Rubber boots & giant taratulas in the Jungle

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April 26th 2009
Published: May 10th 2009
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Amazon River - Rio Napo
Our first two day stint on the Amazon was along the Rio Napo about 6-7 hours East of Quito, near the town of Tena. We stayed in a Jungle Lodge (Cotococha Lodge) along the banks of the river and used that as the base to explore the jungle & visit some of the local Quichua families. Our first afternoon was a visit to one of the local families to try ‘chica’, which is a Manioc made from Yucca and left to ferment underground with the help of grated sweet potato for anywhere up to 12 days. (Obviously the longer the fermentation, the more potent the alcohol.). We tried one that was left to ferment for only three days. It tasted a bit like sour milk as far as I was concerned but was very much enjoyed by the family, who drank up everything else we were unable to finish. Diego, our guide preferred one made by some local tribesmen a few villages down the road, who used spit as the means of fermentation. Apparently, it tasted sweeter. No thanks!

Adventure Trekking
The next day involved donning on some rubber boots and a bucket load of insect repellent for a trek through the jungle and a visit to the waterfalls of ‘La Cascada de Latas’. This involved climbing into a canoe to go up river and bank along the opposite side of where we were staying. Walking through the jungle, in search of tarantulas, snakes and medicinal plants while squelching our way through sometimes ankle deep paths of mud in high humidity was actually rather fun, despite the constant threat of sliding down the path in a pool full of mud. Our 1.5 hour trek paid off with a visit and a swim in a rather cold bath in the waterfall before a return trek back, wet & covered with mud.

Once back along the riverbank, we each had a huge rubber tyre, waiting for us to go tubing down the river towards our lodge. With very little rapids along the way - I was constantly getting stuck halfway downriver and was forced to get a nudge from the canoe that followed us all the way down the river towards the lodge. Not satisfied with that level of activity - we went for a further trek into the secondary forest after
Amazonian Warrior WomenAmazonian Warrior WomenAmazonian Warrior Women

Charlotte, Me, Laura
lunch, still in search of the elusive tarantula and more medicinal plants.

Nightly activity involved a Cuban Cigar acquired by some in the group who had visited Cuba prior to the trip, a fireplace to scare off the bats & mozzies and a drop or two of some sugarcane alcohol ‘aquadiente’. And after that days activity - It came as no surprise that I slept like a baby with the sounds of the river rushing past…

Additional photos below
Photos: 25, Displayed: 23


Home made potteryHome made pottery
Home made pottery

A Quecha woman putting a glaze on home made pottery.
Making ChichaMaking Chicha
Making Chicha

An Ecuadorian Manioc using Yucca
Making ChichaMaking Chicha
Making Chicha

The fermentation Process. Grating Sweet potato as a fermentation agent before placing in underground to ferment.
Tasting the ChichaTasting the Chicha
Tasting the Chicha

Not my favourite drink in the world...
Bright yellow slug thingyBright yellow slug thingy
Bright yellow slug thingy

Cute & Ugly all at the same time
Soap suds in the Amazon?Soap suds in the Amazon?
Soap suds in the Amazon?

Nope! They are really eggs (I just cant remember what animal...)
Almost stepped on this one...Almost stepped on this one...
Almost stepped on this one...

A very poisonous snake I was told & I almost stepped on him.
Our Jungle lodgeOur Jungle lodge
Our Jungle lodge

Right along the banks of the Rio Napo
Ah! GrasshopperAh! Grasshopper
Ah! Grasshopper

This little beauty was approx 3 inches long....

30th August 2010
Devils Spider

Spider's name
That's Micrathena raimondi, an orb-web weaving spider. Micrathena spiders all have that wonderful spiky body.

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