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Day 4: Welcome to the Jungle

June 21, 2012

By The Alpaca Dames:

Culebra Verde (Liophis Reginae) Snake

Culebra Verde (Liophis reginae) Snake

After a delicious breakfast of homemade breads and native fruits, we donned our rubber boots, called Wellingtons in Ecuador, and left our hotel to explore a portion of the cloud forest near Banos de Agua Santa.  Traveling through rock hewed tunnels, we arrived at our starting point, led by our intrepid guide, Miguel, and a local herpetologist, Juan Pablo.  With these two pioneering the path, we set out to see many of the flora and fauna that are endemic to Ecuador.

As we journeyed, we experienced many sights and sounds.  Of these, we saw several species of the more than 4000 orchids along with several types of bromeliads.  While trekking through the mud and muck, we also saw and heard several animals including an Inca jay, a coati, a native snake called the Culebra Verde, and a black tamarind monkey.

Convergence of Rivers

Convergence of Rivers

With viewing and seeing these amazing animals, we listened to the mesmerizing and melodious sounds of the converging Tigre and Zuna Rivers.  These two rivers help form and shape part of the Amazon River basin.  To conclude the hike, we were treated to a dazzling display of butterflies, as they danced around mountain rocks in a myriad of colors.

Butterflies Puddling

Butterflies Puddling

After parting with our muddy Wellingtons, we left the cloud forest en route to Quito.  We stopped at a quaint hacienda in a small town for a delicious lunch of avocado soup, chicken and asparagus enchiladas, topped off with passion fruit mousse.  The hosts of the restaurant are a husband and wife team, who cook and serve the meals along with maintaining the property.  While the rest of the day was spent on the bus, it was still filled with bittersweet moments as we had to say goodbye to two of our new friends and Ecuadoran guides, Marta and Maria Fernandez, but then we were given a stunning and memorable view of a snow capped Cotopaxi mountain.

The day began with the humbling sights and sounds of the rainforest but ends with the music and flavor of the capital, Quito.  Adventure awaits us again…tomorrow!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Middle Creek Elementary School permalink
    June 22, 2012 6:31 am

    What does “ECUADOR” mean? How are the stars different south of the equator?

    Does the sun feel different in the Equator?

    • June 23, 2012 4:54 pm

      Ecuador means equator in Spanish and is located partly on the northern hemisphere and the other part in the southern hemisphere. In the southern part, the Southern Cross constellation is what navigators and sailors use for direction, just like we use the Northern Star.

      Yes, the sun feels stronger in Ecudaor when we were at higher altitudes and elevations. Now that we are in the coastal part, it feels like it does in North Carolina.

  2. Jacque permalink
    June 22, 2012 6:36 am

    Sounds like you are having a lot of fun and learning alot.

  3. June 22, 2012 8:35 am

    Wow Ms.Langberg! I hope you had a great time in Ecuador see you next year!!

  4. June 22, 2012 5:43 pm

    Gorgeous country! Please share with all at H-W Peggy.

  5. Catherine permalink
    June 22, 2012 10:33 pm

    Peggy!!! I cannot believe I just read that you ate Guinea Pig. That’s worse than the insects you talk about. Haha!!! Have fun!!!

  6. June 23, 2012 9:38 am

    I wonder how the trip was????

  7. Middle Creek Elementary School permalink
    June 23, 2012 5:58 pm

    What did you eat there while in ECUADOR? Do they have McDonald’s?

    What kind of pets do the kids of ECUADOR have?

    • June 23, 2012 10:39 pm

      They have some of the same pets as most children in the United States including dogs, cats, and birds. However, they also have some animals as pets that may seem strange to us including an ostrich. Yes, there are McDonalds in Ecuador.

      We have eaten many unique things including a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits plus we sampled real sugar cane on the farm, which is what farmers use to harvest sugar. We also tasted cacao beans. These beans are eventually made into chocolate! Yum!

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