Welcome! Since I will not have the resources to e mail my usual circle of friends and family while in Ecuador, this is it. This Blog will be my vehicle for "dropping you a line..."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Typical Week at Kapawi

At the lodge

Around 5 a.m. the sun starts to lighten the sky. With the full moon we have had the past several days, it is never really dark. This is also when some birds start their calls. I get up at 6, dress, (which includes sunscreen and insect repellant), and go to breakfast. I eat with the staff. Breakfast usually includes white rice. Sometimes it is egg, or fish soup. Any meetings are set up at this time. Then I go back to my room, take care of any laundry, and start writing. I research and write all morning. I stop around 8:30 to Skype Bill. Then back to writing. I try to take a break and walk around the complex.  The walkways are all raised boardwalks. The cabins, dining rooms, bar, housekeeping, office, etc. are all interconnected. The walkway goes all the way to the boat dock. There is a trail that goes to the staff quarters and communal area. When I take my walk, I am surrounded by rainforest. During my walk, I usually see a lot of butterflies. There is one tree I like to visit because it usually has several butterflies feeding on the sap. That is a good photo spot.  My cabin sits over the edge of and overlooks a lagoon.   This is my bird watching spot. Which birds I see depend on the time of day.  In the a.m. a large black duck with white wing band flys in to feed. I also see it again, sometimes with a mate, in the late p.m. throughout most of the day; there is a large white heron (which was here for the past 2 weeks, but is absent now). I also see lesser anis and a yellow-breasted bird, Kiskadee. I can hear many birds throughout the day, but I cannot identify what they are. The cabin in on stilts, with water underneath. It is built with a layer of screen between two layers of the outer sections of palm tree trunks. This is an extra touch to keep out insects. It does a great job. I do not have many, but still use the mosquito curtain at night. I have seen a lizard, which I would guess is helping keep down the population of insects. Occasionally a butterfly or katydid appears on the screens. The cabin is built in the Achuar tradition, without nails. They use pegs and notches on the ends of the support posts to hold things together. There is a very high roof made of thatched palm.   I think the height lets the warm air go up and helps with the temperature. Two sides of the cabin are screened, and this helps with the air circulation, but in the afternoons the air is still and humid. It has not rained for several days. The last rain was a huge downpour, lasting all afternoon. It really cooled it down. Lunch is at 12, nap is in the afternoon, with more writing, and dinner is at 6. In between, I make drips to the dinning room to get boiled drinking water. It is nice not to cook and do dishes! The kitchen and staff dining area are very efficient. The cooks work hard and the food is good. Lots of manioc, green bananas,  fish and rice. Chicken too. But I miss having vegetables and fruit. The dining area has two tables and picnic style benches. When you enter, you go to the doorway/pass through and get your food. You return your dishes there as well. The utensils are on the table in a tray, you help yourself to what you need. Beverages are usually a type of juice, served in a large bucket with a spigot Again, it is self-serve. Here is where meetings are held after eating. The next days schedule for the guests is reviewed.  What activity, where and who is needed. After dinner I try to Skype and read my - mails. I go to the bar, as that is where I get a signal. Then I go back to my room. If there are guests, I can sometimes go with them on a night boat trip looking for caiman, or in the day, a hike. Sometimes the staff has a party in the communal area, and sometimes there are parties at the nearby communities that we can attend. They are just a boat ride away. The staff is friendly and very hard working.  At night, when I am charging up batteries and backing up data, I hear different sounds in the lagoon, mostly frogs. But occasionally I can hear the howler monkeys, way off in the distance. There are also night birds, such as to patoo, that call out their songs.  This is a great place to do my research!

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