‘You and everyone else who comes here,’ he replied, smirking.
Prior to signing up for the trip to Ecuador’s Cuyabeno National Park, I Googled what I was likely to encounter here and the Internet informed me there are approximately 3,600 species of spiders inhabiting the Amazon basin. To not encounter one, I’d have to walk around blindfolded. To not encounter a tarantula, Mowgli told me, I’d have to keep my eyes off the ceiling in the jungle lodge dining room…
I estimate I’d been here roughly one hour and twenty minutes before I saw my first tarantula. Kenny actually spotted it first, crawling out of the rafters about two metres above our heads. Mowgli hadn’t been joking about the dining room ceiling. The rest of the group rushed in to see what all the noise was about and we all jumped around, making a fuss for about five minutes before we realised that in spite of its big, black, hairy presence, it was really quite boring, just sitting there like a pink-toed stuffed toy. They actually have pink toes, these ones. Not that it makes them any less scary-looking. It’s like putting ballet shoes on the Grim Reaper.
Mowgli stood nonchalantly on the sidelines as we composed ourselves, before announcing we were heading out to see the sunset over the lake, to fish for piranhas and to look for the famed pink Amazonian river dolphins. These dolphins have no natural predators, so they can happily live and hunt alone, although Mowgli explained that they often choose to live in families. They’re known to have a brain capacity that’s forty percent bigger than ours. Imagine that! It’s hard to believe that dolphins haven’t figured out a way of taking over the world. Or maybe they have and they’ve since decided it’s all too much effort and they might as well stick to swimming around, eating fish, which is easier…”
Read more about my adventures in the frickin’ mental Amazon in both Ecuador, and also Peru, where I spent a week doing ayahuasca with a shaman in Latinalicious – The South America Diaries.
But for now, check out the video I made while I was there!