This blog is posted mostly everyday when we take a break from our usual retired Life as former full-time RVer's and travel overseas.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Enjoying the Rain Forest - November 13, 2012

We will be taking several hikes in the rain forest today. Our two guides are prepared. Snake shields, snake hooks and machete. Maybe that is why they said to wear full shoes and long pants, something everyone in the group complied with.

The food here is awesome, and even the scrambled eggs are cooked just the way I like them, so for the first time in three weeks I took some. Meanwhile, clean off the buffet table Linda, devoured everyone in sight as usual. How can she eat so much and look the same while I grow closer to looking like the Michelin Man each day? Actually I hope to be pleasantly surprised by how little I've gained when we first weigh on our return home. Delusional Bob.

Hiking and kayaking were the order of the day this morning with a 7:15 start to beat the heat. Linda wasn't sure she was going to do the kayaking, but once she got in our kayak without tipping it over she took to it like a cat to water.

We saw a number birds in the trees along the stream we were on, but they had an uncanny sense of flying away before any photo could be taken.

During our trip a film crew was filming a promotional video for the lodge. Don't ask me why I didn't take a few photos of them. Maybe it was because I kept getting distracted by all the beauty in front of me.

Eventually we met up with the river, the one that goes over the falls. When we first reached it we thought it was a lake, it is so wide. It looks like the falls are going to be very spectacular indeed, and tomorrow we will be the first of our two days visiting them.

Getting out of the kayaks was more a case of being hoisted out.

Linda is definitely more at home on the trail than she is on the water.

Our guide said what is was. We just saw a huge, pretty butterfly.

There are vines galore in the forest, the problem with photographing them is all you see is a mass of vegetation if you photograph anything other than take a closeup.

So there I was, walking along the trail and Linda says, "Stop!" Being well trained I do as I was told . Next I hear, "There's a big bug on your back," followed by, "Hold still." I wondered how she managed to brush it off without touching until I downloaded her photos and saw she wasn't brushing it off, she was taking a photo of it. So much for true love. Just Bob.

She who doesn't like narrow foot bridges, expressed in extremely strong terms that I should maintain a significant separation of distance from her as we crossed this one. Of course her words were more blunt and to the point, but sometimes a little editing can round off her sharp Appalachian hill girl corners. Considerate Bob.

Closeup of the "death grip", I can report that no railings were destroyed during her crossing, though indentations may have been made. I kept my distance and so survived the crossing unscathed. Good Bob.

Wonder which butterfly these will turn into?

We saw it a number of times walking to and from our cabana. It was roughly 3 feet long and if you got to close it shifted into high gear and disappeared into the vegetation at the side of the trail.

In the late afternoon we walked through the forest to the village where the children who had sang for us last night lived. As we walked our guide constantly pointed out interesting plants. They are not nearly as pretty as the butterflies so I will spare you the many photos we took, besides the next time we look at them we won't have a clue what they are.

The villagers are the indigenous people of this region. They build their village in a location, clear the land, farm the soil till it is no longer productive, then move to another location and begin anew.

As we visited with the chief we learned more and more about their way of life. This group had split off from a larger village, coming here only four months ago. There are now 20 houses, one room dwellings, that have been constructed. There are 42 children in the village. The chief, at age 30, is apparently the oldest person. The government wants keep them and there way of life, so it supports them in several ways. Electric lines will be run to the village and power supplied. The government will also drill a water well and provide them with a pump and other items to furnish running water. The materials for their houses was also furnished by the government.

We look at this and think extreme poverty. Their view is different or they would migrate to the big cities. They marry as young as 12 for the girls, though a couple of years older is more common. They have to marry someone in a different village. The man has to live in his wife's village for at least four years after marrying her, then they can move to the man's village or another village if he wants. It is a patralineal society. Each village has a shaman who is the village's religious leader. For this village it is the brother of the chief. Their mother was the shaman of the village the split off from and she told this group it was time for them to leave and start their own village. That's a very condensed version and leaves much out. This is what we love about traveling to other countries.

They had free range chickens. Happy Linda.

They had a few small plantings of corn. They were also clearing more land, cutting down the trees and grubbing out the bushes, etc and burning them.

Everyone in the village was happy to meet us.

When asked how they made their money if they don't grow cash crops, the answer was by selling handicrafts they made. Linda was able to add to the income of several families.

The name of the village. When we get home we'll have to see if it is on Google earth.

Linda's butterfly photo for the day.

Mate plants. They pick them by cutting off the side branches. They live about 30 years, then are cut off at the ground, the strongest shoot is allowed to grow, after 30 more years repeat. When the plant is 90 years old it is removed and a new one is planted. Mate is more widely sold in the stores than coffee and tea. And to think, we had never heard of it before this trip. And no, we are not going to become mate drinkers. However, it and the bowls and straws are available on Amazon. We will stick with tea or coffee with chicory added.

On the way back to the lodge, Claudio, our guide, took a stick and stuck it into some loose soil. He then asked us to sniff it. Turned it was an ant hill and the ant's defense mechanism was to emitted an acid that had a smell very similar to ammonia, and NOT weak ammonia. The things you learn.

Boiling water and mate, in another pot was sugar, add coals from the fire to the sugar, burn well, add to the mate, mix, add cold water, remove coals, ladle into cups and drink. Then have several more cups, it is that good. People who are afraid to try something unknown miss out on so much in Life. We have enjoyed so many new and wonderful foods this trip, it is going to be an adventure shopping when we return to the States.

It's not what you think, whatever it was. It is an owl perched on top of a dead palm trunk. The camera red eyed it.

The super moon seen through the rain forest canopy. Now that is a sight to remember.

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