It’s a relief to get out of bed in the morning and move around. It’s hot in the room. Outside, a pouring rain dumps on the Amazon rainforest surrounding our lodge. Mud splashes everywhere.
In the dining hall, it’s a bit cooler and they have coffee already made in a gigantic thermos container. I hope this rain stops long enough for us to get some good sightings of animals.
My littlest, Lily comes through the doors in bare feet and pajamas. Without saying a word, she crawls into my arms. She had a nightmare last night and switched places with Trish so she could sleep next to me. She yawns and asks if we are going to have pancakes for breakfast. I don’t know, of course, but she is still at that age that Daddy has the answers for everything.
We obviously enjoy travel – to fight through the problems, marvel at the surprises and tell the story afterward. We like the adrenaline rush, the danger and the way we love our home so much more after a long trip.
But the reason why I love our family travel isn’t the travel, it’s the family. The way our lives are programmed at home, we don’t get a lot of good time together. Sure, we’re in the same house for few hours a day, but each person is doing a separate thing – homework, activities, entertainment.
Travelling is our family time. And we get a lot of it. Adventure travel puts all four of us together, focused on the same thing, engaged in the same way, interacting with each other, usually all day long. It’s better than a beach vacation where the kids go play in the surf and Dad reads a book in the sun (although that can be great too!)
We are cheating time, time travel if you will. How else do you make extra time with your rapidly-getting-older kids? They grow up so fast and, (if you do it right) they leave, never to return.
And later, when I think back on our time as a family, it will be this time together that I remember.
After breakfast we set up our day with Herman. Unfortunately it’s still pouring rain so hiking in the forest is out. We decide to wait a little bit and hope it breaks up. The rains have been going steadily since last night, which is longer than usual.
We play in the hammock and I try to do more of this blog with the dwindling battery power of my laptop. I wish they had a little bit of electric power here, just enough to charge a device or two.
Exploring the Amazon
Piranha and catfish are the most commonly caught fish in the Amazon for food. There are over 3000 species of fish up and down the waterways of the Amazon river basin, but most are not caught for food. The catfish, which can be several feet in length is a bottom dweller that feeds off trash and has mealy meat like it’s North American cousin.
Most known pirahna attacks are on fishermen handling them and getting a fingertip nipped off, or by starved, panicked piranha trapped in pools at low water. Kids swim in the Amazon all the time, untouched by the piranha.
The one that got away.
Unfortunately we didn’t get a lot of nibbles fishing today (unless you count Lily’s, who said she was getting nibbles constantly) There is so much water that the fish disperse.
We head deeper into the jungle, driving the boat right over the land we would be walking if it were a drier season. The trees survive for weeks with roots entirely below water, something a tree in our climate couldn’t survive.
Is that a monkey!
Teddy, our driver says something in Spanish to Herman. Herman tells us to hush. In a tree about 100 feet away, is a sloth, climbing slowly. He takes a little bit to spot but we can clearly see him moving slowly up the tree.
Sloths are fascinating animals. They spend most of their lives with their legs above their head, hanging even when asleep. Their fur is arranged in the opposite direction from most mammals because of their upside down orientation. Sloths have only a quarter of the muscle mass of the typical mammal, which is why they move so slowly.