Ecuador – Misahuallí
Only one day of rain out of 17 in the country. But what a rain it was. The river swelled and turned brown from run-off, everyone huddled under what little roofs and over-hangs there were around the town, and even the monkeys were nowhere to be seen. The monkeys? Yeah, the ones that freely roam the center of the town, steal goods from people, ride dogs, invade restaurants – anything to troll us humans. One tried to steal my camera and Sarah’s hat. They take things that will get the biggest reaction from people.
The event today was an all day river boat trip stopping at a few destinations. Normally, groups rent the boat and split the cost. Not so for us; we picked the least popular day to be here, I guess. It was expensive, but worth it.
The first stop was a well run animal rehabilitation center. They don’t let you see the animals that will be released so as to limit human contact. The ones they do let you see are mentally or physically damaged or too accustomed to human contact. We met one monkey with Asperger syndrome and another that was a serial killer. They had to add smaller mesh around his habitat because he ripped the tail off another animal in a adjacent cage.
The next destination was a museum of traps. “Museum” here means clearing in the jungle with real traps set up. The guide was awesome and set them off for us as we walked around. Sarah learned how to hide in a small hut made of leaves.
This guide was also responsible for making Ayahuasca for a local shaman. (Actually related to the shaman how was friends with the guy running our lodge – small world in the jungle). More specifically, the very Ayahuasca to be imbibed by some travelers staying at our lodge. He wanted us to take a picture of it back for them. Almost ready!
They like eating whole cooked Talapia here. It was imported due to its quick growth cycle and ease of raising as a food crop. I’m not sure if it is invasive, but the cayman like it. Yummy fish eye balls.