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Archive for the ‘Globetrooping’ Category

Jungle school

Posted by Susanna On December - 20 - 2010

In the morning we visited the community school. There were not many kids at that time since most families went to Puyo for the Christmas holidays. The result was that they were only two kids in one and three kids in the other class. In Ecuador especially young teacher who just finished their degree at university will be send to these jungle schools to make their first teaching experiences. That is hard since many tribes have their own language and the teacher mostly does not speak it but the curriculum requires studies in their tribes language, in Spanish and also English. The kids are very intelligent and clever and thirst for knowledge.
Then we packed our things and took the canoe down the river without using the engine so we were supposed to see more wildlife. In reality it is very hard to spot animals in the amazon. We saw just a few birds every now and then but even those were so far away for taking great closeup pictures. We tried to fish some piranhas with the meanwhile smelly rotten leftover bait meat. I felt them biting but I could not catch any. This night we slept in the jungle were the guides cut free a campsite. Normally we would have tried spotting some alligators but it was full moon and that’s the only time where it is bright enough for them to spot you in the dark. So – never make a jungle trip at full moon if you want to spot them. Otherwise the moon was very beautiful and I ask the guide for just taking me out with the boat for watching the moon. I even saw few alligator eyes glowing red on the other riverside but that was all I saw of them.

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Jungle Life

Posted by Susanna On December - 19 - 2010

I woke up several times at night since it was so uncomfortable sleeping on a tree root. But anyway I didn’t wanted to sleep! I wanted to see some big cats going for my bait. But the night stayed calm except the rooster fall from his tree and unbelievable it didn’t crow in the morning – how unusual. I guess that was the only time when I wanted a rooster to crow. Short after waking up we packed and left back for the village. I learned a few things about healing plants of the amazon and I ask for seeing the Uña de Gato vine what helps to cure several ailments and also supposedly helps against cancer. I saw butterflies and tiny frogs and later being back in the community we saw wild wooley monkey. The same monkeys I had seen in the ‘Reserva de mono’ but in the wild. They came as close that the guide was feeding them with a couple bananas. For luch they prepared one of the village chicken since the villagers wanted to keep our lazy rooster to breed with their chicken. The food was delicious and after eating everybody came together and showed us their handicraft things to sell, how to make a fire without matches or lighter. They painted us with paint what will become dark blue over night. First it was transparent. Stories were told about one of the last uncontacted people the Tagaeri which try to resist the contact with civilisation. When they come in contact with people not of their own kind it is very common for them to kill them. So nobody can make contact to them. I was wondering how the Huaorani avoid crossing their territory by accident and they told me that funny but true fact: When they read the footprints Tagaeri ofter have six toes. That’s probably caused by inbreeding. So if they see a print with six toes they leave as fast as possible the area. Also Tagaeri avoid water. So their only way of crossing river is on fallen trees. They don’t use boats in contrast to the Huaorani. Later at dusk we were not allowed to leave far without guidance and flashlight since there supposedly so many venomous snakes and bugs in the jungle. At least we saw one snake what someone found close to the toilet. It was immediately killed because this community had lost a few children already to snakebite accidents.
The night was wonderful. It was close to full moon and the sound of the jungle is unique and you will never forget.

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Back in the Amazon

Posted by Susanna On December - 18 - 2010

A couple of weeks ago the horse guide in Baños had introduced me to few of his friends who had a travel agency in town which did tours into the primary amazon of Ecuador. I had loved my last amazon trip in 2009 so much so I was exited to go again. But since I travel alone this is a whole other story! Mostly travelers have to wait to find a bigger group or the need to book an expensive single guide. So I found myself lucky to run into these people who even insured me we could try to find a jaguar since I wanted to take pictures of it. I got a really great deal for five days but since we could reach that area only by plane it was going to be expensive. They told me a plane for seven people cost US$700 and wanted me to pay half of it – US$350. I found that too expensive and was lucky to find another guy Wendolin who was looking for a trip to the rainforest as well. So I could share the flight expense between two what made a great difference. For the jaguar the guides got a alive rooster as a bait and some beef meat. They thought the sound of a rooster and the smell of meat would catch the attention of a big cat… reality was it didn’t work out since territories of wild animals are big and traps have to be set a few days in advance. To the first Huaorani / Waorani tribe we took that tiny airplane. The first time that I have taken a small airplane like that. The great rainforest was lush and seemed limitless. Before we went on the plane we needed to weight ourselves and our belongings so that there was exactly not to much loaded. Ironic enough the pilot seemed to be quite heavy but that didn’t counted. After a 40min flight what didn’t seemed that long we arrived in the village and found ourselves surrounded by the people in an instant. They guided us to a big shelter and the guides started to cook. After that we went straight to that place were they tried to set the jaguar photo trap and the tents. This night was probably one of the most uncomfortable nights in my life and we had not seen any wild animal at all… Guess that all is part of the experience.

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More monkey business…

Posted by Susanna On December - 17 - 2010

I love that monkey place so much that few friends I met and I went again today. We rent a buggy car what was fun but actually not that smart since it was raining and the car is totally open… We bought lots of bananas for the monkeys and as soon as they realized what we were bringing they picked themselves some of the bananas right away… So much fun simply to observe them. I think the monkey expressions are so hilarious… Can’t stop taking pictures of them…

Reserva de mono

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Monkeys…

Posted by Susanna On December - 16 - 2010

This day was special since today was the big parade of all schools for celebrating the annual day of Baños. They had trained everyday since I am here and you could hear them everywhere with their drums and other instruments. It was nice to watch them marching while doing their music and dances in their costumes. It reminded me quite a lot of German carnival.
In the afternoon I went with a friend to Puyo since we heard both from others that their is a monkey reserve for unwanted and disabled pet monkeys – the “Reserva de mono”. I was excited but did not know what to expect. But I had heard it was wonderful… We took the bus to Puyo what just takes 1 1/2 hours and from there a taxi for $3 to the “Reserva de mono”. As soon as we were there we saw the monkeys. Over 60 monkeys of seven species live here free and come for food ad playing. It was amazing… Immediately a little disabled Wooley monkey called Dorita climbed up on me and didn’t live me… She was probably the cutest monkey I’ve ever seen… So adorable. But just check out the photos and see yourself…

Baños parade

compra cytotec Reserva de mono

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Zoo Baños

Posted by Susanna On December - 13 - 2010

Since I had never seen a real condor flying in the wild I decided to check out the zoo of Baños. And I was lucky! The three condors were easy to photograph even though I found their cages way too small…

Zoo  Baños

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Amazoonico and Ayahuasca

Posted by Susanna On December - 10 - 2010

This day was supposed to be a very special day. I wanted to do the cleaning ceremony with Ayahuasca. Two friends I met in Galapagos had recommended me Petronio the shaman who lives in a small community near Mishualli in the rain forest of Ecuador. They had told me about the ceremony in the jungle at night leaning on the sacred rock. Petronio yesterday told me to come back around 6:30pm today and he had told me to eat only fruits and a very light breakfast – nothing else. And so I did. During the day I went to the Amazoonico Zoo in the jungle. I took buses and a boat since that was way cheaper than a expensive tour. The place itself was OK but nothing special. You are guided at all times of one of the volunteers. You can not observe the animals alone. I saw few cats, monkeys and birds mainly.
In the evening I met up with Petronio who brought me to the sacred place and gave me the Ayahuasca. He explained to me that he is going to stay with me for hours and offered me even that I could stay with him and his family after… I still preferred my place. He explained all steps of the ceremony: First I will see the clouds and the stars, then the animals like jaguar and tarantula. Then I will talk to people and then finally to the dead. I was excited since I wanted to see my grandparents and my friend who had died six years ago. Leaning on the sacred rock I waited, the shaman sitting next to me… It was pitch black. Nothing else then the voice of the jungle… Then I felt so many things and still I lost so much of my memory. I’ve seen the jaguar and baby turtles running into the ocean. I’ve talked to my grandparents and my best dead friend. I talked to my mother who cried and apologized for being so sick with cancer. That was heartbreaking. I felt so sorry and cried. Then she gave me a card saying she felt already a bit better now. Then I tried a few times to get up but it was not possible or the shaman pulled me down again. But at one point I stood and nobody hold me… I saw a cliff in front of my feet. I felt like jumping on the other side but at the same point to weak to make it with a super move like the characters in the computer games. But the I decided to jump with all my energy what was left. I jumped. And I smashed against the rock. There has been no cliff and I jumped against the rock! Slowly I felt the blood running down my leg and hand. I was not scared neither I felt pain. I just hold on to the rock until the shaman found me and pulled me down again… Where has he been… I don’t know if he had left for a minute or had simply fall asleep. Meanwhile it was already 3am next morning. Petronio helped me back to Misahualli where I still had visions for the next few days.

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Kin Kin and Casa Amarilla

Posted by Susanna On December - 8 - 2010

Today I left Casa Amarilla mircette birth control buy and therefore it is time to at least introduce that beautiful place in the mountains. The place is owned by Jorge and his lovely wife and daughter. The lady is a great cook – I loved her Ecuadorian food (Mostly I don’t like it in Ecuador.). It is small but so cozy that you don’t want to leave. The view is great over Baños. You better reach it with horse because hiking up with backpacks might be a just too much of a mission. The garden is lovely – so many different flowers and butterflies. But best of all at this place you can watch birds like hummingbirds and the kin kin! It is difficult to take pictures of them but I took a few…

Casa Amarilla

Kin Kin


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Waterfalls and waterfalls…

Posted by Susanna On December - 7 - 2010

While staying at Casa Amarilla I met Ines and Juan a very nice couple from France. They invited me to join them for their waterfall trip Baños area is rich with waterfalls. So the complete day our host Don Jorge drove us from one to another waterfall. I never have seen so many on one day. Extreme amazing is the waterfall “El Diabolo”. The visitor can walk almost underneath it.

Waterfalls

El Diabolo

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Tungurahua erupts!

Posted by Susanna On December - 6 - 2010

“He that can have Patience, can have what he will.” Benjamin Franklin once said. And he was right. As a few friends of you know I am waiting since two days to see the active volcano Tungurahua near Baños erupting at night. At day time I’ve seen it but it is way more memorable at night. It is supposed to be one of these spectacles you will never forget. I’ve seen volcano’s, walked on cold lava but never seen it actually through up red. But to be worth to see it you will need patience I had to learn. And patience is not my strongest virtue! Two days I went up tho mountains to different view points freezing and hoping but being disappointed by rain and even more clouds. Until today. This was supposed THE day! In the morning I moved for a couple of days to the mountains to lovely Casa Amarilla. From here you have the best view over Baños. The hosts were not at home when I arrived on my horse but I used the time to check out the path to the Virgin view point. In within 15min you can hike to the statue of the Virgin Mary who watches over the city. From here it is possible to see the volcano by night. As we have the saying in Germany: “All good things are three.” I tried again. Even though my hosts ask me for staying at home I insisted and was rewarded with a 20-30min spectacle of its own. And while watching the exploding volcano a shooting star directly fall over it. I could not believe what I was witnessing but I made quickly a wish and was grateful to experience this phenomenal power of nature. I was able to make few photos but live it was way better especially with the thunder sound the volcano made. After 30min the sky started to cloud again… So I was very very lucky…

Virgin view point

Volcano Tungurahua erupting

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