Here’s an idea that doesn’t get nearly enough consideration in the development community: poor countries are poor because they’re hot. Okay, I’m not going to try even a half-assed defense of that statement. I’m pretty sure there’s no shortage of peer-reviewed articles that disprove the climate-development link, and that if I thought for four seconds… Continue reading Heat
I’ve often wondered whether people who live their entire lives in places with really fantastic National-Geographic-esque animals still get excited when they see them. Are elephants still cool if you live in Kenya? And are squirrel monkeys equally entertaining for Amazonians as they are for me, or are they just like, well, squirrels? For their… Continue reading On the Need for a Huaorani A.L.F.
I don’t speak a word of Huaorani. I didn’t speak a word of Huaorani before I went into Huaorani territory, and despite five days of the guides trying to teach me a few basic phrases, I still don’t speak a word of Huaorani. (It’s a reminder that, although I have managed to learn enough Spanish… Continue reading Huaoranglish
One of the highlights of my five day romp in Huaorani territory was that I didn’t just get to spend time with my guides, but their entire families. Transport in and out of these remote villages is expensive, so when a gringo is travelling around, everyone takes advantage of the free lift. Among our passengers… Continue reading Pinnacle of Evolution
This weekend, I was the future of the Huaorani nation. This may sound like a rather strong and paternalistic statement coming from a non-Huaorani, but I’m pretty sure the four Huaorani guides with which I travelled this weekend would agree. Indeed, ask almost anyone in the Ecuadorian Amazon what they will live off of if… Continue reading Ecotourism Will Save Us All!
To my shock, there is a vegetarian restaurant here in Coca. This is very, very good news, as I have reached the point where the prospect of another plate of rice and beans is borderline soul-crushing. And to think, it was all of three blocks away from my hotel this entire time! It is fitting… Continue reading Radio Silence
I rarely have to ask more than a handful of questions in my interviews here: as soon as I mention “oil” and “Amazon” in the same sentence, people here can go on for hours. It’s better that way, of course, since it allows me to stick to a few Spanish paragraphs of explanation of my… Continue reading Location, Location, Location