Blogging South America: Arriving in Paradise and a Laughter Workout

I would like to apologise for being too lazy to update until now. Well, I’ve only actually been lazy for the last two days, not four, because the for the first two days I didn’t have my iPad with me so I wrote in a journal. The handwriting is a bit pathetic because I’ve got that crippling I-haven’t-written-for-two-weeks-so-my-hand-has-forgotten-how-to-hold-a-pen-and-create-readable-letters side effect of a carefree holiday. If it was somewhat readable I would post a picture of it on StarrCrossed and be done with it but that’s obviously not the case. Also, the way my English teachers teaches us The Scarlet Letter has taught me how to write fast so there are a whole lot of acronyms and seemingly random brackets and symbols scattered across the pages that only I could understand. So there’s that longwinded backstory. Shall we continue with my adventures in – to quote a tour guide- “America but in the South”?

Today (Thursday 24 April) we drove through more Cloud Forests and along the famous Avenue of Volcanoes (named by Dr Humboldt.) The trip took five long hours but we stopped along the way for snacks and bathrooms breaks. On the bus our tour guide, Leonardo, told us about this Ecuadorian delicacy of eating beetle larvae and because it’s an “Ecuadorian delicacy” I was tempted to try it. Until I saw it. I quickly retracted my culinary adventurousness when I saw this fat, orange, alive thing the size of an ambitious shot glass squirming around on a kebab stick over a smouldering fire. Some girls tried it. Most of us stared in horror as they moved it towards their mouths, and then in amusement as their facial expressions told us we’d made the right decision.

After those long five hours and a five minute canoe ride we arrived at our hotel in the Ecuadorian Amazon Basin. I know I’ve said a lot about Ecuador’s scenery being breathtaking but take all of those awestruck compliments into this place because it is pure paradise. There are flowers I’ve never even imagined and and abundance of greenery that, I would like to argue, must single-handedly be supplying the Earth with oxygen, and birds’ songs that would make any professional singer jealous.

After having lunch in yet another unique and exciting place, we swam for over two hours straight in the pool. We played ‘Marco Polo’ and then at some point five of us Matrics formed a little conversational circle. While the others girls threw a water bottle substituting for a ball around, we shuffled around the pool around in our little circle and laughed. We talked and laughed, I swear, for an hour and a half. We talked about such random things: crocs, Trevor Noah, partying habits, water aerobics (we created our own water aerobics class for about two minutes)… You name it, we probably talked and laughed about it. We had a whole 90 minutes. When asked why we were laughing so much, we blamed it on having too much oxygen because the Amazon Basin is at a lower altitude to Quito.

There is a group of Americans staying at the hotel, too. I was standing we behind an Indian man in the buffet line when he asked where we’re from. I said South Africa and then asked where he was from.
He said, “I’m from Michigan. We’re from all around America. We’re part of that U2 [something or other] travelling group.”
But he said it like I was supposed to know this ‘famous’ travelling group. I didn’t. I also didn’t want to look like the clueless African so I nodded, smiled, said, ” Oh wow.” and then piled spoonfuls of boiled broccoli and carrots in my plate.

This place is wonderful. I’m sitting in bed writing this and all I can here is crickets noises and the Napo river just outside my mosquito-net window. In our little slice of paradise we are completely cut off from the rest of the world (well, I am at least since all of my gadgets were purposefully left in Quito). It feels fantastically strange.