Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Home Sweet Home and 6 weeks before

It has been quite an adjustment the last month. We got back to the apartment on December 30th, 2010, after being gone for 5 months. Since we have been back we have done a hefty mid-winter cleaning of our apartment, we got magical smart phones that have changed our lives, Rory has started his job as an attorney at Holland and Knight, I've succeeded at many domestic projects, and my graduate school applications have been submitted. We've also watched the Packers kick some ass (well, I have watched obsessively, while Rory vaguely pays attention), we've visited lots of the Boston folks that we missed while we were gone, and I have shoveled many many times. In fact, I don't even get sore anymore when I am out there and I still kind of enjoy it.

Here's picture of what it looks like around here. I forgot to get a picture of the before scene, but if you can see the car in front of ours you'll get the idea of the shoveling I just undertook. And don't even get me started on the Somerville snow emergency parking enforcement because you would be subjected to a torrent of swearing and ill-wishing on ignorant violators.

And, as promised, a few photos of what we were doing about six weeks ago in the Amazon Rainforest. We spent most of our time on this river, the Marinyon, which is one of the two feeders of the Amazon River. Our last day we went about an hour downriver and saw the actual Amazon. We were out of camera battery at that point so no photos. But it was absolutely breathtaking.

Most travel in the area is done on boats, so we spent a lot of time in inner contemplation as the drone of the motorboat made conversation difficult. There we so much to take in that I don't think either of us noticed. Our tour lasted a quick, but full, 2.5 days. We walked through both high rainforest, which is never submerged under water, and low (I think) rainforest, which is submerged during the wet season. We were there in late December which is the start of the wet season. By March and April you would have to take a boat to get to this tree that Rory climbed during his ultimate Tarzan moment. (There was no Jane moment for me).

We also got a chance to see some nifty wildlife and learn about the medicinal quality of loads of plants. Many of the plants are still regularly harvested by local communities for their natural cures to common ailments. Maybe some of you have heard about Cat's Claw and it's use against some forms of cancer - we saw that one. And one that helps women stop bleeding after childbirth. But the animals were perhaps more memorable to us because we surely would have forgotten what pictures of plants were. Our guides spotted the animals as we were speeding along riverways, as skill that astounded both of us. Here's a shot of the second sloth we saw. It's really there, look carefully!

Most of the communities along the river and in the preserve are subsistence farming and fishing villages. We got to partake in fishing with our enthusiastic guide, Neyser, and our talented boat driver, Jairo. What were we fishing for? Piranhas! You could hear their jaws snapping and see their vicious teeth as we brought them into the boat. It turned out that I was the luckier fisherperson this trip. Piranhas are tasty too! The staff back at the lodge cooked them up for us!

And on our last day we got to visit a local village. We walked around and saw the different types of plans that they kept - various kinds of bananas (which do taste better there than here), papaya, yucca, and others. We also got to see Victoria Amazona, those ginormous lily pads that could hold up a baby. At the end of this tour we also were introduced to what some folks favor as a house pet. Snakes seem to be great for catching rodents that might bother chickens or mess with food stores. This anaconda was caught trying to kill a chicken, and though the chicken could not be saved this woman kept the huge animal for a few days to impress and scare the bejeezus out of visitors. Can you tell from Rory's smile how much he is LOVING this?

And to think, 2 months ago, we were on the beach, watching a surf competition....

Can't help but miss it a little on a day like today....