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Kayaking into a lagoon off the Napo River
Reflections: An Ecuadorian Journal

The Amazon Rain ForestThe Amazon Rain Forest (Jacqueline Ball)
Yeah. . . I could have hung out in the hammock on our wonderful lanai all day painting and bird watching. . .but I roused myself to
-Go out at night in the motorized canoe to spotlight for caiman, the local alligators. We saw one HUGE caiman lounging on a sandbar. WOW
-Go on nature hikes through the rain forest in my lodge-provided rubber boots;
-Ride a motorized canoe up river and hop into a kayak to ride back down river with the current, exploring side lagoons;
-Visit an Achuar home for a cultural exchange. He asked ''Where are your husbands and why do they allow two women to travel alone?'' and I asked: ''If you could change one thing that has happened since non-Achuar people came to this part of the Rain Forest, what would it be?''

I had a special experience in the Rain Forest at night during the spotlighting excursion to view caiman. The guides turned off the motor and the spotlight and let the boat drift. The darkness, even in the middle of the river, was so intense I felt I could touch it. And the sound. It is hard to see wildlife in the rain forest, but at night the forest is an orchestra of hundreds of different sounds and voices. I've been on lots of nature night hikes where lights go out for a short while, but never as long as this time. I think we drifted for 30 minutes. I forgot to wonder when the motor would start again and I was totally immersed in the moment when the motor was turned on. To say I was startled is an understatement. For that short time I was in another time and place. I will remember that experience my whole life.

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