is full of prostitutes, columbian guerillas and drug traffickers - but parents, please don´t worry, we are getting the first bus out again! We thought we had cracked the photo thing - we´ve managed to back them up onto a USB stick for the first time. But lo, uploading is just too much for these PCs - we will try again in the next town.