On Tera Firma: It's not a Dry Heat

  • High above in the rain forest canopyPavacachi is more a military base than a town. We landed on the runway about 3000' of dirt carved from thick rain forest canopy. A short walk to the water took us past the military garrison of 5. One officer maybe 18 or 19 organizing, controlling and directing 4 enlisted that were probably a year or two younger than he. Uniform restrictions were lax. The only way I knew he was an officer was by his cover (hat) it had Lieutenant bars on it. The rest were wearing tattered shorts or sweat suit bottoms like the Eastern Block Russian mafia are always wearing.

    Quick side bar, the military garrison had apparently 'lost' their foot ball. Prior to arriving in Pavacachi our mission was to find and purchase a replacement. Think about it, if we were going to be rescued or our security was in doubt they would be the first line of rescue. We had a vested interest in their happiness.

    I could easily empathize with the smiles of joy on their faces when they saw the ball, in a previous life I lived in Guantanamo Bay Cuba. After a few words from Mickey, a few 'yeah yeahs, thank you' from them - they immediately began playing with it. Seclusion in the rain forest provides a warped perspective. I didn't understand this exchange at first but looking back. . . I am getting ahead of myself.

    Three families of the Kichwa community share Pavacachi with the military. Technically the families own it and are stewards of the land. They can pretty much do with it as they see fit. They have built a lodge, "housing" for the families, an air strip and HF antenna too. Mostly though there is rain forest, 1000s of acres of it. Flying in, one quickly realizes, if things get sideways, it is going to be LONG while before anyone gets to you. There is a symbiotic relationship between Eco Planet Adventures and the families of Pavacachi too. EPA provides the people and cash resources. The families show us the detail of their land a perspective that you cannot read in National Geographic or watch on the Discovery channel. This rain forest adventure is a once in a life-time experience.

    Back on the ground in Pavacachi, one of the more impressive factors of the rain forest is the heat and the humidity. During the descent from altitude the cockpit went from a pleasant 75 to 100! It was probably only 95F but it felt like 115. The humidity was impressive too. Is it possible for humidity to be 110%? Standing on the runway, I began to have second thoughts. . . "Damn. They weren't kidding about the heat. Better start drinking my electrolytes. . ." Then the kids showed up with the baby monkey.

    Check out the video - here