Posts Tagged ‘rainforest’

I forgot to mention I spent Easter weekend in the rainforest.
It was… rainy.
But nice.
Photos here.IMG_9813Also, I have been somewhat sloth-like in blogging this year.  I’ll try to post more often in the coming months.


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Yasuni National Park, Ecuador

IMG_8545I recently took my dad to a rainforest lodge in the Amazon river basin. We spent most of our time in Yasuni National Park, which is considered one of the most biologically diverse areas on the planet.  For a few days, we rode canoes through tributaries of the Napo River and hiked rainforest trails to see some of the wildlife on offer.  Here are some of my favorite things we saw:

White-fronted Capuchin Monkey

White-fronted Capuchin Monkey


Red Howler Monkey

Frog with the colors of the Ecuadorian flag!

Frog with the colors of the Ecuadorian flag!

Owl monkey (photo courtesy of Kate Tierney)

Owl monkey
(photo courtesy of Kate Tierney)

Scarlet Macaw

Scarlet Macaw

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I just spent a week in Puyo, which is in the Amazon region of Ecuador.  It’s the provincial capital and a largish town, so I wasn’t exactly stranded in the jungle.  But when I wasn’t busy training 34 English teachers, I did get to do some interesting things in the rainforest.

I spent a lot of time just walking around – along the river, in a wild orchid reserve, on a day tour hike to some waterfalls.  I photographed a lot of tropical plants:

A couple teachers took me to visit a monkey rescue center one afternoon, and a White Capuchin fell in love with my colleague’s hair.

I booked myself a day tour.  This included a hike, during which we stopped to eat some live ants.  They taste like lemon!  They’re pretty tiny, so their flavor was more noticeable than any texture or movement.  But still, it’s a little bit creepy to eat live bugs, right?

I rode in a dugout canoe down the Puyo River.

And I visited an indigenous Kichwa family, whose gangly, awkward little baby parakeets completely charmed me.

And finally, I shot a blow dart.  Twice.  And it stuck both times!

Click here to see all the photos from my week in Puyo.

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Carnaval, 2.0

Last year for the Carnaval holiday I went on a road trip with friends to Quilotoa.  While beautiful (and one of my favorite places in Ecuador), it is also very rural, meaning I missed out on the traditional Ecuadorian festivities associated with Carnaval.

Namely – throwing water on strangers and spraying them with foam.

This year my friend Maggie and I went to Tena in the Amazon for the Carnaval holiday.  While it wasn’t crazy touristed like the beach, it did have plenty of Ecuadorian tourists, and outdoor concerts, and a general street fair atmosphere.   And plenty of foam.

It’s kind of like the entire town is engaged in a water gun / snowball / pie-in-the-face fight.  But with foam.  Once Maggie and I got sprayed a couple times, it appeared that the Ecuadorians had declared us gringas fair game.

At one point I hid behind an elderly couple, figuring no one would spray them and I would therefore get a reprieve.  I’m not proud of this.  But I really needed a break from all that foam in my face.

Maggie and I finally had to buy some spray foam to defend ourselves.  And we had a blast doing it.

Oh, and we also did a little bit of jungle-y stuff, like going on a boat ride down the Napo river and hiking in the rainforest.

Capuchin monkey




Woolly monkeys (?)










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Zippity doo da

I spent the Easter holidays in Mindo, a small town located a few hours from Quito, with a couple American friends.  The highlight of the trip was riding a zipline through the rainforest canopy.  Actually, 13 ziplines to be exact.  It cost a whopping $13.

I rode one of the cables upside down.  That was kind of scary.

Then we hiked through the forest to some waterfalls, including a stop for a different kind of swinging through the trees.

And to complete our swinging theme, we enjoyed fresh-squeezed fruit shakes at a swinging juice bar.  Fun!

All photos courtesy of Mr. Aaron Colon.

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All in a week’s work

Part of my job in Ecuador is to work with the Fulbright Commission.  When the office in Quito was planning a week-long enhancement meeting for American English Teaching Assistants (ETAs) in the Andean region, they really wanted me to help with the programming.  I happily agreed.  Having worked with ETAs in Indonesia, I knew they tend to be bright and eager recent college grads with minimal training in teaching English.  So I spent the week with them.

I led some workshops to give them more teaching techniques and resources.

We toured Quito.

Then we spent 3 days at a resort in the rainforest.  They applied some of our workshop topics to teach kids in local schools.  And we also hiked to a lagoon in the jungle and swam underneath a waterfall.

And after all that hard work,
we enjoyed fresh-squeezed sugar cane juice with lime.

I must have one of the best jobs on the planet.

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