and so they set out into the land of other things..

Ecuador Travel Blog

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so.. it came to pass they they flew in the big metal bird to amsterdam, then to quito, with all sorts of puzzling unscheduled stops in unnamed parts of columbia.. the food was heinous, and air full of gnarl..
armed with only a 8kg bag containg clothes, camera, and marmite, i ventured, blinking and sleepy, into the bright equatorial sun of Quito..
first couple of days are a faint memory now.. got stuck on top of a volcano in a freak electric hailstorm that disabled the cable car. ate lots of marmite to prepare my blood for the mozzies of the lowlands.. failed to speak or understand any spanish whatsoever, and generally gave myself the fear..

and then we were rounded up, put in a van, and careered off over the andean pass, into the cloudforests of amazonia, where the journeying was to begin.

the following notes taken from my little book. hence the disjointedness of it all,. .
many omissions there are. but it tells a bit..

arrived at the house of the shaman family yesterday.swam in amazon lagoons. slid down rock falls.. found a uv pink bug.. beasties everywhere! got woken up a huge bees trying to get in my net. flying bastard!
last night was fearsome. monsters trying to get in, things making all manner of unholy sounds in the dark.. now being serenaded by birds that sound like tibetan bagpipes.. have been collecting treasures from the forest floor..
saved a bee from my juice at breakfast. called it greg.
found some walking palms. lost my lense cap. am now using a sock.

trekked yes. got assigned guardian spirits by the shaman.
i was spirit of mountains, and ate many ants. they taste like lemons. climbed waterfalls. got wet. welly full of water. laughed as my sisters failed to climb so much as be dragged up on the end of ropes through torrential watefall downpour.. evicted some kind of travelling beetle from my head, found many more treasures and was given a leafy hat. found the hairiest bug ever.. watched from a distance as delfine snuck up to a wasps nest, wrapped it in a t shirt, and sprinted off shrieking..

writing by candle light now in the magic rainforest hut. things twittering all around. is so unbelievably gorgeous here.


last night saw a shooting star in the nilky way. and the bug with green headlights. he´s my favourite bug. and got repeatedly attacked by some kind of giant suicidal moth hellbent on either death by candle or soup.

em got married in the traditional way lasy night to delfines son, and there was drumming and dancing, and a shamanic cleansing of the baby. managed to break the language barrier and played card games with my siblings and the native boys. they already knew a modified version of shithead and pig, but taught us one we´ll take home to use on people. Abuse we´ve called it. had very sore hands after.

braved the loo in the middle of the night. things growled while i was in there. got the fear. ran back to my hut through the trees convinced i was being pursued by goblins.

left the cabins this morning after playing with blowpipes. my siblings are starting to become a bit much. they have their moments.. on road now to a research centre and new cabins.. last couple of days have been totally magic.


got drunk last night on cocktails with em for about two pounds each. things singin outside the cabins all night. saw 1000 monkeys. canoes today i think. 7 hours on one into the depths of the flatlands.. had a shower by candlelight..

wednesday? night canoes glittery lake! all sparkly and flashing in the night.. picked up a little light on a leaf to see the glowing worm more closely... took a picture to see the enormous spider on the other side of the leaf i was holding. dropped it with some alarm..

managed to resist the need to throw my little sister off the canoe to the camens. brattus yes. canopy towers at 5am! things flapping-- lights floating in the trees. going to our final deep amazonian lodge soon..

here be monsters!

and toucans.

breakfasted with some germans we found under a tree.

Thursday night..

still alive here in the jungle. has been hot. managed to burn some painted runes into my skin by accident. got electricity in this lodge! my dreADS have gone very strange. i look like a gibbon. tomorro night we sleep under nets in the jungle.


got woken up by a dive bombing bee. has been the hottest day ever. found some things. and some stuff. em got a cake with a candle for her birthday. camens in the dark hooting yes! now we´re in tents waiting for a thunderstorm we watched aproaching over the canopys..

jaguars may eat us in the night. i´m wearing a significant amount of bug spray right now. but i havent been bitten yet. would be a shame to fail now.
how can it be so hot at night!!


things are shrieking in the darkness. think something is looking in at me. can hear children whimpering in the shadows. em failed in her bid to chat up our guide here.. tried to use the loo at dusk. and as i approached it Something Huge flapped up out of it, straight at me and out the window.

never using that loo ever. it has sentient life.

theres a large creature grunting in the undergrowth. we´ve squashed the mozzies in the tent by torchlight..
me and em, surrounded by jungle, with only some net in between. i should sleep. but we have the fear..
jaguars mey carry us away.
or ants. i´ve seen what they can carry.. we´re going to wake up in the morning, still in our tent, down a hole, surrounded by termites.

---------- sunrise----

OH MY GOD that was a scary night.
woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of my little brother pùking violently into the undergrowth. except that it didnt sound human. it sounded like he was either being torn apart by wild beasts, or, mor likely, dieing of ebola..
had only just finished reading a book by jeremy clarkson in which i quote "no one really knows what the host for ebola is, but every now and then someone stumblesout of the jungle with their eyes bleeding and their stomach in a bag.."

so me and em quaked in the dark, thinking we were all going to die, in the middle of the jungle, 8 hours canoe ride away from civilisation, of some kind of hideous tropical disease.

that was the sound of ebola.
words will never describe how gross that was.

in the light of day everything is a bit less scary. my brother, one sister, and one our guide are all desperately unwell with something, but seem to be on the mend already.. maybe we wont all die here after all...

sunday morning..

yesterdsay was a day of canoe riding back upriver to the oil town of coca.. preluded by me falling fully clothed into the river when i tried to use a step that wasn´t there. the mud went up to my knees, and a large splash announced one of my less dignified jungle moments.
em giggled all the way out of the tributary, half way up the napo, and as in fact still giggling now..

eventually reached coca where i banged my head, tripped over the same step two times, had six hours of hiccups, and dropped my toothbrush in the loo.
perhaps its going to be one of those days...

monday morning..

so there we were, in the rough oil town of coca. men with guns standing in the shadows, and all kinds of weird vibes.

and so having dropped my toothbrush down the loo only that morning, the day got dramatically worse as the tropical lurgy rose up inside me triumphantly after breakfast.
as my body purged breakfast and dinner in different directions, i knew the six hours van ride up into the andean highlands was going to be a Bogus one.

i spent six hours curled up between metal supports, being bumped along the least flat dirt road in existence..
made a stop at some gorgeous waterfall which i had to miss, enjoyed myself instead experiencing some toilets - all of which failed to flush in various new exciting ways
- award going to the one which when flushed, emptied the contents of its cistern all over the floor.

so after some hours of grimness, we reached some civilised cabins in the cloudlands. glass in the windows, electricity, and hot baths, and i already felt better. the three day tropical bastard that had struck down do many others gave up in me after one day, and lo i rose today Reborn.
things made mooselike noises outside all night. on further inspection in turned out to be some kind of confused goose.

alarming quote of the day. me to my 16 yr old brother. "you should know more about your willy than i do"

tuesday morning

dreamed that we landed in paris on the way back, which had become all mayan jungle, and a volcano erupted, all burning ice and lava raining from the sky.. and as we ran i hear one of the kids snidely say to my mother, "i thought we weren´t going to nearly die on this trip" and then war broke out between the armys of dark and light, ánd it turned out i was shagging the dark lord and so had to agree to fight on his side for just one night.
and there was much plotting, and i had a stealth canoe, that was essentially a war log with me inside that shot down the river firing oil.. and there was some kind of final showdown and i was a warlord by then and had to stop a bullet in the air, and redirect it into the eyepatched socket of some magi, to release the powers locked inside and save the world..

so anyway.. back in quito now.. for four days of mozzie free, shopping, chilling and yearning for the night sounds of the jungle. i miss that bird.

favourite junglist things.

tree - the creeping fig, that walks three feet every year, by pulling up out roots and putting down new ones.

bug - the flying beetle with bright green headlights, and a bright amber tail light.

sound - the bird.
i want it. it was like tibetan bagpipes, loud and haunting, with a sound like a lawnmower starting up as it reached its full volume.

place - the cloudforests and waterfalls of delfines shaman home..

tuesday night

quito seems much less scary and uncivilised after the amazon. is nice here.. me and em found the local "english pub" - almost there apart from the lack of shouting, drunken men, stains on the floor, and football in the corner. but that seemed to make it more pleasant.
chatted at length about tattoos to the barman, and disagreed on death metal. and got serenaded this evening by columbians with a flute and guitar. he waited outside the restaurent till we came out to give me a note i dont understand. am intrigued. he had a good hat. yes.
fun day yes.

wednesday night.

today was a market out of town up in the highlands. bought more treasures. found a bar tonight. drank many cocktails with em. eyed up various foxy latino types. laughed at 80´s pop videos. another good night..

thursday. what, another bar? surely not.. anyone would think me and em were trying to get drunk. but not until after our amusing experience of dinner in aladdins, the shisha cafe. our falafel sandwiches and my beer turned up fine, but emily´s "coke" turned up mysteriously in the form of a hookah with a strange flavour we couldn´t quite put our finger on.. ;)


so has been just incredible. have missed so much out really. but when i get home and process the 400 pictures, the best ones will appear on here eventualy.
we start the 24hr mission home tomorro morning.
just today left to bring more bizarreness. but tales of that will have to wait..

i couldnt recommend Quito and the Amazon more. is only a shame we couldnt afford the galapagos as well, but it looks like thats the done thing round here so at least we left the beaten track. or indeed any track at all..

just wow to the whole thing. even my brief spat of ebola couldnt bring me down.
webbeachboy says:
Top Gear !
Posted on: Jan 21, 2008
nemitode says:
yes - for me not to be rude about a place, means it was Really Good.

the jeremy clarkson of places. (in my mind)_
Posted on: Jan 20, 2008
webbeachboy says:
Phew !

So ~ better than Houston then missis? - and the only things 'flying' were the bugs.... They obviously had their green cards already...
Posted on: Jan 20, 2008
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