leticia hughes

travel blog & photography



Posted by Leticia Hughes on April 29, 2010 at 9:02 PM

Now I consider myself a fairly adventurous, outgoing lass, however when it comes to the Amazon Jungle and everything that lives in it, I am the world’s worst princess.  It really is my worst nightmare!!!  When we booked into Sani Lodge campsite within the Ecuadorian Amazon Jungle, I honestly thought it would be a great way to “feel the fear and do it anyway” and finally get over my phobia of bloody big bugs and spiders.  You know face it head on and all that crap.  Oh my how I was wrong.


Upon arriving at the campsite I think my exact words to Mazza were “are you having a f**kin laugh – take me to the lodge, there is no way I am camping!!!”  After a full-blown “princess moment including tears”, Mazza (bless his cotton socks) coaxed me into the campsite.  The tents were basic and pitched underneath a wooden and thatched roof structure.  Much to my delight, the bathrooms were miles away – OK 20m down a wooden path.  My next comment to Mazza “I am not going to pee, pooh or shower for 5 days – there is no way I going down there”.  I have this horrendous fear of huge spiders under the toilet and in the shower.  Yes it is pathetic, I know!!!


So after sulking in the tent for a bit, Mazza convinced me to brave the ravenous mosquitoes and we caught the canoe over to the main lodge where I promptly ordered a red wine.  I nearly got the whole bottle as I sat contemplating our return in the dark to the ominous campsite.  After dinner, we made our way to the canoe dock, Leticia of course scanning for creepy crawlies and flinching at every bug and web.  At this point I would have glady taken the bloody hallucinogenic from Bolivia to relax!!!  When we got back to the campsite I nearly hit the roof as the huge bugs and spiders the size of my hand scurried under our feet as we gingerly proceeded up the walkway to our tent.  After a perimeter check by Mazza, I dived into the tent and prepared for my first night of sleeping in the jungle.


Anyone who knows the bush will know that it is of no surprise that the jungle literally comes to life at night.  The noise is completely surreal – the squawking birds, croaking frogs, chirping crickets, noisy monkeys, squirming snakes, splashing cayman and I swear the growling of a big cat.  With the jungle orchestra performing at it’s best, you can imagine how well I slept.  So in the morning, not only was I a princess shit scared, but I was now tired too!!!  Poor Mazza was also exhausted as I had kept him awake with my grabbing of his body parts every time I heard a freaky noise throughout the night.


But it got better.  On day 3 after showing promising signs of adjusting to the jungle, Mazza and I got food poisoning.  So at 3:30am in the morning, I asked Mazza to walk the gauntlet to the bathroom with me to start the cleansing process.  I was pleased for the rain as it meant local resident “Theresa the Tarantula” was hiding in her tree.  After the first cleanse, the water ran out in the bathroom so this meant I had to “off load toxins” on the jungle floor.  At first this worried me, but I got so sick in the end I didn’t care what was in the firing line.  Mazza thought it was hilarious when the “Stinky Turkey” bird started to call out to me as I did a hurl that resembled its call. Stupid bird.  The next morning after I was astounded to find that most of my “cleansing material” was being devoured up by butterflies, toads, frogs, ants and beetles.  Jezz nothing goes to waste in the jungle!!!


So did I “feel the fear and do it anyway”?  Yes.  Did I enjoy the jungle?  It was OK.  Do I now need further therapy?  Yes!!!  I now have a full appreciation for those people who do have a genuine fear.  It is so real and it just sucks.  My advise to those seeking a cure, take small steps rather than trying to run before you can walk.  Maybe I should have got to love centipedes and spiders in NZ before venturing into the Amazon Jungle.  One thing I can confirm is that Mazza has passed the “pre-martial test” with flying colours : ))


Now I will end this blog on a positive note…  prior to our jungle experience, Mazza and I were in paradise – the Galapagos Islands.  This place was just incredible with its volcanic islands, immense wildlife and amazing scenery both above and below the water.  We sailed on a 60ft cat for 7 nights, free dived, hiked, explored, scuba dived and my favourite, swam with sharks, turtles, manta rays and sea lions.  It is by far our best experience in South America and it is most certainly a place we will venture back to.  I feel my time there has also allowed me to reflect on what I really want out of life and there will be some changes when I get home.  I am a free spirit who no longer wants to be trapped in an office tapping away on a computer. Lets just say, the ocean and my photography is calling…


Tomorrow we are heading to Fort Lauderdale in the USA, so it marks the end of our South American journey.  The travel through this part of the world has been so challenging with the language, food, transport and planning however, at the same time it has been so incredibly rewarding.  Our upcoming Caribbean cruise will be our holiday from travel before we start the next stage, which includes Central / North America, UK, Europe and India.


And of course we get married in less than a week…  My very special man and I will make a life long promise to each other on Wednesday.  He has been the most amazing person to travel with and I am so privileged to have met someone who I can grow old with and continue to live life to the max with.  A quote I love is “you don’t marry the person you can live with, but you marry the person you cannot live with out’.  A new chapter is starting in our lives and I have to say, I cannot wait to see what our future holds : ))


I look forward to partying with you all when we return to NZ to celebrate our union and of course our return home.  Trust me, it will be a good one!!!


Sending you lots of love,


Tecia xx


PS:  Just between you and me, the food poisoing has been a great "diet" for the wedding dress!!! 


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Reply Big Jim
10:13 PM on April 29, 2010 
"I am a free spirit who no longer wants to be trapped in an office tapping away on a computer."
Just as long as you keep posting storied and photos... the rest is choice!
Reply Auntie Margie
6:30 AM on May 4, 2010 
Love all your pix and stories of your travels. You are a very brave girl, I admire you so much. You are so much like your mum. I just like to say Congratulations to you and Marc, and hop your special day is everything you dreamed it would be. Best Wishes. Love from Steve and Margie xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox