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Mosquitoes? Not This Girl!

The first day of our Amazon Rainforest experience blew me away. My entire life I have fantasized about experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of the jungle. The actual experience was all that and more. Going to bed on the first night in our little bungalow made of bamboo and palm leaves, I anticipated what the second day in the Rainforest had in store.

Amazon hut

Greg standing outside our hut in the Amazon.

We awoke early the next day to the sounds of roosters, competing birds and a multitude of insects. Breakfast of fried egg, toast, and plantains awaited us. I had difficulty eating due to the lack of sanitation (soap was no where to be found), but Greg had no problem with this; finishing his meal in record time. Thunderstorms approaching, we hiked 5km back to the Madre de Dios River.

path into the Amazon

Greg walking over a swamp area in the Amazon.

We took another pekye-pekye (this time a much faster one) further dowillegal Gold Boatn the river. Along the way we passed numerous illegal gold boats. People live aboard these little boats, suck up the river silt, screen the large rocks out, then examine what is left for gold. It was fascinating to watch. After about 45 minutes on the pekye-pekye (they are called this because of the sound they make) we arrived at Taricaya Ecological Reserve which is a Projects Abroad program with about 10 volunteers from all over the world studying biodiversity, market value of young mahogany trees, animal habitats and rescuing native animals. The most fascinating part to me was watching and interacting with all the rescued animals which consisted of 4 different types of monkeys, parrots, toucans, macaws, otters, tapirs, jaguar, baby puma, and a cat that reminded me of the feline in Shrek (with those huge eyes…so cute.) The entire time here I thought of my sister Kiley and how this place is right up her alley. Kiley, if you ever want to take some time off, this is a place you should definitely look into. My favorite animals to interact with were of course the monkeys. They were so playful and we really got to get up close and personal. I fed them while Greg held hands with some of the spider monkeys. They seemed to enjoy our presence and didn’t seem frightened at all.

feeding monkeys

naughty monkeys

Greg getting friendly

 

 

 

 

 

After enjoying the rescued animals we hiked 30 minutes back into the Amazon, destination canopy bridge. Without machinery, the bridge was built in 6 months by volunteers 5 years ago and is an impressive thing to witness and experience. The first platform is 70 feet high and is connected to the second platform 150 feet above the jungle canopy via a 1,000 foot bridge. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous. If Herb Dietz was present, no way we would have been allowed to traverse the swaying span.

 With risk comes reward:

Canopy Bridge v5

Amazon Canopy v3

Canopy Bridge v11

 

 

 

 

 

Having experiencing the canopy bridge, we headed back to the Reserve for a lunch of rice, chicken, and potatoes while the skies opened and let out a fierce rain storm. Our time in the Amazon Rainforest was coming to an end as we boarded the pekye-pekye one last time headed back to Puerto Maldonaldo.

raining in the Taricaya Ecological Preserve

Watching the rain while eating lunch at Taricaya Ecological Reserve

For those of you who know me, you should know that bugs, especially the nasty mosquitoes seem to  flock to me wherever I go. I can have 100 bites after applying bug spray while those who are with me experience no bites. After drowning myself with Off, DEET 45% and soaking my clothes in permethrin, I am proud to report that after spending two whole days in the Amazon I came away with only one bite. I was one happy camper!

- Ash

Tips for the ladies or metro-sexual men:

1.  Overnighting in the Rainforest can be a bit rough.  Expect dirty showers with a tiny sheet protecting you from exposing yourself to the local men.  Needless to say, ALWAYS wear flip flops!

2.  Toilets (if there are any) are disgusting.  Like I mentioned earlier, soap is hard to come by.  Bring sanitizer.

3.  Don’t grow to accustomed to the chickens roaming the land.  More than likely they will be your dinner that night.

4.  All in all, just be prepared to rough it!

  • Belinda Connell

    What a bridge, you only see that in National Geographic magazines… sounds like all is well and a new adventure each day. Your mom was VERY VERY happy with her call on the internet, you made her day!
    celebrated labor day at Hoisington and the lake, very cool and humid here. Think of you both often, love you lots.

  • kileyjo

    Ashley, after looking at the pictures and reading your experiences, you are exactly right! I would love love love to visit the Amazon Rainforest…and will one day!! I am enjoying the blog sooo much…so keep it up!! It makes my day every time I get an email saying a new blog entry has been made :0)

    Love you guys,
    Kiley

  • fofs

    Kiley, being both animal lovers, I know you would go nuts over all the
    animals. You should have seen these 2 month old baby pumas… so
    fierce yet cuddly at the same time.

  • kileyjo

    Oh how cute!! Do you guys have more pictures?

  • fofs

    Yup, we are working on our Flickr account and will add that to the
    blog. Toby will like the photo of Ash trying dog meat… JK!

    - Greg

  • fofs

    Yup, we are working on our Flickr account and will add that to the
    blog. Toby will like the photo of Ash trying dog meat… JK!

    - Greg

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