Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Amazon 2: Turtle Lodge and Rain

So we have finally gotten to the lodge. It was settled pretty far into the jungle area. We saw plenty of caimans on the way (a cousin of alligators and crocodiles). Lots of fish and birds as well. The lodge was pretty eco conscious, which is why Toby chose it. I couldn't give you the specifics on what made it eco friendly, but I do believe that it was... Brazilians wouldn't ever falsely advertise, right? Haha.

 So the first few days were raaaaaainy! Super rain. We did pretty much all we could, which was pretty much just boat trips. Toby had his awesome Army issue poncho, and I had my H&M, stylish, but not waterproof poncho. It was a wet first few days. See where I'm standing above? This is the level that the water gets to in the wet season. So that house that's about 40 feet below me, floats all the way up here. And that island behind me? It's totally covered by water. We sort of want to go back just to see how different it looks!
 Because all of this wood is covered in water for 6 months out of the year it took on some really pretty characteristics. I'm not going to post them all, but I took like 50 pictures of tree stumps.
 This part of the Amazon basin just got electricity. I'm not 100% sure why they ran these giant cables all the way out into the middle of nowhere, where the population is so low. But they did. I do think it's great for learning and pumping clean water and whatnot, I guess. Our native guide's house that he built with his own two hands had as many electronics as we do. Haha. One guide did say that secondary education was previously completely unavailable, and with electricity the local schools will bring in an online class (errr, I guess they have internet too) so people can come and learn. So that's good. But they "native" lifestyle sure did seem great. The happiest people we're probably ever met.
 Low water. This building was floating on giant logs. Like giant giant logs.
 We did pretty much all we could while it rained, which was mostly boat rides to see wildlife, catch fish, etc. Cold and wet.
 School bus! Here rivers are roads, so why not a boat school bus?

 A little rainy time humor.
 So many cool tree trunks. The top of this tree was full of life, the bottom looked completely dead.
 Why, hello caiman.
 Growing up I had a pet bird, Ben. In a tree at the lodge there was a flock of green parrots living. They looked really close to ole Ben. Except no red head, Ben had red on his head, I believe these guys were all green. They're incredibly camouflaged. As I look at this photo I realized there are like 4 parrots that I can see. Can you find them all?

 We do handstands everywhere we go. This was on a clear part of the day, we went on the lodge's little eco-trek. We were amazed at how dark it got when you walked into the forest. So handstands.
 Toby of the jungle!

 How big was the tree? It was this big! But not really, this was just the buttresses of the roots. It's a characteristic not of one specific kind of tree (that's what I had thought), but something that all of the trees in the area have picked up. The soil isn't very good there (okay, that's what the guide said. I can't imagine that a rainforest would grow in really crappy soil), so they spread their roots like this to stabilize.
 Haha, this is a goofy picture of Toby. Now this tree really was this big. No buttresses about it.
 We slept under this mosquito net in the lodge. Useful, but being that the bed was full of bedbugs, not very useful.
 Pretty good food at the lodge. I'm still convinced that, even though I love American brunch so much and miss it a lot, Brazilians do breakfast really really well. Like really well. Yum.
Hammock building at the lodge. The rain finally stopped. This was the day we headed out to the jungle, I believe!

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