Equador

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Honeymoon Hangover

We arrived back from our honeymoon, after a gruelling 24 hours of travelling by taxi, plane, another plane, yet another plane, train, bus and tram. We brought with us a whole heap of souvenirs such as a leather cowboy hat that fits me better than John Wayne, a bunch of sweaters made of soft Alpaca wool, a woollen hat for every child in the family, T-shirts and so on.

And I brought home a severe case of diarrhoea.

I had bad luck with the last couple of lunches in Quito, every time I picked out the wrong food in the wrong restaurants. So my intestines began to protest. Add a nice triple jet-lag to that and I found myself lying awake all night while my innards produced strange sounds and frighteningly bad smells. It still hurts a lot, so I didn’t go to work today and I have a doctor’s appointment at three. I hope there won’t be too much traffic in our street at that time, I don’t want to be condemned for trying to gas a couple of dozens of bystanders.

Digital Doggy Do

Last year I finally bought a rather expensive digital camera before our trip to Portugal. It's a Canon EOS 350D and it set me back some 900 euros. I quickly found out I also had to buy memory cards, as they were not included, so there went another 210 euros. To carry it around, I bought me a nice camera bag that set me back another 120 flaperitos.

This year, I invested in an additional lens, a Canon 55-200 telelens to capture things that would otherwise be too far away to notice on a picture. And to make very cool effects with the object or subject in the front being cristal clear while the background goes all blurred. That set me back another 300 euros, and I also bought a couple of filters of which a rather expensive polaroid filter. I also acquired a mini tripod, to take pictures of ourselves with the timer, or to make nightly pictures and so on.

Somehow I can still cram it all in my not-very-large camera bag. Which I put on the ground a couple of days ago when we arrived at the jungle lodge. I had to help my wife and our backpacks down from the back of the truck that had brought us there.

When I turned around, I saw that the cute little black doggy of the owner of the lodge had done a not so cute wee-wee on my 120 euro camera bag with the 900 euro camera and the 210 euro memory cards and the 300 euro telelens and the expensive polaroid filter and the not so expensive but still valuable UV filter and mini tripod!

That bloody dog was so lucky that his owner was close by, or I would have given him a tremendous kick with my steel reinforced walking boots. I have a size 44-45 (European), I would have launched him over the moon. Luckily, the 120 euro camera bag proved to be waterproof.

But it did smell.

Remarried

My first marriage lasted only two weeks, I already got remarried. Mind you, it was with the same woman.

When we were in the rainforest, we stayed a couple of days in a jungle lodge with an Indian (or Indigena) family. When they heard we just got married, they decided to organise a proper - Amazon - marriage for us, according to the traditions of their tribe.

So my wife, who became my fiancee once again, was dressed up with a beautifully decorated scarf. It really suited her heavy trekking boots. I on the other hand wore a poncho (with a large red cross on the back and on my chest) and a hat. The daughters acted as my fiancee's withnesses, and I was accompaneed by the two sons. They took us by the hand and we did a kind of dance, while the father sang the appropriate wedding dance song. We were facing each other and then shuffled towards the other each at our turn and accompanied by our young withnesses/guides. This went on for a while, and my youngest whitness - I think he was four or something - started pinching his crotch with his free hand because he had to pee.

After ten minutes of shuffling back and forth we were officially married according to the tribe's ways and we were allowed to kiss each other again - much to my relief.

The father told us that in their weddings, people dance and drink all night, but we didn't get any booze that night! Maybe it's just as well, because a couple of days later at another local family, we got to taste 'Chicha' the local alcoholic drink made of maniok (or other plants). I do prefer a Belgian beer, especially when you know that Chicha ferments because the women take it in their mouth, mix it with their saliva and spit it out again.

Delicious!

Waterworld

Hard to find an internet cafe in the rainforest, I can tell you. We're having a wonderful time here. We suffered a bit from jet lag (make that an enormous bit) and we've been sleeping off the tension and hard work of the last months. Ecuador is a beautiful country with very friendly people, but we managed to pick the rainy season for our honeymoon. That's not as bad as it sounds, it generally rains in short but heavy bursts, which is not that bad if you're close to shelter. However, the rainforest didn't steal its name. Actually it should be called the 'humungously soaking and damp enormously entagled endless green wet place', but somehow that name didn't catch on. We've been criss-crossing the area of the main tributaries of the Amazon river for four days, and we got out all damp/wet, with our cloths smelly and muddy. We had to bring everything to the laundry shop today, as soon as we arrived in the Andean town of Banos.

There are hot baths here, courtesy of the nearby volcano, and yours truly is going to soak in them for a very long time. If I could only get Mrs. B. to give me a good massage there...

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