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Cafe Hood always put on a different film each night that we were in Baños. A huge range of different movies all the time which was really cool.

One of the filming nights we caught the movie “Trinkets and Beads“, which is about the development of oil companies in the Amazon near native lands. The movie did an excellent job at actually showing how the movement of oil companies coming into native tribe areas, where indeginous people have not been disturbed for many years, is having a really bad impact. They draw the comparison to how there has been a similiar impact created as a result of western christian religions entrying these rural remote areas as well. In some cases the relationship between the indeginous and the religious orginations is used to help bring in oil companies. 

The interview with one of the leaders Moi who was trying to unite his tribe in opposition to the oil development in their land was very telling. “It´s not about exploiting oil,” says Moi, “it´s about who controls the rainforest…it´s everyone´s concern because this is the heart of the world…”

I think he has a point.

They really touched on the devastating impacts of bringing roads into these rural areas of the jungle. For example, it encourages more settlement in areas that are meant to be protected, development is not careful about what areas of the rainforest are being cut down, and oil spills are poorly cleaned up. It contaminates the water that they need to survive, the land they use to eat, and the forest they use to live.

Honestly, I think that multinational companies should be required by international law to abide by the same environmental regulations in any country they are developing in as they would in their own home country. Or better yet create international environmental regulations that adhere to a specific standard that doesn´t compromise the environment and human health.

Sure you´ll check out the film and then say that things have changed since that time. But I talked with a friend Carolyn who went out to the Amazon to work at a Jatun Sacha site. She said that the pipelines are placed all along the highway in rural areas. There have been leaks that have blown up entire busses that happen to be driving by at the time of the leak. You´d never have that happen in Canada…a company would be sued and go belly up over the neg. media attention it would receive.

One individual who was living a few miles from a pipeline explosion received third degree burns because he was sitting on his porch. The company (Shell I believe it was) gave the man $10 USD to help compensate him for the “wounds” that he had received. Now Ecuador is cheaper in comparison to the states..but let´s figure this out. If someone got burned in Canada or the US they would be compensated $10, 000 at the very least. So if we take a basic inflation rate of $10 per meal they would be compensated for the price of 1000 meals. Taking that back to Ecuador the average meal costs $3 per meal. Meaning the man should have received more like $3000 USD.

It´s not really right the way that developed countries inflict different rules on countries that have shit governments and where the economies are placed into situations where they become dependant on international trade in order to be more successful or get themselves out of debt. I think it´s tragic and sad. Not really the world that I want to support either. Frankly, I think that if companies are going to move into countries like Ecuador and treat people this way they are no better than the leaders of some of the most corrupt countries that they critisize.

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Originally uploaded by Make Some Noise.

Karin and I arrived in Baños late at night last Thursday. The weather the next day was kinda not so nice but since Karin was kinda sick we decided to chill out that day (personally I was happy to have a down day). We spent part of the day in this chilled out in Cafe Hood a beautiful little vegetarian restaurant. The food and coffee were fabulous, and it was a great place to kick Karin ass at some Backgammon (heh after some serious coaching I might add and plenty of won games on her part).

The next day we walked up the spine of a mountain for the view of the volcano which is ironically right behind Baños. The climb was really steep and beautiful as we got farther and farther away from the city below. Props should go out to Karin for hiking the 3 KM around this route while barely being able to breath. As we were approaching the summit I heard a grumbling sound that I mistook for a truck driving in the value below. Actually it was the volcano itself I later found out from a local gringo who lives in the path of the volcano. It´s pretty amazing how Ecuadorians live so peacefully in this town even though they live only a stone throw away from such a huge active beast. Tragically, it was to cloudy to really get a good look at its beauty. But here is a pic I stole from the internet for your viewing pleasure 😉

Tungurahua Volcano near Banos

Later that night we headed to the thermal baths that are located at the bottom of a waterfall that runs into the town of Baños. I have to admit that I´m a tad bit tainted as they didn´t compare to that of the Hot Springs in the Rockies but were still warm enough to hang out in. It became pretty short lived when it seemed as though the Ecuadorians in the pool seemed to gravitate their splashing towards both Karin and myself. Yes including the life guard at which point we decide to bail. Regardless it was cool to check out and the view of the waterfall was pretty tranquilo. Read the rest of this entry »

Well the Tour De Jatun Sacha has ended (as of last Friday). It was upsetting, weird, and good to have left the camp. I really miss the people that worked there and I also managed to make some new friends just before taking off. There was some cool projects started by some of the volunteers that I hope get finished (like the grey water system and the information book that Nathan was creating). Good luck on the water treatment Nathan you can do it bro!

As for the entire experience..it was rewarding and really made me realize the importance of sustainable agriculture. It was funny because I had actually expected a lot more at the site. Not to say that it was a bad experience to be there, but I was surprised to flush toilets at a farm where water conservation is a serious issue in the summer (staggered showers all the way baby). Overall, I´m still tossing around the idea of permaculture and cob building (like linnaea farms where my cool friend Jamie is learning shitloads!). I think my trip to Australia working on some Wwoofing farms should be a rewarding experience and help me decide what the hell I´m going to do in the future.

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Shark Attack!

(The title is Kiwi for Ït´s my time! It´s my moment!¨)

I took a week off with Carolyn, Teigs, Duncan, Leo, and Alice from work to head to Isabella and Santa Cruz. Wow what an amazing trip!

It would be pretty hard for me to summarize everything, but I have to admit that I´m glad I spent it with these peeps.

After a 3 hour boat ride to Santa Cruz we hung out there for the night. Spent some time walking around and went to the Charles Darwin Research Centre where I swam with a cardboard shark (haahaa). Also, this is the location of poor lonesome george who hasn´t been able to find a mate in years (the last tortouise found on Pinta and there´s now a USD $10 K reward for anyone who finds another tortouise on that island).

I´m really impressed with the work that all the breeding centres have been undertaking. It´s good to know that these organizations are attempting to reverse the destruction of the early settlers made on these islands. After visiting the centre we headed to an amazing beach for an afternoon of relaxation, mud throwing, and swimming. The waves were really huge and there were plenty of surfers out trying to ride the waves.

The next day we headed to Isabella for a few days of adventure and fun, where we stayed in an apartment on another really gorgeous beach. We spent one day heading to Sierra Negro (a 10 km wide active volcano) by horse back. It was pretty funny cause my experience on my Aunty Arlene´s ranch proved useful with the horses. I was the only one out of the group heading up (besides the leaders of teh tour) who could get the horses to start cantering. It was damn funny…and some people had sore butts and legs afterwards.

The next day we headed to the Lava Tunnels off of Isabella. Here we saw penguins, turtles, and stingrays. A turtle swam past me in the ocean and then got a little spooked when I freaked out because it was so close. Later we all came across a HUGE stingray that was at least 5 feet in diameter. Sooo huge….

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