I still feel like nobody knows what in God´s name I am doing. I have to clear the air really quickly lacking spark and interest...sorry, endure it. So for the last month or so I have been PAYING to volunteer at Amazoonico, an animal rescue center in the Orient region of Ecuador. I heard about the volunteering opportunity from a Paraguayan girl named Suzy while traveling south in Argentina. A seed was planted in the deep, cerebral chasms of gray brain matter inside my skull. It took roughly 110 hours on bus, 5 days and 5 nights, passing through 3 coutries to arrive in Ecuador from Argentina. I am into pain and saving money, so that is what I tell people who ask with grimacing faces "why not just fly???" That multiple bus trip is a story in itself, and I am just now starting to regain feeling in my ass. However, right now there are more important things to discuss. The guy sporting the latest line of mankinis is named Louise. He took me and another volunteer on a sprelunking adventure: we did the cave thing, with bats, enormous arachnids, waterfalls, cliff jumping in terrifying darkness supplemented by the echoing roar of a surging underground river. We only had one day off, and we naturally wanted to stretch our time doing all around kick ass things. That being said, we arrived back at the port where canoes take us back to Amazoonico late, again in complete darkness, no canoe visible in the shafts pouring from our flashlights. Ok, Louise, Mr. Mankini, what do we do now? ask your gringos. His answer (however in smooth Espanol) was this: Walk to a friends house where a trail starts. This trail will take us back to Amazoonico. And this answer was enough, and proved true, however not before his friend and forest ranger Jaime gives us this thing, to carry back with us. It was so small, the staff vet could not determine what it was. This woomb fresh organism survived the 1.5 hour hike back in the dark, through the Amazonian (which I had to do barefoot, my sandals lost function in the mud) and about 5 days after, but sadly lost in the Big Struggle yesterday. He was getting round the clock care, but in the end, he was just too young and fragile. Everyone pour out a bit of milk for my friend, the mystery animal named Casi Nada, which literally means Almost Nothing. Louise, in his depression and lack of will power turned to the bottle and understandably drowned his sorrows while becoming completely trashed. Under normal circumstances, it would have been excusable. The circumstances were not normal, and were these: it was 11am on a Tuesday, in the middle of the workday, drinking heavily and acting lude in front of shocked tourists, and inciting feces throwing contests with free living monkeys. Since he is my good friend, I was put in charge of getting this Ecuadorian sh*t show away from the tourists and locking him in his room to sober up. The task was easy enough with the promise of some juevos revueltos, or fried eggs. Some where in route he decided to lose his pants and fashion his tiny underwear for all to see and giggle at. In all reality, he is a normal well adapted human being who was caught in a weak moment in his love for animals. For these reasons and more, Louise, you are my Ecuadorian hero. Keep on rocking in the free world.
¶ 10:47 AM0 comments
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Fun With Tamarins
Ok, I again have negative time to write this. I ate some naughty peanuts with unclean hands and am now suffering the wrath of my intestines. Life is grand. Entonces (for you spanish speakers), this clip is an 18 second preview of my volunteer life. The animals are real, as is my flamboyant and horrible excuse of a mustache. Mustaches are still the most disgusting thing a man can flaunt, which is why I back them 100%. I employed mine for the intimidation factor, due to the fact that I work with wild and sometimes aggressive animals...just a little bit more intimidating and little bit less cute than the ones in this clip. Peep it. Also worship the IT code that makes this website what it is. http://www.pyratecon.com/ Salud amigos
My goodness that title is attrocious. Aight peeps, I will try and give a quick low down as to what Im doing. I am always on a time crunch when in the town of Tena. This time crunch comes about because to get to Reserva Amazoonico before the suns´ light fails, I have to catch a 2:30pm bus and then a 4pm canoe to get back to my home on the range...range of wild and exotic Amazon wildlife that make post cards all over the world wrinkle and fold in desparate jealousy.
Amazoonico is not a zoo, but a rescue center with about 460 animals whose main goal is to nurse, rehabilitate, and reintroduce these animlas who are mostly pets or confiscated from illegal trade and the black market. That line is around the third statement from my introduction speech which I give on guided tours to locals and foreigners alike. Yes, I, Joseph Greenberg, am a wild life tour guide now...following in the foot steps of the late Steve Irwin, R.I.P. If you find yourself harboring a monkey´s curiosity, the foundations website can be found here: http://amazoonico.org/
Some quick stories to tell after 8 or so days: A wooley monkey named Uspa serisouly serves as my alarm clock at 6:30am. My first day saw the brutal task of bloodgeoning a mouse to death to feed a jaguarundi, and my eyes were the first to behold the 5 hour old baby Spider Monkey. All days generally have me (and others) smelling like a rotten apple short of a dumpster by about 10am, and there is absolutely ZERO electricity on the reserve. There is fresh water from a natural spring that we have access to, there is plumbing, there are biblical like hoards of biting insects, and there is a Tamarin monkey named Chilka who is just about the most adorable thing I have ever seen. Paris Hilton, if you ever come to the reserve, I will sick one of the three ocelots on you. There is no hotwater, and for the first three days, I used a waterfall as a shower, while being spied upon, of course by my animal friend Uspa/Alarm clock. There is so much to update, and I will try to do the best I can with the breif free time I have.
F·%$ing Big DinosaursI left that dirty room full of smoke and computers around 6am, my night stay costing 15 pesos, or 2 pesos per hour of interent use. I slept for maybe an hour and half, being woken up in the middle with a heavy clap on the back from the owner of the cafe, who probably thought I was some great white vagrant lost in the streets of Neuquen. I hit the road in the same dark and the same cold that I found the city in...(interesting to note that I am now writing this entry in the 85% humidity of Ecaudor) heading strait for the bus terminal. On a mission. In search of those things that widen the eyes of most children, that parch the tongues of paleontoligists, that make Joseph Greenberg travel about 3 days out of his way to see. There may be haters out there who would think this trip an unworthy destination, an immature escape...but then again, they cant say that they have known the company of the biggest dinosaur remains in the world. Ladies and gents, damas y caballos, allow me to introduce my quiet but enormous friend, Argentinosaurus Heuiniculus, or a shorter and more personal monicer that I gave him, Daryl the F"%·$ing huge dinosaur. In the pic above, he obviously makes me look miniscule, which is an alarming feat due to the fact I am in ownership of rippling and massive muscles, (and a cranium whose circumfrence which measures over three feet). Standing betwixt his hind legs, I suddenly realized I was just below the biggest anus the world has ever known...and I can count my blessings that Daryl wasnt alive with a functional digestive track waiting to pass. This unfortutely cannot be long, because my volunteer friends Tjitska and Sian are waiting for me. I am in Tena, a city in the Oriente region of Ecuador. I love everyone. Hasta pronto. ps. Daryl was 160 meters long. Do the math in feet, the rest of the world doesnt use that unit of measure.
¶ 10:37 AM2 comments
Read up on the portion of this life which I have chosen to make accessible to you. Or if it is simpler, just give me a jingle and we can shoot the breeze. Either way, forget about the time, what productivity means or anything that might be pressing and get lost in some thought and imagination.
I come from a small town north of Seattle, WA, where I learned that rain is a magical thing because it turns things green. I have had the chance to go a few places and see a few things of which all I have are pictures, memories and stories. I am currently living and learning about Los Angeles, California, and what it means to be an Angelino.