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...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

12 July 2011

In the jungle

8th July 2011

We’re in the Ecuadorian jungle, part of the huge Amazon basin that covers most of tropical South America. Outside our cabin I can hear the innumerable sounds of the tropical rainforest: cicadas chirping, frogs creaking, crickets playing, night birds calling and Americans talking. People whose conversational volume is loud enough that I can hear what they’re discussing perfectly well even though their cabin is five yards from ours really dent the tranquility of the wilderness. I’m very, very relieved that we won’t be sharing a guide with them when we go out into the jungle. Instead we are with a family of Danes, just three of them and they seem friendly and most importantly; quiet!

We’ve been out for a night walk already, and have seen a bunch of the splendid creepy-crawlies that the rainforest is absolutely full of. My favourite was the giant millipede, with thick black armour-plating and the scent of bitter almonds. That is actually the scent of cyanide, which they emit in mild doses to repel predators. We also saw a tarantula, well you’ve got to really. Our local guide Columbia lured it from its hole and it stared at us with all its wrathful eyes glinting. We’ve got two guides; an English chap called Dan who came to Ecuador five years ago and never left, and Columbia who has probably lived here all his life and knows the forest inside and out. I don’t know why he is named after a neighbouring country.

We also have a good bit of wildlife around our cabin, inside and out. That might not be everyone’s idea of fun, but I actually really love the small sense of being close to nature that comes from spotting things in or around your lodgings. Not that I have any plans to go the next step and take a five week camping expedition up the Amazon! Nope, I’m content with seeing Black Agoutis rummaging in the leaf litter behind our cabin and finding a small lizard in the shower with me.

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2 Responses to “In the jungle”

  1. The Danes - Anita, Per, Andreas says:

    Hi Maureen and Matthew
    Thanks for sharing this webside, the writings (thanks God that we did not talk too much!), the pictures (it is heavy but what wonderful pictures it takes or perhaps the photographer also has a role o play :-)) and finaly for sharing some great days with us . We did enjoy your company and were indeed happy too for the “selection”. I guess you may be home now or at least on your way home fairly soon. We have been strungling with jetlag but as always it is also nice to be home. Valde our cocker puppie 6 months old was almost crying when he saw us and has been following us as a shadow since then. We had a fine return to Quito were we were picked up and driven to the Hacienda Pinsaqui close to Otavallo. We had 2 nights here and it is a very well kept hacienda with beatiful common areas with the biggest fireplaces I have ever seen, garden and horses. The nights were cool but it was wonderful to return after dinner to an open fireplace in the room that was lit and hot water bottles in the beds!!!! We had one night in Quito at a very nice small hotel Casa Aliso and an aftrenoon wandering around in impressing colonoal Quito. Our return trip was loooong via Bogota with a long afternoon were we tried to go shopping for Andreas in a center but with a size 13 (46) in shoes and XL in clothes you do not find anything!! We were happy that Per has received cards to several airport lounges so that we could enjoy deep chairs, drinks and food. We flew Lufthansa vis Frankfurt to Copenhagen (and their servings are not impressive!!).

    Anyway, we are now home and it has been raining all day!
    I do hope that your return will not be too difficult – having been away for so long it may be a little hard to settle down after the first few days with exciting reunions.

    All the best from the Danes
    Andreas, Per and Anita (and yes the spelling was correct!)

    • shortclaws says:

      Thanks for commenting! It sounds like your hacienda was more fun than our last day in Papallacta – the hotel was nice enough, but it just rained and rained all day. We are now home as well and looking forward to all the foods and friends we have missed for a year.

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