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A recent trip to Ecuador included a five-day adventure at the Kapawi Ecolodge in the Amazon basin. I'm still digesting the experience. I feel somehow shifted.
PK and I have traveled to many developing countries and have seen poverty. The indigenous people in the Kapawi area of Ecuador have little, if any, money. But they're not poor. Photos below demonstrate some of the richness of the flora and fauna of the unique environment into which they're totally integrated.
Maybe that's what touched me: Being in a diverse and eco-rich environment—the Amazon rainforest—where people are part of the scene, not taming or conquering it, but living as one with it.
To a large degree, I think that's what many of us - people who live in urban or rural neighborhoods in developed countries try to do when we escape to the mountains and rivers to hike, camp or sit by the water watching insects skim and birds fly.
We long to be part of the natural world. Some people already are.
It was a good thing to see.
B I R D S
Seems like wherever we are on the planet, we see birds that look like great blue herons. This is actually a cocoi heron, common throughout much of South America and closely related to the grey and great blue herons of North America, Central America, the Caribbean and the Galapagos Islands. (Wikipedia.)
| Horned screamers, large heavy birds, occupied space around the lodge and screamed often. Rude at night. |
|Laurie Gerloff and moi. Also large and|
heavy, hanging around the lodge
screaming and were rude at night.
Not to be mistaken for birds.
|Masked crimson tanager. These tanagers feed in groups near water, and we saw plenty of crimson crowds from our cabins-on-stilts on the small Kapawi lagoon.|
|Old blue eyes with white bill, AKA yellow rumped cacique, a regular at the lodge lagoon.|
C R A W L Y T H I N G S
.My favorite caterpillar. What's with the white strip down its back? The fronds at each end? And the blue wiring?
|This one apparently got into some Styrofoam.|
|Ordinary spider but unusual circumstances on a night walk through the rainforest.|
|Tiny termites used by the Achuar as insect repellent. We joined our guide in smearing the termites onto our upper extremities. They had a pleasant cedar-like aroma. Regardless, mosquitoes were mostly no-shows.|
|A stick, walking.|
F U N G I
|Our guide was encyclopedic, but unless a fungi was medicinal, he didn't necessarily know its name. Case in point, this hooded monk with a curly black beard and a crocheted shawl, dancing in rotting leaves on the rainforest floor. Hmmm. Could have phallic implications. |
|With a stiff wind I believe these ultra light shrooms would flutter.|
|Grains of rice stuck atop black wires?|
|Miniature marshmallows. But don't taste!|
R A N D O M S T U F F
|Red monkey spotted during our canoe ride into the Kapawi Ecolodge our first day in the Amazon. Monkeys are often present but are difficult to see, unless, of course, you're an Achuar man with a blowgun and poison dart, precision eyesight and dead-eye aim. Stores don't exist in this remote part of the Amazon, and monkeys are on the menu. (Not at the Kapawi lodge.)|
|A walking palm with colorful legs.|
|Twenty-foot tall tree ferns almost get lost in|
the rainforest's awesomeness.
EARLIER POSTS ABOUT THE AMAZON
Amazon Adventure - Kapawi Ecolodge - All about tramping around in the rainforest, gaining insights into Achuar culture, and seeing how various rainforest plants are used for just about everything from housing construction to medicine to spiritual enlightenment.
Off to a shaky start at Kapawi Ecolodge But it was all good, even the fishtailing bush plane and the drink made from manioc and spit.