Back in the noisy/dirty/ever-interesting city of Puerto Maldonado. I didn’t want to leave the Tambopata Research Station and was hoping to hide under the bed so the boat would leave without me… but alas, I was found. Running through some of the photos I took there really reminded me what my life here is all about: being in the forest and witnessing the big (and small) occurences that many people only get to see on the Discovery Channel and Planet Earth. Here are some of my favorites:
The plethora of Macaws squawking in the morning, afternoon and evening.
The giant white caiman that lived in a quebrada (tiny river). I thought this one was a rock because it was so far away, and when my friend Dave took a photo and zoomed in I screamed in shock. It looked a lot bigger on the camera… and I was scared… apparently.
Two bullet ants fighting. Probably duking it out over who got to sting me next.
The view from one of my transects over the Tambopata river looking onto the Andes Mountains.
Seeing the rainforest in the light of the rising sun.
Checking fresh animal tracks across the river.
And of course, playing Settlers of Catan at the end of the day!
There were some mishaps too, like the time that a colony of leaf cutter ants decided to tear part of my mosquito collection container into a hundred little pieces and carry it off into their nest. Good luck growing fungus on that ya pesky mongrels!
But most of the time the traps worked fine and successfully put thousands of mosquitoes on a path to destruction with their alluring UV light and deadly fan… bwaa ha ha!
The bottles have water, yeast and sugar to create CO2.. Oh, and the leaf cutters ate the rubber stoppers too.
I had never been so spoiled in my life as a researcher. Just to give you a taste, here is what the station looked like:
On the boat ride back to Puerto we saw a family of capybara cooling off in the shallows.
This is my excited face:
When I got back to Puerto I promptly drank a tall glass of cold arazá refresco and ate some ice cream. The temp here in the city must be well over 100 F. I look forward to getting back to the lush forest that actually has shade and where I have purpose in my life.
I leave in two days for a research station named Sachvacayoc which has no internet. Can you even imagine??? It’s like I’m in the rainforest or something!! I´ll be doing more mosquito collection and also some ant work. Another thrilling adventure of finding queens of the Azteca and Allomerus genus and killing them in alcohol! Sometimes I dream they retaliate by carrying me off in the night. actually I had a dream last night about running stats on all my mosquito data. I think I´ve crossed the border into nerd-landia. I will post a big fat blog entry when I get back on March 3rd so come back for the next chapter in the ant stinging escapades, also known as my life. This time I have my dear friend Alison working with me which will be a hoot! She just may be one of the coolest girls on the planet and I´m so lucky to have her as a volunteer! I will be sure to take lots of photos and update as soon as possible! Caio!!