Showing posts from 2018

Back in Payadise

I’ve been back in Ecuador for just over a week now. It’s been a few years since I’ve spent so much time in Quito in one go, but after a stressful few days of sourcing equipment, buying supplies, chasing chemical companies, nearly missing the night bus down to Coca, and then watching the motorised canoe on it’s way to pick us up flip over and float downriver – I am thrilled to finally be in Payamino!

Waking up to the sound of the Payamino river is simultaneously soothing and exciting. Before going to bed last night I had already seen a couple of gaudy cane toads, some intriguing orthopterans, several gorgeous spiders, and many dazzling butterflies. On the canoe up to the station a couple of mating damsel flies even landed on me. As if to counter balance, I also found a bullet ant in the kitchen and have been bitten my dozens of sandflies. Swings and roundabouts. 

This time, I'll be in Ecuador for three months, the longest stint I will have done here since leaving in 2013, after a yea…

The happy plant that escaped to Africa

Nestled on the west coast of Africa, a plant lives 3000 km from its 3000 relatives. Most bromeliads are relatively similar in shape but take on a wide variety of habitats in the neotropics. Except one. Meet Pitcairnia feliciana.

And now for something completely different...

Where toucanets whoop at the sun And condors perch above the river, I came to a place where crickets grow big and dazzling cockroaches grow bigger.
With painted cats at large, hidden among oversized trees, anteaters browse on subterranean farmers that harvest a fungus they feed with leaves.
Muddy trails lead from the river into the dark heart of the planet’s lungs. Over leaf and twig, buttress root and fallen giant, the muddy trail snakes before lucky ones.
Though some life is cleared and scorched, here it is not weeded for the wealthy: among the snakes and trees and spiders and bees a community thrives, ancient and healthy.
Kichwa laughed at my bare feet – that’s not the way that gringas walk! They taught me the way of their forest and then taught me how to talk.
And though so many words now escape me, and where I live I must wear shoes, the sounds of rock and water and life and Kichwa are things I don't forget and will not lose.