Tourista Jane’s Great Adventure

One of the most notable compliments I have ever received was from a work colleague who told me I was like Indiana Jones because, in the face of endless obstacles (corporate bureaucracy), I never gave up. Some call it pigheaded, I prefer to think of it as persistent.

I felt a little like Indiana Jones yesterday during an all-day adventure to the Amazon rainforest. I dubbed myself Tourista Jane.
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Cue opening music…Tourista Jane appears jostling on an open-air tram winding through the Andes just south of Banos de Agua Santa, Ecuador…

Tourista Jane grimaced as the young women sitting in front of her squealed and swatted at the spider that had rappelled from the top of the open window to dangle in front of them. Another squeal, followed by a haphazard swat, landed the spider on Jane’s window sill. Dazed, but not deterred, the spider wobbled toward Jane.

Spider. Why did it have to be a spider? I really hate spiders.

Jane took a deep breath, took aim and flicked the spider out the window with her trigger finger. The chicas cheered.

Tourista Jane had started her day early, catching the tourist tram headed southeast of Banos for a short excursion into the Amazon river basin. Jane thought of it as an reconnaissance trip to determine if she would return to this part of the world for a longer stay.
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Barreling through multiple tunnels blasted through the mountains, the rickety tram wound it’s way down the slopes to enter the edge of the Amazon rain forest. The first stop was at a local zoo.
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In addition to monkeys, cats (puma, ocelot, jaguar), turtles, a boa constrictor and pigs native to the area, the zoo featured some of the largest rodents Jane had ever seen. But her favorite was this lazy guy…a canine taking his morning siesta.
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From the zoo, Jane’s party bounced off the beaten path to visit a native village. The Quechua are the direct descendants of the Inca. The Quechua use the village to sell their handcrafts and to teach the tourists how to “shoot” a blow gun.
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Tourista Jane took a blow gun lesson (you never know when you might need that bit of knowledge) and managed to hit the target. Surprisingly little air is needed to puff in the hollow, wooden gun barrel and send the dart flying.

Next up was a canoe ride down a sparkling river. The Quechua guide assured Jane that there were no piranhas in the water.
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After white water canoeing (the canoes made it through several stretches of small rapids), it was time for a late afternoon lunch, hosted by more Quechuas. Jane hiked through the rainforest about half-a-mile to the designated lunch spot.
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With a full belly, it was time to take the expedition deep into the forest to bath at a majestic waterfall. It was a long hike into the forest and up a small mountain to reach the waterfall.
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But the cool water felt wonderful on Jane’s skin after the long, hot trek.
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Jane’s faithful travel companion, John, thought so too.
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With nightfall coming on quickly, Jane and her fellow adventurers made the long hike back to the tram. Just in time. The rain followed them for more than half of the two-and-a-half hour jostling ride back to Banos.

No surprise. Afterall, it is the rainforest.

Cue music and fade to black.

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