Adventure Day

So things have been going pretty great here! Its hard to believe I’ve almost been away from home for 6 whole weeks! I still get a bit homesick, but I don’t miss what you’d expect like cable or my (grandparents’s) car or my phone, but I miss cold drinking water and hot showers the most. We’ve been cooking some good dinners and spending a lot of time with monkeys! We’re really getting good at understanding them and dealing with them when there’s a problem. The one thing that bothers me is the tourists. They are no brighter than the average American tourists, and I spend a good portion of my day chasing down monkeys to recover things they stole from the tourists because that person really needed to bring a big thing of make-up to a monkey sanctuary. Its weird though because people who live in towns near the forest in Minnesota all hunt or fish or camp or do something with nature, but it seems like people in Puyo want nothing to do with the jungle and have no idea about any of its inhabitants (monkeys).


Each week more volunteers show up (I’m still the only guy with 5 other girls). But the couple weeks before there were only three volunteers in total so Liza and I had to take separate days off which meant we really couldn’t do anything exciting. Last Friday, though, we finally had a chance to do something fun! Liza has been wanting to see a waterfall so we called a guide about seeing the Hola Vida Waterfall that is supposed to be beautiful. The guide said that he would pick us up at 8:30 and have us home by 6. I thought it was weird that it’d take all day to see a waterfall, but I was excited nonetheless. When he picked us up friday morning, he said we had a lot more to do that just see the waterfall. Our first stop was at a fish reserve where they had the biggest species of fish in the Amazon. I think they were called Paiches, but I can’t remember if that’s right. Then it was a fourty minute hike through the jungle to get to the waterfall. It was cool because the guide knew about all the trees and how they’re used, and he knew a lot about the animals that live there. We saw some frogs and a taurantula in its nest. Then he picked these fuzzy leaves that he assured us made great toilet paper. These leaves had little bumps near the stem that he told us to break open. I was shocked to see a family of tiny ants living inside. I was even more shocked when the guide began licking the ants. I was even more, even more shocked when I did it, and they tasted like Lemon Heads. Finally we made it to the waterfall. It was beautiful! We jumped in for a dip and the water was very refreshing!


Our next stop was called Altos del Pastaza, a big cliff overlooking the jungle. It was a half hour canoe ride there. It reminded me of an Animal Planet show when they go out on the river in a little canoe. It looked exactly the same with dense jungle on either side. The view point was awesome too! There was jungle as far as the eye could could see. Then, to my dismay, there was a rope swing over the ledge of this cliff. Liza did it, and I didn’t want her to show me up so I did it too. It was terrifying. My leg was shaking for half an hour afterwards.


Our final stop was at an indigenous community called Cotococha. It was cool to experience a bit of the native culture. We drank chicha which is like wine made out of Yuca. My mom asked the other day if I had heard of it, and I said no. Then a couple days later I was drinking it! Hopefully my picture uploads, but it gives a pretty good idea of how it tasted. We also got to try blow darts. Liza and I had deadly accuracy! Liza also got dressed up and her face painted like they do for ceremonies!


Sorry I hope I didn’t ramble too much! Friday we’re going to a hotel with wifi for my birthday so I should be able to post more pictures!





8 responses to this post.

  1. Aw man! I don’t think my pictures got uploaded! I’ll try to put a bunch on, on Friday! For the chicha, it was very bitter and almost tasted as bad as actual wine… Almost


  2. Posted by Patty Bean on October 9, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    I love hearing your stories. Very cool. You are making awesome memories that will stay with you forever. I do have one question though… Were you two at all concerned that the ant-filled bumps would break open as you were wiping? Also, I hope you the guide explained that you should not lick the ants after having used their home as toilet paper, at least not immediately…

    Take care! Stay strong! And always wipe gently!

    Love, Patty


  3. Posted by Lexi on October 9, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Being so far away must be messing a little with your intelligence because I’m pretty sure “fourty” is spelled “forty” but what do I know I go to public school. Aha (: ❤


  4. Posted by Jeannie on October 10, 2012 at 12:46 am

    Thats cool tom. I proud of you that u went on the rope swing!!!! Cant wait to hear about your next adventure!!!
    Love u!


  5. Posted by Maddy J. on October 11, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Tom, I love your stories. They seriously are the highlight of my day. Please upload more photos!! Emma, Kao Zoua, and I love seeing the monkeys!!

    Maddy J.


  6. Posted by Nancy Rions on October 13, 2012 at 5:11 am

    Hi Thomas,

    We finally got our new computer up and running today so it was a nice surprise to hear about your adventure. It kind of reminded of a book we used to look at when you were just a little boy, I think it was “Big Birds Adventure in the Rainforest”. It had those buttons you could push that made all the sounds of the insects and animals, do you remember it? Big Bird must have the same guide you had. I hope you have time for a few more adventures. Do you think you’ll be able to go on that bike ride we talked about, the one where you ride for 26 miles down the mountain?

    We’re looking forward to skyping with you tomorrow. How is your leg doing? Your going to have to quit flirting with the female monkeys! Sounds like those jealous Alpha male monkeys can be pretty scary and dangerous. I hope you’re enjoying your birthday weekend. Maybe you can get some cold water and take a few hot showers while your at the hotel. I remember you used to stand in our shower and let the water run until there wasn’t any hot water left.

    Thanks for the stories, I can’t wait to see more pictures. Have a Happy Birthday and stay safe!!!

    Love You,


  7. Posted by David Susag on October 15, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Keep flirting with the girl Monkeys and Liza might give you a scar to go with the monkeybite scar!!!


  8. Posted by margie shaddrick on October 25, 2012 at 5:18 am

    thomas—you make me laugh–you should write a book–you are funny and you make good use of the english language–luvya-tay


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