Dec 11

PV012: The Ecuadorian Jungle

by in Postcard Valet, PV-Podcast, Travel, Videos

When we finished our boat excursion in the Galapagos, we had to plan out the rest of our time there.  Our friend, Jeff, only had a week or so left with us, so we deferred to him.  What would he like to do?  See more of the Galapagos or, perhaps, something else in Ecuador?  He wanted to see the Amazon jungle.

This was an interesting video to put together.  Because of the rain, for most of the day trip we only ever hauled out Oksana’s tiny little point-and-shoot camera (a Panasonic Lumix TZ5.)  It doesn’t even compare to the other cameras we had tucked away under our raincoats, but I was surprised to discover its 720p HD video mode and marginal microphone were more than capable of telling that day’s story.

The day before Jeff left (Dec 6), we sorted through our footage, pounded out a rough outline, and shot our voice-overs on the roof of Plantas y Blanco, our hostel — which accounts for much of the background noise in the final edit — all in about 3 hours.  While not perfect, I do like how most of the video turned out.

What do you think?  Does the image quality stack up to some of the previous episodes we’ve done?

The following is a transcript of the above video for Google’s benefit (ignore it, watch the video instead!)

Postcard Valet
Travel Podcast
Episode 12 – The Ecuadorian Jungle

Oksana and I kicked off our world travels with a trip to the Galapagos and five of our friends joined us there.

I had an extra week and we decided to head down to the jungle.

We went to a couple different travel agencies in Baños and talked about going to a packaged jungle tour, but that didn’t appeal to us, so we ended up hiring our own guide.

On the way down to the jungle, he noticed that the clouds had cleared over Tungurahua, the volcano that was erupting over Baños.  He asked if we wanted to stop and we were like (nodding.)  So we got out and we spent five or ten minutes taking pictures and video of the volcano.  It was erupting out of the back side, so we didn’t hear anything, but we saw some very impressive explosions.  As we got back into the car, I turned to Jeff and said, “No matter what happens in the jungle, we’ve already had an awesome day!”

Which is good, because it was pouring!  Before we even got to the jungle, the road down was washed out from a big mudslide and a tree had fallen across that we had to move just to get down to our starting point.

We hiked down to the river which was all swollen with a nice swift current and we had to hire a canoe to ferry us across to the other side.  The canoe was really long and narrow and top heavy with me in the boat, and I just felt like, at any second, we were going to flip over into the water.

We hiked into the jungle, and I didn’t even know it at the time, ‘cause I thought we were just hiking up these rivers, but they were actually the trail.  And the trail had steep sides, but there was just this river running down the trail, complete with little waterfalls.

Our guide, Freddy, was awesome!  He took us on a four-hour walk through the jungle and pointed out all these different, edible things that we could try.

[* not actually edible!]

He used his machete and a knife to cut open and tap into the water supply that’s inside of every bamboo section.

“Oh, wow!”

And we got to drink it through a straw made from a leaf.

“It’s good!”

He let us sample various plants that were anything from very sweet and tasty to super bitter…

“Wow!  Bitter!”

He even cut open the stem of this plant and showed us a colony of ants living inside.

“I don’t know if you can see that…”

He claimed that if you ate them, they’d tasted like lemon

“Do you uh, um, ¿masticarlos o…?

“Sí, tienes que masticarlas.  Un o una hormiga dale el sabor a lemón.”

Well, I had to try it, because I didn’t try the termites back in Peru with Megan.

“Why don’t you do it, Arlo?”

“Oh, no, no, no. This is not my thing.”

“Megan would kill me if I didn’t do this.”

So, I went ahead and sucked them up, as many as I could through the stem…

“Wow!  En serio… ¡sí! Yeah!  Very lemon!”

And sure enough!  There was a lemon taste!

At the end of our jungle hike, we went back to our guide’s home where he showed us how to carve darts and how to use a blowgun.

Arlo had a problem at the beginning.  His dart got stuck in the middle and made a really funny whistling noise…


Ahora, vamos


So they ended up having to use some type of tool to clear the dart out.  However, we all ended up hitting the target from about, ah… three meters away.


“Nice!” (whistle) (claps)


I can only imagine the type of things you get to see in the jungle if you live there.  In just one day, we got to see…

The plant that, at the slightest touch, would completely shrivel wouldn’t come back to normal for 24 hours.

That butterfly with translucent wings.

And that colony of ants that they use to train their kids not to be afraid of insects.

Those soft palm fronds that they use to weave different stuff out of.

The leafcutter ants that we traced back to where they were harvesting the leaves.

That vibrant green grasshopper that Freddy really tried to get us to eat.  “¡Cóme!

And he cut down a palm frond in his own yard just to show us this black tarantula with a deadly bite.

That amazing view, from the top of the ridge, through the jungle, looking through all the palm fronds.

And that plant that Freddy split down the middle so Jeff could have a goofy bird nose. (birdsound) (laughter)

This jungle trip, it was exactly what I wanted.  It was!  (laughter) I don’t act!

Postcard Valet
Episode 12:
The Ecuadorian Jungle

Postcard Valet is a Travel Podcast by Arlo & Oksana Midgett

with special “guest” Jeff Jemison

Big thanks to our guides Freddy y Javier

All footage
© 2010 Arlo Midgett

with photos by
© 2010 Jeff Jemison

y la música:
Tu y Mi Corazón” por Bolívar Ortíz
y “Cascada” por D. García

If you enjoyed watching this, the best thanks you can give us is to show it to someone else!

“…a little ant-”
“Ow! Ant bit my tongue!”
“It’s on your lip, it’s on your lip!”

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