I am sorry for my terrible lack of blog posts. I have just been busy with several things. But I can give you a recap of the events that have occurred here in the Southern Hemisphere in the last month since my blog.
Well, the first exciting thing that happened was going to the beach for Carnaval. This was from February 17-20. Anyways, for those who don't know, Carnaval is this huge holiday here in Ecuador before Ash Wednesday. Think of it as an extended Mardi Gras celebration. The official days of Carnaval (the days you get off of school and work) are Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday but the celebrations start over the weekend (and my friends and I decided to miss a day of school to start the party even earlier. =P ) Anyways, the typical events that occur during Carnaval are: spraying people with foam, throwing water balloons, eggs, and paint, lots of music, dancing (at least for us on the beach), and of course with any party here in Ecuador, lots of alcohol. My friends and I went to this place on the coast called Canoa. Even though the place we stayed at wasn't very nice, we still had an amazing time. It was the first time I saw the Pacific Ocean so I was really excited. Besides swimming and just relaxing on the beach, my friends and I took a one hour surf lesson. I wasn't very good at surfing (I couldn't get to a standing position; I could only get about half way up) but for the first time, I thought I was ok. I definitely want to try going surfing again even though it was really exhausting. The only sad part about Carnaval was that the last day, I got food poisoning and got sick during the day, especially due to the heat and sun. But overall, it was a lot of fun.
The next thing that happened is I have been going to the movies a lot with my friends. Except we go to the theater that has all the movies subtitled with Spanish but the voices are in English. However, this was not the case for the first movie I saw here. My friend and I planned this outing last minute and there weren't many choices of shows we wanted to see at the time we got there. So we bought a ticket for The Girl Who Played With Fire (the sequel to the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo). However, after buying the tickets and getting some food, my friend and I realized we had bought a ticket for a movie that had Swedish voices and Spanish subtitles. Even though it was in this format, it was actually not that hard to follow and I really enjoyed the movie. The other movies I have seen here are The Descendants(wasn't a fan) and Chronicle(I thought this one was pretty good). I got to see Chronicle for free because I had gotten a free movie pass since the theater had so many problems while showing The Descendants (they had to stop the movie about 7 times). Movies here are a lot cheaper too. Tickets range from $2.40-$4.80 and for a large popcorn and large drink, it is only $6.60.
Well, I suppose I should get to the part that everyone wants to here about in this blog: the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in the rain forest. First off, this place is pretty much in the middle of no where. In order to get there, our group had to take a 30min plane ride, a two hour boat ride, a two hour bus ride, and ANOTHER two hour boat ride. When you are on that second boat ride though, you begin to see the rain forest clearly and begin to appreciate just where you are at that point. On the way to the station, we saw a Harpy Eagle and even the guides were surprised to see it, since it is not a common occurrence. The atmosphere was just absolutely amazing. I always said when I was a little kid that one day I would go to the rain forest and then I actually did. You don't usually think that one day you will actually get to experience a thunderstorm in the rain forest. Some activities that we did were a night search for caiman, floating down the Tiputini River(which is the 7th largest tributary to the Amazon River), hikes during the day, eating lemon flavored ants from a tree (which I did) and a boat ride on this secluded lagoon. My favorite part was the canopy walk and climbing this ladder to a platform in a tree. The ladder was two parts and one was securely attached to the base of the tree, but the other part, is attached only at the top and the bottom and at that point, you are basically climbing a ladder over air. I will post a picture that my friend took from up on the platform to give you an idea of what it was like. Anyways, animal wise, we saw frogs, toads, bullet ants, beautiful butterflies, dragonflies, turtles, howler monkeys, wooly monkeys, titi monkeys, bats, a gecko that was in our cabin, a tree frog, scarlet macaws, a toucan, various other birds, a kinkajou, and a tree boa. The last two were up in the trees during our night boat ride to look for caiman, However, I was focused more on the stars. You would not believe how many stars you can see when you are out in the middle of the rain forest. There are other stories I could share but they are too many to list for this blog entry since it is getting pretty long.
Anyways, that is all for now. The next blog entry will include the trip to Mindo I will be taking next weekend and possibly, my experience going puenting, which is basically the same as bungee jumping. Chao!!!