This entry will be the Amazon Rainforest in pictures. First, though, let me say that you should not use Blogger to create a blog if you plan to have pictures. It deals with pictures in a terrible way and is incredibly difficult to use. I take full blame for choosing to use it...
This trip to the rainforest was a tough one. We did not see much wildlife despite spending 4 days and 3 nights in the middle of no where. The trip cost was $260 each for everything, which is expensive, but not insane for the amount of time. The wildlife that we did see was often fast moving and far away, so we do not have pictures of much for the animal fans. This is also why you won't find the picture of Tara scaling a tree to pet a jaguar or me when I jokingly put my head in the mouth of the anaconda.
This is the "meeting of the waters" where the Solimoes River and the Black River come together to form the Amazon River. The two are different speeds and temperatures, so it takes many miles for them to mix together. Apparently, dolphins often play here, but we did not see any of the river dolphins.A yellow finch just like you might see in a pet store. They are very common in this part of the Amazon.
Ants in the Amazon are everywhere and come in all shapes and sizes. These are some of the bigger ones. I also ate a couple of these fried in Venezuela.
One of the best parts of the Amazon is that life is everywhere. Plants and animals will try to live anywhere, even if it means growing on an electrical cord.
This type of kapok tree is called a Christmas tree by the locals because of these massive red things that hang off it. They are filled with a cotton like substance, which is often used to fill pillows and other things.
We went to visit a local village of Moro Indians (probably not the right spelling). There are about 20 families who mostly earn a living through making manioc flour and collecting acai berries. They have no power and, as Tara pointed out, are about as low impact as it is possible to be. Here, they are building a new house to replace one that burned down.
This is school for the village.
Is Tara happy or scared to be holding this little caiman? I would say scared. This guy may grow up to be 20 feet long. Or another caiman may eat him tomorrow. The water levels are just starting to recede from all time record high levels, so most of the bigger guys were apparently inland while we were there.
Tara after her face has been painted with the local fruit. The color is also used as food color and sunscreen.
These ants build their homes on trees. They are massive. Local people touch the nest to get covered in the ants (too small to bite) and then rub them all together to create an anesthetic. Smells sort of like iodine.
We have a video that we will try to post eventually, but there were at least a couple hundred of these guys all head to tail like this. Apparently, they look like a snake this way and are less likely to be eaten.
Andy in training to be Tarzan. The vines in the rainforest are really strong.
Gratuitous sunset picture.
This is where we stayed in the jungle for a couple days. It turns out that mosquitos can get through a tiny hole in the mosquito nets. On mosquitos--water levels are just starting to recede for the year, which means that mosquitos and flies are just hitting their peak for the year. I suspect that Dracula was not based on Vlad the Impaler, but on Amazonian mosquitos. They are everywhere and they are ferocious. I think it conservative to say that Tara and I ended up with a couple hundred bites each.
A tiny gold frog. Apparently the area has poison dart frogs about this same size, but we didn't see any.
This guy was in my pants that I had hung out to dry. I picked them up to see if they were dry (a joke since nothing ever dries in the Amazon no matter how quick drying the manufacturer claims it to be), when I almost grabbed this tarantula. I screamed like a little girl and threw the pants down. The spider was less scared and just sat there posing for pictures after. Hard to tell size from the picture, but he's about 6 inches across.
The shiniest thing we saw in the rainforest.
The local school "bus" in the Amazon. People live so far apart that it has to go along the river picking up the kids.
The bus stop back to civilization! How did we get there? Boat, of course. You can drive your boat right up to the back.
Overall, the Amazon was interesting, but probably this particular trip won't be one our our round-the-world highlights. We'll be spending some more time in the rainforest, though, so we hope it improves.
One last thing--the rainforest made us smell terrible. I don't know what it was, but it took us hours to wash the smell out of our clothes, and our hotel room still smelled when we left today. Maybe because it is always we there, things mildew. Our wool shirts can go two weeks without even starting to stink from sweat. 10 minutes in the Amazon and they smelled awful...