Plant and animal species thrive in the wet, soggy conditions of the Amazon jungle. And we were wet and soggy too, much of the time, as we sloshed and slid (and laughed!) in the slippery clay mud. The Amazon basin, which surrounds the fabled river, is a tropical rain forest, after all. So rain comes often, totaling 12 feet a year, and the steamy humidity is so high that nothing dries.
We were issued rain boots when we arrived at our jungle lodge, and ponchos when it rained. And the boots were stored upside down on poles outside our cabins to keep the critters out between jungle visits. I’m so glad that my friend Eva is now with us! That’s her in the poncho on the far left.
We saw giant Kapok trees; a wide variety of palms and ferns, and all kinds of other plants and trees, many of which have medicinal properties. And there were colorful bromeliad flowers and lots of different crazy fungi. Butterflies of all colors were flitting and gliding everywhere. And we also saw frogs and turtles, and so many kinds of birds, including parrots and parakeets. We didn’t see piranhas or anacondas, which was just fine with me! I even had my own pet, a three-inch-long insect called a 'walking stick'. He moved around in my bathroom, and was in a different place every time I returned to the cabin. Nighttime was magical, with birds, frogs and insects orchestrating a cacophony of sounds. And the clouds would break to reveal a star-filled sky.
The Amazon is the river of all rivers, really, running through nine countries, for a total of 4,000 miles. And it has the greatest water flow of any river in the world. Our Amazon visit was in Ecuador on Rio Napo, a major tributary of the Amazon. And, while we hated to leave all of that, we’re now headed for a second Ecuadorian adventure. Tomorrow we board an, eight-cabin catamaran for seven days of cruising this archipelago located 500 miles off the country’s western coast. There won’t be internet access while we’re on the boat, but I’ll have a full report for you when we’re back ashore. So, talk to you in a week . . .