08.03.2011 - 20.03.2011
The Spanish school where I’m studying offer ‘travelling classroom’ programs where you can travel with a teacher. There are various touristy activities to explore the local area, and then 4 hours of Spanish lessons each day. I took 2 weeks – 1 week staying at a lodge in the Amazon jungle, and 1 week on the beaches of the pacific coast.
Week 1 – ‘Jungle Steve’
Suchipakari jungle lodge
.. a guided walk through the jungle with an explanation of herbal plants, fruits and insects
Did you know that live termites can be rubbed on the skin as antiseptic? I prefer Savlon.
Leaf cutter ant highway
Mmmm – chocolate
My teacher- wading through an Amazonian river
.. a visit to a local community. Surprisingly modernised, but still with some of their own traditions and all bilingual, speaking the native Kichua as well as Spanish. Apparently the local guys drink a fermented yuca drink all day long which is about as strong as beer. It’s traditionally fermented using the saliva of the Kichua women, although I was promised that they used a type of sweet potatoe instead for the stuff I tried. Still, fermented yoghurt drink in the Amazon.... not sure how I managed to avoid being very ill.
UK government spending review: Gove’s proposed classroom design
.. a trip to an animal sanctuary, which aims to rehabilitate ex-pets or injured wild animals ready for release back in to the jungle if possible.
There’s a checkpoint on the way out of the jungle to make sure that you’re not smuggling any animals, which apparently used to be very common.
Jetting down the river in a motorised canoe & once again feeling like I'm on the set of a David Attenborough documentary:
"he he he.. I’m so cunning.. they can’t see me..”
It's a hard life
"if i look cute, maybe they’ll give me more food"
Younger Kindon sisters look away now!
.. and of course 4 hours per day of Spanish classes
At the lodge – my jungle classroom
Fancy driving your 4x4 truck across here?
Week 2 - ‘La Ruta del Sol’
‘La Ruta del Sol’ translates as the ‘route of sunshine’, or ‘sunshine path’. As well as stunning mountains, the Galapagos Islands and Amazonian jungle, Ecuador is lucky enough to have a long coastline of beautiful Pacific beaches.
Silver sands of Perdenales
Sunset - Canoa
Who needs Monaco when you have Bahia?
We did a couple of tours from Puerto Lopez – one to the local national park, and one to the community of Agua Blanca in the bosque seco ecosystem (‘dry forest’). We visited a community there that lives off the produce of farming and give tours of their land, history and culture. They also have a natural mineral pool which is most welcome in the heat.
Traditional funeral cask in the museo
Squirrel. If this type of squirrel gets to Europe then the grey squirrels will get a taste of their own medicine – it looks like a grey squirrel on steroids
Bosque Seco - me and my teacher in the natural mineral baths (complete with natural mineral face packs scooped up from the bottom of the pool)
‘Los Frailes’ – pristine beach within the national park
Sunsets - Puerto Lopez:
Exactly why we shouldn’t litter! You might kill a very strange very ugly sea creature