Sunday, January 20, 2008

Getting there is half the fun...

We're back in Manaus after an overnight adventure in the Amazon rainforest! Yesterday morning we boarded four tough Toyota jeeps and started a trek - one hour on a moderately well-paved road, followed by two hours covering 41 kilometers on some recently rain-ravaged dirt roads - we quickly learned that Amazonia has much more topography than many of us had previously realized! As our drivers expertly avoided the pits and gullies, we clung on for dear life and waited to be delivered to our rustic camp. After arriving, having lunch, and doing some sketching exercises, we all suited up in boots and insect repellant and took a hike though the rainforest to a wooded lake. We saw huge and interesting vines (lianas), fungi, and the possible highlight of the return was coming across a frighteningly large and active tarantula - you should see them move when they're threatened!

After dinner and some reflection on our trip thus far, most of us were exhausted enough to sleep soundly in our hammocks and mosquito netting. Interestingly, sunset here occurs about 6:30 p.m., and it starts getting light just about 6:00 a.m. The night was a symphony of interesting and sometimes unsettling noises - Kelsey assures us that most of the strangest sounds were frogs.