Today we are leaving Mindo for Quito. In the morning we packed and went on a photo scavenger hunt. We had to take pictures of things like a butterfly, the virgin mary and an auto mechanic. It was raining but Madeleine, Clur and I dominated. We left for Quito in the afternoon and on the bus Michael, Madeleine and I watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail the whole way. Once we got to Quito we went to the market and I went a little crazy buying stuff. Madeleine got a necklace like the one in the animated movie Atlantus which was pretty cool. We went to this delicious sandwich place and wandered around near some hoppin’ discotecas!
Today we are flying to Coca, then taking a five hour “canoe” ride to the dolphin lodge. The airport security was probably the fastest I have ever been through and the flight was only thirty minutes long, also the shortest plane ride I have ever been on. Once we arrived it was hot and humid, more like home. We were a little bit skeptical about the so-called canoe ride, but it turned out to be a long boat with a motor, no need to paddle! We got stuck a couple of times and had to maneuver around a lot of shallow spots. The ride was really pretty though and I think we all got in a good nap. Right when we got here we went out in canoes to explore the Piranha Lagoon. We all swam even because the guide assured us it wasn’t dangerous (living on the edge) and nobody was eaten by piranhas, although a few of us lost some limbs. After dinner some of us went on a bug hunt, which was interesting. We saw some gross bugs and were slightly swarmed by mosquitos. Some people got bitten by ants so we went back. Later as Sarah Jane and I were watching a movie I discovered that I had a cockroach/beetle thing in my pants, which was traumatizing but we got revenge in the morning when I found the bug and killed it.
We woke up early today to go canoeing and look for wildlife. We all piled in three canoes and the guides paddled us through the islands in the river. After an hour of canoeing we came back and ate breakfast. Our guides took us in the motorcanoe to a trail where we went hiking. We hiked for about three hours and we all wore our rubber boots because there was a lot of mud. We saw several Ents and even Treebeard(Lord of the Rings duh)! Our guide showed us how to use a palm leaf in like six different ways and what to do if we get lost in the forest (other than get eaten by a jaguar). Some of us also tried to climb a tree by using a vine wrapped in a circle and putting our feet in it. We came back to the lodge and had a brief photography lesson and then lunch. After lunch we had a much needed siesta, and I slept in a hammock. After the siesta we went back in the canoes to look for monkeys. We heard a lot of mysterious noises that Madeleine and I decided were baby velociraptors feeding since this place resembles Jurassic Park. We saw some howler monkeys in the trees and a lot of trees with fruit that has cotton inside of it. Occasionally our guide had to machete our way through some of the trees and vines. After the canoe ride we had dinner and after dinner we went to search for caimans. We were unsuccessful in finding any caimans, but we did see some cool heat lightning and the stars were really pretty.
Today we got to sleep in till 6:45(so late!!!!) and after breakfast we went on another hike to look for wildlife. The guide Livio showed us several medicinal plants including one that is poisonous to animals and an antidote for humans. We all drank it so I hope he’s right about it! We also ate some ants that tasted like lemon. For lunch we had spaghetti, which was amazing and the first pasta I’d had in ages. After lunch we didn’t have a siesta and took the big motorcanoe to monkey island. After wandering around on the trails and listening to Livio do his monkey call we finally found some monkeys! They were a bunch of wooly monkeys and even one with a baby on it’s back! We took lots of pictures and watched the monkeys for a while and then took the motorcanoe back. We had dinner and afterwards there was the option of going on a bug walk, but some of us got out of it by touching a whip scorpion spider-like thing. Instead me, Callie, Sarah Jane and both Madelines had a dance party.
We woke up early today to go on a monkey hike. We were mostly unsuccessful except for a glimpse of a small monkey. At breakfast we got extra rolls, which was really exciting. After breakfast we took the canoes to go piranha fishing! Our guide Juan caught the first two, and the second one bit his finger a little and was bleeding profusely so we had to go to Livio’s boat to get a bandaid. After that I caught one and had to drop it in the floor of the boat and whack it with the paddle to kill it. Madeleine and Michael both caught smaller piranhas and Juan caught a couple more. We brought the piranhas back and they cooked them for us, and they were delicious! We had a siesta and then we swam in the water we had just caught piranhas from. Madeleine and Michael practiced their dinosaur calls, and it was cool because it was so loud it echoed.