Emma Soper, Adrenalin Junkie!

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March 22nd 2012
Published: March 22nd 2012
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Pottering around in the park
Hello all!

When we found our way to the park we were slightly disappointed when it wasn´t surrounded by cages and guards, surely they wouldn’t allow endangered lizard beasts to roam around without some sort of protection? It turns out yes they would. Although the Iguanas were not quite man-eater size it was certainly odd to watch them walking along the path in front of you, or be surprised when one decided to sit under your bench. Much more interesting than pigeons!

From Guayaquil we returned to the Andes and visited a colonial town called Cuenca, the definite highlight was seeing human shrunken heads in the museum, though they were seriously creepy! Our nightmares were only made worse when we saw shrunken heads for sale in the marketplace afterwards; sloths and monkeys, not tourist... at least that’s what we told ourselves.

Our next stop was Banos which is oddly situated between some of the worlds largest mountains (unfortunately none of which can be seen through the thick cloud in the rainy season) and the Amazon Basin. We lost no time in making the best of the opportunities provided and within a few
Adventures in BanosAdventures in BanosAdventures in Banos

Zip-lining, Which I did too!
hours of arriving were shooting across a ½ mile wide canyon on a 'flying´ zip line! I should have guessed that this wasn´t the end of doing stupid things when after finishing her go on the zip line Emma said it was a nice adrenalin warm-up! Low and behold, A few hours later Emma by choice threw herself off a terrifyingly high bridge with nothing but a slither of elastic to prevent her from being a small yellow spatter on the canyon floor... I, by choice watched! The video the bungee company took is fantastic though the bloodchilling scream issuing from Emma´s mouth will hopefully never be heard again.

To give our (mainly Emma´s) nerves a break we got up early the following day and took a tour into the Jungle. After a few hours bumpy drive we were deep in the rainforest. Our first stop was a monkey reserve where, no doubt because of the vast quantities of fruit lying around, an array of monkeys swing in from the jungle, feast on bananas, terrify people by jumping on their heads and then leap back up into the trees from where they came. The small orange monkeys
Adventures in BanosAdventures in BanosAdventures in Banos

Bungee Jumping, which I didn´t!
particularly took a shine to us and the sweets we were feeding them! After the monkeys we went for a trek through seriously dense vegetation to a beautiful waterfall. Fantastically Emma somehow spotted a baby boa constrictor and I caught a glimpse of a 3 foot unidentified scarily fast olive green snake only a few minutes later which was really exiting! We rounded the trip off with a fantastic rope swing on the edge of a cliff and a canoe ride down the river, which, had we stayed on for another 2 or 3 thousand miles would have bought us all the way down the Amazon and into the Atlantic, that would have been one way to get home...

With our fight to Rio looming we hopped on a bus and arrived in Quito the capital. We were lucky enough to catch a celebration in the main square on Monday where the President´s birthday (or at least his party) coincided with his inspection of the presidential guard. Along with the rest of Ecuador we snapped photos and clapped along to the national anthem... the following day we got a tour of the Presidential palace itself which was
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Monkey reserve
suitably grand.

Being our last opportunity to visit an authentic market, today we took the bus 150km ($2!) to Otavalo which is rumoured to be the best market in all of South America, the huge bag of souvenirs suggests that the rumours were not unjustified. Our expert haggling techniques developed in Asia certainly came in useful!

And with that you are up to date! Tomorrow we intend to get up early and visit the equator where we have every intention of taking idiotic pictures with a foot in either hemisphere, then we hop on a pane and fly overnight to Lima, then to Santiago, then to Sao Paulo then to Rio... Genuinely the best route we could find, wish us luck on that one!

Our last few days will be spent on a tropical island 200km to the south of Rio, then a flying visit to the city itself. We´ll tell you al about it in what will strangely be our last entry here!

Buenas Noches,

Adam and Emma
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Changing of the guard
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