Monday, January 12, 2009

Ecuador, Dec 2008.

Well I went to Ecuador on a school trip. It was the most awesome thing I have ever done! I have been to Europe 2x and this was significantly more fun and rewarding. We stayed at TBS, Tiputini Biodiversity Station. Its a research station so there were a few researchers down there while we were there. I met some awesome people (Jose, Santiago, Ramiro, Diego, Shawn, Bejat, Erin, Michele) and did sooo many awesome things:

  • PiraƱa fishing
  • Turtle egg hunting
  • Walks in the rainforest
  • Canopy tower
  • Nighttime caiman hunt
  • Float trips down the river
  • Seeing the monkeys right outside our bunks
  • Butterfly swarms in the Vball court
  • Tattoo fruit
  • Lake tour
  • Dock at night to look at the stars
  • Saw loooots of animals and plants and insects...

I'm sure I am forgetting stuff, but Ill edit accordingly. Some things I'm glad to leave behind include: not being able to flush TP, wearing bug spray all the effing time, not wearing makeup (I'm ashamed to admit) because I looked a hot mess down there, being suspicious of the fruit, veg and H2O all the time (damn you little microbes), not eating so many carbs (though I do LOVE me some fried plantain) and being able to use the bathroom in private (the bathroom was just screened away from the bunks, sooo yeah).

Despite all the things I am glad to have back, I will miss 10-fold more things. From the people (who I will see again, sometime) to the learning Spanish everyday to the simple little WOP frogs. It was simply the most amazing and different place Ive eve been, and the allure to return is strong. I feel like I may have finally found my happy place.

Oh and please be aware of the devastation oil drilling causes, Ecuador is losing its native rainforest at an extremely rapid pace, and I fear that someday some will not be able to see what I have been lucky enough to. Its truly heartbreaking stuff, that makes me pissed and feel helpless at the same time.

This is the view of the Tiputini River from a hill. This is where we stayed. Beautiful.
We went on a canopy walkway. It was super fun, but there were lots of ants and sweat bees or other various insects of annoyance. A lot more here than in the understory it seems.
View from a canopy tower.
Pretty pic. Me jumping into the Tiputini! I stayed in for about an hour, just floating and being amazed at where I was!
Pic (credit to Sarah) of a tree right before a storm.

Turtle eggs were harvested to take back to the station and hatch.
On to the FOOD! Me eating lemon ants! They are very small, so there was no weird moving-in-my-mouth sensation. Just bursts of lemon! Those little black dots on my hand are the ants.
Tacos for dinner. One of the dinners I enjoyed more.
Snot grenade! I loved these! More of a novelty, the flavor isn't much.
Cuy. AKA guinea pig. Its traditional to eat in Ecuador and Peru (probably other countries as well). I thought it tasted good but the meat was oily, and not just from the frying. I would have it again though in a different preparation.
Coca tea. AKA mate de coca. Used to help alleviate altitude sickness symptoms (I was lucky I didn't have any). We stayed in Quito for a couple days and the elevation is ~9,300 feet so some were suffering. We're from an elevation of ~700 feet. Tea tastes like a cross between chamomile and green tea. I just like it.
View of the Andes from Quito.
Verdict on the food: I would have liked more traditional food at the station, but Im told most people want something they can recognize, so Im in the minority there. I love food al together, but Americanized food is bastardized. We take perfectly good cuisine from other countries and eff it up so much! Ugh. Anyway, the food there was good, but traditional is preferred. I know Im a food snob. I cant help it. Sorry.

1 comment:

  1. I went to Ecuador for a class in 1998 and it was absolutely amazing. I would go back in a second. The trip was so worthwhile and I am happy to have been given the opportunity to visit such an incredible place.