Monday, 1 February 2010

The revenge of the ants

The challenge of writing this blog is to try and recapture, at the end of a usually full day, the ambiance of daily experiences. I hum´d and haw´d about getting a netbook before I left but decided that the money was better spent trekking.

Always second guessing myself.

Anyhoo, I have just come from a lovely supper, wherein I treated myself to a glass of chilean wine with my oh, so delicious pizza. Feta, tomatoe and avacado. Yum. Add in a lovely dining under the stars to easy listening, latin beat musica and esta una bueno noche. :)

So what did I get up to today? Went for a long walk up a river just out of town here, in search of some waterfalls I was told were close bye. Decided to try this one solo. It was great, with the dirt road winding for a while past homes, and then small farms, until it basically evaporated and was replaced with a narrow trail into the great unknown. (well unknown to me).

Today was a fairly rainy day, no deluge, just on and off sprinkles / showers. This made the trail quite slippery and it was a challenge to set a good pace. Didn´t help that I was in a fauna based mindset, and had to stop, admire & take pictures of all kinds of leaves and flowers that caught my fancy. Hey, Vanilla flowers and beans. Many thanks to Grace for teaching me how to use the macro feature on my camera. :)

Note: Raincoat, hot. No raincoat, wet. {nuff said)

So I spent about an hour headed up the trail, had to do some wading, and cross a rather rickety bridge consisting of basically 2 tree limbs nailed with the occasion cross support. I was patting myself on the back (even as I was fighting off the #@*#% mosquitoes) when I suddenly realized that I was in the jungle, by myself, and oh look, there is a very large cat track. Look cautiously around, and think "I wonder if they would every find my body?" And just like the sensible, responsible and prudent woman I am, I headed even further up the trail... even as I doused myself with yet another coat of deet.

Thanks to Gerlo, my guide last year, I was able to keep an eye on a troupe of monkeys which were in turn keeping an eye on me. Really. I could see them running along the tree branches high above the trail, and they would pause when I would pause. Too bad they couldn´t actually TELL me when I took a wrong turn. I ended up at a gate to a private drug rehab centre satelite campground, where I decided it was time to head home.

Now I have mentioned in a previous post that I was due some ant killing retribution, and the great judge in the sky decided that today was just the day to send it my way, in the form of a frenzied sea of rather large and ominous looking ants that had chosen a rather strategic part of my path to cross. OMG... who knew that ants could travel so fast, and that there could be so many all on the same ant superhighway? And I had to cross said superhighway, flowing between (and over) two rather large boulders that I had squeezed through earlier. The sentinels found me easily, so I backed up and took the time to stuff my pantlegs into my socks, took a deep breath and RAN. In the few steps (and seconds) it took me to pass through the throng they managed to get a good grip. I stood and swatted, stamped and cursed at the dozens of angry buggers as they got higher and higher up my pantlegs. This was particularly important as I was not close enough to the stream to actually jump in for relief if they got to skin (ie under my shirt) and decided to start biting.

They were persistant, but I prevailed. Lesson learned, yes Linda there really IS a jungle out there. This fact was actually driven home when, as I was passing under a rock outcrop, I looked up and saw the size of the spider webs. Shudder. Linda is all of a sudden very glad she is on her way home.

However I did pass some very cute baby fish as I went back over the bridge.

Back on the road I met up with some very friendly folk, lots of Holas. Purchased a delicious piece of cake from one of the farm folk, and ran into a couple collecting fruit at the side of the road. They gave me some "monkey fruit" and explained not to eat the seeds in the middle (I actually remembered this from last year). Spent a little bit of time watching a bamboo fence being built, and took lots more photos.

A mototaxi came bye and stopped to show me a baby anteater that they had found and were taking to the conservation centre. Requisit photo.

Something I didn't like was seeing a man walking up the street with a pigmy marmoset curled up on his shoulder / neck. I thought it looked scared, but probably not. He most likely got it as a baby and so I doubt it knows different, but it made me sad.

The owner of the hostal I am staying at is in the process of translating her website to english, and I offered to look it over. Might be fun.

I wonder what kind of trouble I can get into tomorrow... Hopefully it won´t involve ants.

Buenos Noches.


Still can´t get over the multicoloured chickens. I am fascinated.

AND, FYI, Butterflys are VERY hard to photograph.

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