University of Wisconsin–Madison

Day 23 – The River Less Travelled On

June 16th, 2014 – In Transit

Quarter past 5 on the equator and the remnants of the stars still dominate the sky, lingering as long as possible until the breaking dawn illuminates the sky. Only the brightest stars remain. The ones whose luminance can compete with the inevitability of the rising sun as their dim lights slowly fade into the morning sky. As I carried on with the tasks of the morning and finalizing my inventory for Tiputini, less and less stars endured. When the sun finally broke across the horizon, only the lovely lights from Venus could compete. The stars disappear as easily as I will disappear from Ecuador, leaving no trace of my existence behind. Just as the United States did not crumble in my leave of absence, Ecuador can stand alone without me. This country has impacted me more than I could ever impact it. Another trade weighted in my favor.

We look ahead to our times at the Tiputini Biological Station.
We look ahead to our times at the Tiputini Biological Station.
This is the real lazy river. Nap time all the time.
This is the real lazy river. Nap time all the time.
Black gold is found here.
Black gold is found here.
Pull out your old rods. I think there will be a mighty haul in these waters.
Pull out your old rods. I think there will be a mighty haul in these waters.
For some reason I thought an Anaconda would be longer…
For some reason I thought an Anaconda would be longer…
The end of the line.
The end of the line.

I have arrived at Tiputini. The journey required many different modes of transportation: (1) a bus from the hostel to the airport (2) the plane (3) a bus to the ferry (4) the ferry itself depicted above (5) a ranchero filled to the brim (6) and last but not least, a boatful of adolescent banter (the animals must have ran away in fear from all the raging hormones). Yep, it was terrible. After the usual experience of motion sickness on the plane, it was nice to feel the wind in my face as we sped along the flooded river. The flood plains created open space for our boat to transverse the open waters, resulting in a quickened travel. Initially, I did not realize just how much we would be travelling within the country.

In addition to the new experience of extended travelling on my already international travel, there has been an exposure to a new group of people. The students of Georgetown University added the little dose of eccentricity that I had been missing from America. Although these students were required to speak in Spanish, I had no trouble connecting with them. I may even have spoken more Spanish with them than I did with any natives that I encountered.

But back to Tiputini. Deep in the heart of the wilderness, many rules are enforced upon us to keep the station operational. Similar to Lalo Loor, we must eat at specific times. We must conserve energy and water. We must not venture into the unknown trails of the forest alone. I have been trained to do this. I realize that I already made the mistake once and I don’t intend on becoming a repeat offender.

Tiputini, just what do you have in store?