There is a tarantula on your leg


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September 30th 2007
Published: September 30th 2007
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TarantulaTarantulaTarantula

The culprit
Oh yes - what everyone wishes to hear when they are in the Amazon Jungle! Apart from squealing at inaudible levels, I didn't freak out and calmly removed the rather large tarantula. The worker with us told us that tarantulas are only dangerous when they bite - go figure! He did reassure me that it was ok to hold - at least that's what I think he said - my comprehension of Spanish had rapidly diminished through the whole saga probably due to the lack of oxygen my brain had received because I had held my breath so long.

This little event occured while volunteering with Jatun Sacha for 2 weeks in the Amazon Rainforest, or the "Bosque" as the locals like to call it. It was an amazing station full of a variety of flora and fauna. There are 535 bird species, 850 butterfly species, monkeys, snakes, and of course loads of insects! In the night, the sound of all the animals was almost deafening. I awoke in the night most nights wondering what could possibly be making such strange sounds and hoped it wasn't about to enter my cabaña! We also had some pretty incredible downpours - as
Squirrel monkeySquirrel monkeySquirrel monkey

Cheeky wee monkey
you do in the rainforest.

As part of the volunteering, I participated in reforestation activities, development and maintenance of the botanical gardens of Jatun Sacha and the Centre for the Conservation of Plants, seed collection, and working in the local community.

In our free time we would go swimming in the river (absolutely necessary because the humidity is over 95%!!(MISSING)), play football or volleyball, chill out in hammocks, or hang out at the local bar. I also got a (temporary) tattoo of a leaf from the local shaman using the inside of a fruit. On the weekends we went for walks through the jungle, went to the local town of Tena, made jewellery with a local Quechua woman, and went exploring and swimming in caves. On the first Saturday I also got to met up with my friend Lisa (from Nelson) in Tena.

Tomorrow Lisa and I head to Colombia for 2½ weeks - insert scary music! No seriously - don't worry! I have been reassured by everyone who has been there that it IS safe, and I am flying directly to the Carribean coast rather than risk a dodgy Colombian overnight bus experience. I think I
Give us a kissGive us a kissGive us a kiss

Crazy lips flower
will have to be in contact with my Mum everyday to prevent her having sleepless nights worrying about me running off with a Colombian drug lord. My Nana on the other hand will be hoping that I do, so that I might finally give her the greatgrandchild that I have be so wickedly depriving her of.

Anyway, enjoy the photos (there are a lot of photos of animals - but that's what you get in the Amazon) and stay tuned for the next blog installment soon!


Additional photos below
Photos: 16, Displayed: 16


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SlothSloth
Sloth

Yes this ball of fluff is a sloth - of course being the sloth that he is he was sleeping.
TattooingTattooing
Tattooing

Getting my temporary tattoo from the shaman
ToucanToucan
Toucan

This wee guy swooped on us several times because we had a banana in our hands! Talk about Hitchcock's "Birds"
Bats!Bats!
Bats!

Inside the bat cave


1st October 2007

Travel writer in the making
Hey Mel Loving your blog. If you don't want to be an outrageously talented and brilliant scientist saving the world from ecological disaster all your life you could definitely have a career as a travel writer. Just think, staying in 5 star resorts, eating world class food, drinking champagne and then all you have to do is write about it - how great would that be? Or maybe I have just been living in Auckland for too long... Maddy and Mac loved hearing me read the blog out - great bedtime story! And how about that crazy lips flower - it's just like the one off Little Shop of Horrors ("Feed me Seymore"). Take care in the land of snow (i.e. Columbia).
20th April 2011
Squirrel monkey

Amazing picture.
You must of had perfect timing to catch such a hard shot.

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