Trip Start Feb 14, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Monday, April 10, 2006

Hola Mis Amigas!!!!!!

Sorry for the lack of love with my mails, for the past month I have been on my placement in the Amaazon, with no Internet access. However now Im back in Quito living with the family again and ready to roll again. My placement in the Amazon was truly the most amazing thing I have ever done, it was a life changing experience, with so many memories which will last me a lifetime. I dont think I can possible even begin to describe how beautiful it is, so you will have to just look at the pictures, and even these I dont think will do it justice. For the past month our daily routine pretty was as such.

6.30am Breakfast
7.00am Feed the animals cages
8.00am Catch the Canoe to do and teach English at one of the local schools (only on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays)
12.00pm Lunch
1.00pm feed the animals again
3.00pm Match of Volleyball or Soccer and then swimming with the native Indian Workers
7.00pm Dinner
8.00pm Feeding the Tigers (Osolotes)

It might not sound that interesting, however it was the time of my life and loved it from start to end. The animals we looked after were in rehabilitation, generally what happens here in the Amazon, is that people are often caught trying to smuggle animals, when the Police catch them the send them to places such as Yarina Lodge, which is were we lived. Once the animals are better they are then eventually released back into the Jungle. Yarina Lodge is a Ecotourism Reserve set in the Amazon, which at maximum can hold about forty tourists, it is really beautiful. The Reserve had lots of animals, such as monkeys, Oscolots, turtles, toucans and many more. There was always tarantulas, snakes and anacondas and piranhas in the River. Sometimes it was pretty sad as a few animals did not survive. Looking after the animals was very entertaining also, Kitty and I decided that we are the shittest Zoo Keepers as we had a few major disasters happened and quite often the monkeys out smartened us, such as;

- Monkeys escaping and breaking into peoples cabins and stealing items.
- One Monkey stealing the keys to all of the animals cages and running up the tree, so we had to wait for three hours to retain them.
- When the big owner came to Yarina for an Inspection one of the monkeys escaped and attacked her.
- However the worst was on the night that the big owner arrived one of the Osolotes escaped (big Cat), and then it started returning to Yarina every night in search of food. One night it ate one of the Monkeys and this monkey just happened to be the star attraction for all of the tourists. So needless to say Kitty and I did not look too good in front of the Big Boss. However feeding the cats after that became pretty interesting, as on a number of occasions I came within a meter of it and it was good to see it in the wild. But at the time I was pretty scared as I was usually holding a big bowl of meat.

At one stage Kitty and I cruelly thought possibly nothing else could go wrong and no more ridiculous could happen. A few other funny things happened as well, such as;

- When Kitty and I were invited to have dinner with the owners and family, a lizard which was on the roof of the restaurant shat on kitty´s head and some got in her soup. Lucky I was the only person that saw it and we were trying so hard not to crack up laughing through the whole dinner.
- Once I fell out of the canoe straight into the water, which is right in front of the restaurant full of people who were cracking up laughing at me. Additionally I was also laughing to much as was Kitty and I could not get back in the canoe, which made the situation a whole lot worse.

Teaching English at the Local School on the Napo River, was truly something else. I would catch the Canoe to school in the morning and be picked up just before midday. It was completely different to any kind of schooling in Australia and makes you see how much we take things for granted. The School was just one single room on stilts, it was chickens, hens, rosters, pigs, dogs and horses around it and underneath it. There was only one class the eldest was 15 and the youngest was 8. The children just had the bear essentials, which was lucky as at the school Kitty taught at they did not have even any paper. The kids were so beautiful though, and the whole community knew about this English Teacher which was coming to the school and they all got right behind it. My class started off as 15 children and by the end doubled as so many of the parents started coming. This was really encouraging, considering how little these people have they are truly so generous. On the final day one of the dads took me on a canoe ride in the Lagoon next to the school to show me the Anaconda which was living in it, pretty amazing. After class they would always want to play football with me and when the boat would come to collect me all the kids and some of the parents would walk me to the River and yell out BYE. At the start I did not thing it was really such a big deal teaching, but then one of the parents and guides told me how important it really was and how much it means to the community, in the end I saw that and it was really touching.

Kitty and I also become really good friends with all of the other workers, most of these were native Chithwa Indians. It was great fun and also very good for our Spanish as they could not speak any English. However we did give them some English lessons as well. I think Kitty and I were pretty much there entertainment for a month as they were constantly laughing at us, which was well deserved as Kitty and I constantly had on our ridiculous hats!

For one whole month Kitty and I had a complete detox, no television, no music unless it was acoustic, no makeup, no drinking (except for our final night) and no cigarettes. It was truly a detox for the soul and you become so appreshate of all the little things in life. How nature can be your entertainment and how putting time in to getting to know people from completely different backgrounds, who dont even speak the same language, you can learn so much about them and yourself. I feel the best I have felt in years, completely relaxed and at ease!

Currently in Quito, its a good time to be here as the celebrate Easter for the whole week, so there is plenty of street festivals and parades. The family which we are living with are constantly cooking tradition Easter dishes (or Semana Santa as they call it here) and always have people around, so its good fun, especially now that our Spanish is better.

On Thursday we are heading for the Golapogas Islands, we scored ourselfs a spot on a luxury yacht. So if you are missing Kitty and I over Easter feel free to think about us cruising around the islands, snorkling and eating fresh seafood. We are staying on a yacht for five days travelling around the islands and then spending four days at Peutra Auyora and just chill out on the beach for a few days. We have some buddies which live there so it should be good. We will be on the yacht right over Easter, so Im really looking forward to it.

On the 20th of April we finally leave Ecaudor and head to Peru to meet up with everyone, so I will have an update for you all soon.

Wishing everyone a very happy Easter!!!!!!


Love Always and Forever Abbie!!!!!!
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