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September 19th 2006
Published: September 19th 2006
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So i finished up my time at Amazoonico. I liked it so much that i will try to come back at the end of my trip. Spent my birthday lying in a hammock listening to an Amazonian rainstorm. the best. The experience really defies explanation, so i will just note a few entries from my journal to let you soak it up with me.

Love it here. The work is hard, my knees hurt from carrying the weight of heavy buckets and fruit on my back, the itching from the sandflies is enough to drive anyone mad, but after work and on days off, i just love it here- lying in a hammock, swimming in the river, bathing in the waterfall, hanging out by candelight around the dinner table- perfect! At night you can almost see the humidity on the river. The bushes seem to meld into the river, meeting in a misty, humid haze. At sunset, the trees and the color from the sky are mirrored in the river, and all the ripples and particles floating downstream look like glowing specles, illuminated in the sunset. Magical! I would just love to ride on the river in the canoe all day. The jungle air is stagnant, but on the river, you get a lovely cool breeze on your face and look into endless river ahead. It's times like this that i realize how many things i left behind- all the annoyances and distractions and stimuli back home. I realize how tranquil and simple life is here, and how very much i love it. The rain is pouring down on the tin roof, hitting the leaves, increasing in volume as i sit in the hammock looking across at the river swelling and life could not be more perfect at this moment.

Sunset in a hammock. Blue and orange reflected in the water and baby wooley monkeys playing in the trees. Is there anything more perfect in all the world?

Can´t believe how much i have learned here. before i came, i thought all monkeys sounded like orangs. The wooley monkeys make a chirping sound when they want to play, a throaty sound when play wrestling, and scream like a child when upset or hurt. I can tell the difference between wooley, cappuchin, spider, and squirrel monkeys. The cappuchins are amazingly smart. we have one on a leash because he was a pet for 15 years and feels insecure without it, so we take him out for walks. He is smart enough to go untangle his chain when it gets caught, he throws rocks at the geese when they get too close, rubs onion on himself to fend off the insects, opens up dried leaves looking for bugs to eat, and has a whole conversation of warning sounds when he feels threatened. when he scrambles up the branches of a tree, he's smart enough to know he has to come back down the same way to not get tangled.

monkeys are amazing. so humanlike with all their facial expressions, fingernails and ears just like ours. each one has their own personality. squirrel monkeys are opportunitists, sneaking in the feeding room and grabbing their pick off plates.

so amazing. at any rate, i won't bore you with the rest.
but a parting environmental message. many have commented on how amazing the animals are, and i just have to say that this plethora of animals is not common in the jungle anymore. it's only because Amazoonico is a rescue center. most of the animals here are either endangered or extinct in the wild. People in this region used to hunt and then move on for a few years to let the forest and animals regenerate, but now with permanent establishments and people having so many kids, animals are hunted to extinction, and then they chop down the forest to raise cattle, in order to survive. But also, the pressure of deforestation is compounded by greedy capitalists who demand cattle and oil. so think about that when you eat a cheeseburger or buy a gas guzzling car or drive when you could´ve walked. the last volunteer place was lacking in animals in part because of the brand new oil road that was built right through the jungle. the lack of animals there is more typical than seeing animals that i just got to see. everyone´s actions impact the environment. and once these amazing are gone, they are gone. reintroduction is so hard. Amazoonico has a spider monkey reintroduction project, but it is so complicated and time consuming. animals are territorial and exist in complex groups with heirarchial systems. you just can't release the animals. you have to establish a group that gets along, make sure there are no

licking the cage and getting some pets
competitive groups, put an alpha male in place, and then, most importantly, you need forest. sorry for the soapbox, but it's hard to paint only a rosy picture when there's more to it. enjoy the pics!

I am headed to loja, Ecuador and then onto Peru

Additional photos below
Photos: 29, Displayed: 25


Felix the jaguarundiFelix the jaguarundi
Felix the jaguarundi

found in a hotel room near border of ecuador and peru, can't release him. but he´s so wild. sad
Felix the jaguarundiFelix the jaguarundi
Felix the jaguarundi

he´s always pacing around his cage
Squirrel monkeySquirrel monkey
Squirrel monkey

snuck into the feeding room to help himslef

this one is friendly. came down to say hello. was a pet so can´t be released. but he lets you rub him
Sick KinkajouSick Kinkajou
Sick Kinkajou

noctournal animals
Jungle Turn TableJungle Turn Table
Jungle Turn Table

going away party for some of the volunteers. turn table, jungle style- battery powering the radio and a candle

mishcievious monkey who always wants to jump on humans. he's sitting just close enough to not get in trouble, curling up from the rain. cute!

stairs up to the feeding place. had to carry heavy fruits up them

sweet cappuchin we keep on a leash. he´s afraid of everything and can´t get along w- his own kind. we got along fine!

19th September 2006

Think the k-words would get along with a monkey or two?? Maybe they'd keep the boy in line...I mean the human boy, not the kitty-boy. NOTHING will keep HIM in line! Do I even need to say "great pics"? The milk-faced monkeys are just adorable....and Felix just breaks my heart. And the ocelot...GORGEOUS. You can even see the little hooky-things on his tongue... Keep posting...I'll write soon!
19th September 2006

Soapbox is good
Thanks for bringing home the points about how what we do matters. Your photos are, as usual, tremendous. I loved how happy you sounded on your birthday. :-)
19th September 2006

In awe
My darling, just wanted to let you know that I read your entries eagerly and with a sense of wonder. This time also with sadness, since you so well describe the impact of our daily lives in those of animals fastly disappearing from the face of the earth. How tragic. I know you will be one of their ardent defenders from now on. By the way, how is your español? and since I missed it, FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS LINDA. Un beso de tu amiga Elena
22nd September 2006

Great pics as usual
Tan, Sounds like you enjoyed the last stint. All those animals and no kitty cat! Take care. Keep us posted. Love, Mom
18th August 2009

i am so glad that we have the amazoon!!!!!!!!!!
16th August 2010

I am heading to Amazoonica
Hi there I know your blog was from 4 yrs ago, but thought i might leave a note. I am heading to Amazoonica in 6mths, I will be there feb and march. Am really looking forward to it, but was becoming nervous reading how primitive it is. Then I read your posts and realised why I wanted to go and how much I love the simple life. Thanks
17th September 2010

Kathy, I only spent 2 weeks in Amazoonico, and those were the most precious of my whole 10 month stay in South America. Surprisingly enough, there aren't that many primitive opportunities left. when i got off the boat and asked if they had internet, the guy told me, "we don't even have electricity", and i knew i had found just what i was looking for. it's magical and i hope to go back soon. you will love it! would love to hear an update from you. my email is if you want to hold the monkeys, go volunteer at Intra Wara Yassi in Bolivia! Tana

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