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Published: June 16th 2017
Geo: -1.04364, -77.7063
Picture torrential rain on a muddy hillside. Now add a slippery rock path of steep steps and crawly, spiky, sticky things on the hillside, dropoff on the other. No, squishy mud, then drop off. Now you can put Bob & I on the trail but by now you have to add muddy water coursing down the path in brown waterfalls where it pauses in ankle grabbing pools.
Yup, that's us for 2 1/2 hours this morning guided by a Kichwa named Jiare. The Kichwa are indigenous people who've developed amazing ways of living on the edge of the modern world.
We were headed to a waterfall with a beautiful pool we wouldn't be able to resist.
We never made it. Some of the rock sections of the trail were extremely difficult and Bob needed the hand of our guide and his walking stick to get up them, but what was even more difficult was getting down.
Our guide was great though; he told us most older guests at the lodge won't even get out and do the activities. They just sit in the lodge laid back and relaxed. So he was very patient with us old folks and in spite
The view off our deck
This is the Napo river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon. We could have floated our little canoe all the way to Rio de Janiero had we had a little more time for the 4,000 mile trip.
of it all we had a fun experience.
Okay---you ready for the most important part of the whole day? Bob won the blow gun championship! After lunch we visited a Kichwa community and watched them make pottery, pan for gold and kill stuff with blow guns. He was the only one to hit the target--from 25' away he 'dMAN.
It was a full day and our guide's getting a nice fat tip for not landing us any broken bones.
Now the sun's come out and we're sitting on our deck overlooking the river watching the birds and listening to the busy sounds of the rain forest.
Oh, but the day's not done. Jiare's all excited to make us chocolate. Natural chocolate from the Cacao trees and who are we to complain? By candlelight we're doing this--he sets everything up in the main salon of the lodge and begins starting a fire with left over candle stubs (no kindling needed).
Then he brings in a pan of cacao seeds left drying for 3 days--which is really interesting since the clothes we've been hanging on the line for 3 days are exactly as dry as if they were taken fresh from the
This guy was sitting on Bob's shaving kit when we woke up. Bob carefully tucked it into a towel and put it out on our railing for it's picture.
But on to the chocolate. He puts this pan on the fire and stirs them with a stick until they begin to pop like popcorn. Pop! Pop! they go, emitting the aroma of roasted chocolate.
After they're popped he shows us how to peel them, then pours them into a hand cranked corn grinder farmers use to make chicken feed.
He then adds powdered milk and sugar, mixes it a bit and puts it back into the grinder for another go.
The resulting mixture tastes amazing--like no relation to Hershey. He takes this, adds some milk and puts it back on the fire to boil, making a thick paste which we then dip fruit into for an Amazonian fondue like no other.
We're smacking our lips for hours after.
Our cabana has no electricity as this is an eco lodge and they really do make an effort to give back to the community while making as small as possible a footprint.
We have two oil lamps--one for the bathroom and one for the bedroom, and there are lighted lamps along the path from the lodge so you can supposedly find your way.
Sort of. It's blacker
than Hades out there--those little lamps look like pinpricks on a blackboard when we're returning from dinner. But being the super smart travelers we are, we have our brand new techy flashlight weighing in at less than a feather.
So here we sit on the bed playing gin rummy by oil lamp --one of us with said flashlight tucked under his chin. We can almost see the numbers on the cards if we slant them just so...
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