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Published: February 23rd 2009
Ok so I´ve been slacking on my entries, what can I say.
We were in the jungle for 3 days, away from civilization. We had a great group of 4 youngish Chilean girls and one middle age German winemaker. It was actually a lot of lying around in hammocks and watching the river go by. We did two waterfall hikes, on of which you need to swim the final stretch to get to. You spend a lot of time being wet out there. The jungle is so dense, I´d hate to be lost. Although those blow guns we learned to use are pretty effective. Me and Jill did our own night bug hunt, it´s amazing what comes out at night. I´ve never seen so many different spiders in my life, ranging from small and harmless looking to giant and evil. There are huge grasshoppers in bright green, fireflies, bugs that look like leaves, and all sorts of creepy crawlies. We also got to see a pool of giant man eating fish that normally reside in the Amazon river. I can´t even describe how insane these fish are. They look like something out of Jurassic Park, and can devour anything. We watched a feeding, thanks to our crazy van driver, it was a whole lot of fericuos thrashing and snapping teeth. They probably weigh over 50 lbs. And they only eat flesh. Yikes. As we were waiting to leave the jungle we saw our van driver sprinting his way shirtless down the path being chased by two vengeful yelling wet women. He finally returned for us soaking wet, covered in the red paint that the local people use for face painting, and with two satisfied smirking women sauntering after him. Too funny.
Back in Baños we did some rafting, which we thought would be a fairly mellow experience but turned out to be class 4 rapids down a river through some of the most beautiful jungle landscape I´ve seen. Waterfalls pouring off every cliff. Not that there was too much time to look around as we paddled our way over giant waves fighting to stay in the boat. 4 of us got knocked out. We had a pure muscle kayaking champion from Tena as our rafting guy to take us down the river and make sure we had a blast, along with another guy following us in a kayak to rescue anyone who got knocked out and sucked into the rapids. Thanks to them it was a blast. We had so much fun we went again.
Then Carnival started. To prepare we went to the local thermal baths, with water heated by the volcano, situated under a waterfall. Carnival in Baños was mostly a whole lot of younger people out dancing, which I got to do a whole lot of in an awesome little dance club mostly filled with local people since white people can´t dance. They go to the white people clubs and play pool instead. We wanted the full experience, so I learned merengue really fast.
After much time in Baños, we headed back to Ambato for the famous festival of fruits and flowers. Very few tourists from outside of south america come to this. We didn´t really know what to expect, but it turned out to be a night of dancing music played by the military, including two dancers wearing the smallest military outfits I´ve ever seen. There was fireworks, tons of food, and dancing. I´ts a block party that goes on for a mile. Everybody goes. Grandmas, babies, stylish couples, rowdy kids, you name it. And they are all armed with aerosol foam cans and show no mercy to anyone. We were hosed down from head to toe within minutes of entering the festival. A grandma got me right in the face, which seems to be everyone´s main goal. After an hour or so of getting doused repeatedly in foam, I decided it was time to fight back. I took them all on, defending me and Jill to the best of my foaming abilities. I battled young and old, going for the eyes at every chance. Crazy. This resulted in a very sore throat this morning after someone got me in the mouth as I was screaming while being hosed down by 4 teenage boys and a slightly purple right eye. We came back to our hotel with wet crusty hair and clothes and funky dye on everthing. That´s how they roll out in Ambato.
Today we recover from the foam experience, explore the city, and finally catch up on some sleep. I don´t know how these 60 yr old women stay out so late. We only have two days left!! Sniff sniff.
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