We have just arrived in Tena after a short, but adventure-filled week in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
On Monday, we were welcomed by Eduardo (the owner of the land we stayed on), and Lorena and company (the family that had been traveling with us the previous two weeks) as we settled into our cabins and accustomed ourselves to the abnormally sized insects. We spent our day exploring the jungle with Eduardo and learning about all the plants and animals inhabiting it.
On Tuesday, we had four hours of Spanish classes in the morning (exhausting, but necessary) and then in the afternoon we went to the nearby lagoon. The lagoon was so beautiful, not to mention so refreshing, especially after having to walk an hour in the Amazonian heat to find it. Many of us used a rope hanging from a tree to jump into the ice-cold water. Others of us slid down slippery rocks into a little cascade. It was definitely a well-deserved, relaxing afternoon after four hours of intense Spanish classes.
On Wednesday, we went on a 5 hour hike into the jungle led by Eduardo, which mostly consisted of climbing up 5 different waterfalls. The group had an amazing time! Although we were exhausted, cold, and starving by the end of the 5 hours, the adrenaline rushes we had experienced climbing the waterfalls had made it all worth the while.
On Thursday, we had Spanish classes again in the morning. My class went to the river right in front of our cabins for the first two hours of class and it was so beautiful! The view of the Amazon from the river took my breath away. After classes, we had an afternoon filled with artisania, or crafts. We learned how to make bracelets with seeds from nearby trees and bushes. We also learned how to weave plastic threads to make a bag. I personally got really into the bracelet making, and ended up staying later to make an extra one. Now, I can confidently say I am a professional at making bracelets.
Friday was our last day in the Amazon. We had Spanish classes in the morning and then got ready to leave to start our student directed travel week. We had to say goodbye to Lorena and her family, which I am sure we could all agree, was the saddest part of the trip so far. They had been with us since the very beginning of the trip at the Banana Farm, so it was extremely hard to say good bye to people who had been such an important part of our experience thus far. They will be dearly missed, and we can only hope that we will meet people as wonderful as them later on in the trip.
As we say goodbye to both a beautiful week and beautiful people, we look forward to the exciting student directed travel week, and also the upcoming months, ahead of us.