Trip Start Aug 31, 2007
12Trip End Jun 02, 2008
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My flight was at 7 am, on Thursday, so I went to Quito to stay in a hostal overnight wednesday. It was the first time that I felt like I was actually travelling by myself, the first time in a hostal by myself, and felt very independent I guess, as corny as that sounds. I was able to do everything I needed to do in Spanish, and got to the airport on time (!!) Flew to the coast with Maria the project coordinator, and were driven by Taxi from Manta to Bahia, about an hour drive
We ate ceviche, a popular seafood dish and hangover cure of the coast which is essentially fresh seafood (oysters, squid, shrimp, fish, scallops) in a limey juice with tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, green pepper.. served cold with fried plantain. Then took awalk with Marcelo the guy who heads Cerro Seco to Cerro Seco. Cerro Seco (Dry Hill) is a community just a five minute walk from Bahia (pop. 7 000) which is also the entry to a Tropical Dry Forest Reserve where Marcelo lives. We went there and the view is incredible! He essentialy maintains this part of the reserve makes trails, identifies types of trees and plant life, guides people around, he also has a chicken coop, pigs, a pet iguana, a donkey called hercules, a compost, a nursery for reforestation of the area, and is starting a new bio gas project with the pigs. I totally fell in love with the place. Marcelo took me on a walk on one of the paths up the mountain, and we could see canaries, these vultures, lizards, iguanas, cacti that were as tall as trees, these wierd trees that look like humans, as you can see from the pictures, we saw puma and other feline tracks, orchids, and so many birds!!!!
So I think my job for my placement will be to make a sort of identification book and research from English books about dry tropical forest because Marcelo knows a LOT about it, but there has been a lot more research done by english scientists, so I will try to take pictures and make identification markers and signs along the pathways, and make a sort of book and guide for the tourists when they come. I will also help with the chickens, I am to make a mangrove greenhouse for a display, also reforest the area, help the mothers at the nearby school make lunches for the children (the community all pitches in so that all the kids get a good lunch every day through differnt fundraising activities), kayak and get to know the mangrove islands so that I can help Marcelo guide english speaking tourists in that area, vaccinate dogs.
So all in all.. really looking forward to next semester and hoping to do a lot of big things there because I think there is the opportunity and I have a lot of ideas and think I can really dedicate myself there. And the BIRDS!!!!! I can't wait . (look what you did to your daughter mom.. )
So enjoy the pictures! All is well.. drinking cappuchinos (with an iota of kahlua in it) and doing some readings.. in Quito. Much love from south..