Everyone dies. Not everyone truly lives. -William Wallace "Braveheart"

Friday, May 27, 2011

Adventure in the Rainforest

We thought we had given ourselves plenty of time to get ready to head out into the rainforest by 9:00 am, but at 9:05 we were just starting to eat breakfast and Alejandro and Al still needed to go to Western Union to make arrangements for our secret trip.  At 10:00 am (an hour late) we finally headed out.  We went back to the boat and travelled back up the Amazon 1 hr and stopped at a little village where we walked to a farm where we saw caiman, paiche, and a couple wild parrots.  It started raining on our way back to the boat.

We had another hour and a half to go up river before we docked again, but our driver got a little lost and fortunately ran into another boat who let us follow him to the clearing where we were supposed to dock.  We pulled up, hopped out, and trudged into the rainforest, through the mud to our huts.  I was glad I decided to wear pants and my combat boots despite the heat.  We settled into our huts which we just oohed and ahhed over how cute and tropical they were.  After getting settled in we met in the main hut and had lunch which consisted of the best catfish I had ever had, rice, heart of palm salad, and yucca. 

At 2:30 pm already hot and sweaty, we proceeded to make our way deep into the rainforest with our guide Goblin (aka Alian) with nothing but a machete.  We saw a rubber tree, a laxative tree, a hanging vine you could cut and drink from (una de gato), and an iodine tree.  Our guide dug up a tarantula and I put it on my face (fyi I am TERRIFIED of spiders!).  I also got to put my hand in a termite nest and let them crawl all over me.  It turns out termites are natural insect repellent if you smear them over your body and yes, I realize the irony of that.  We also learned a lot: Don’t eat fruit that grows on a vine because it is poisonous, how to spot and dig up a tarantula out of its hole, and not to go with a tour group that doesn’t have any online reviews…… Our guide started saying that he was lost, but he was kind of smiling so I thought nothing of it.  I thought maybe he was trying to instill a little adventure into our trip.  So I’m still lollygagging and taking pictures when Alejandro runs up and says WE ARE LOST.  STOP TAKING PICTURES.  Now we start to get a little worried and we quickly dropped everything and followed Alejandro toward where our guide disappeared, but he was nowhere to be found…we were screaming for a good 20 min before we heard an answer in the distance.  The whole time I was thinking “OMG! This is why there are no reviews.  No one makes it out alive to leave a review!” Mom’s feet started hurting really bad, and we were still very much lost, and to top it all off our guide kept saying we only have 10 minutes til it’s pitch black out here.  After being lost 4.5 hours we finally found our way back to the huts.  The brush was so thick we didn’t even see the huts until we broke through 10 feet from them.

Drinking from an una de gato vine


 They had informed us earlier in the day that cold beers would be available for us to purchase that night, but after this ordeal I though “I will die if they make us pay for the only cold beverage here after getting us lost for nearly 5 hrs.” but sure enough, they did.  They informed us that they would turn on the generator for an hour so we could have light to get a quick shower and eat dinner, but the generator was broke.  After watching them struggle for a few minutes my man stepped in and showed them how to fix it J

We ate dinner and then took a FREEZING cold shower (the water was so cold it felt like needles!), then went to bed.  I tried to write in my journal, but the generator switched off before I could finish so I put my headlamp on to get a few more minutes of writing in….BAD IDEA! Bugs started swarming around my head and in my mouth so I gave up and flipped it off.  At night it sounded like one of those sounds of the rainforest soundtracks only it wasn’t relaxing because all you could do is sit there and wonder when one of those jumanji man-eating bugs or jaguars is going to tear through the netting, or crawl through the giant hole in the ceiling.  It started pouring and didn’t let up all night and all I could think is thank gosh we made it back and didn’t have to spend the night braving the elements.

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