>Swinging in the rain.


As I sit in the rain forest, I can see all kinds of natural beauty. There are a lot things that I want to do to help save our environment, but it will take more than just me. I am staying at the Jungle Beach Hostel with people that want to do their part to help the natural world. It is inspiring to see a family, much like I would in the USA, but this family is actually trying to make things better. As un-American as it seems, I would like to see a small shift from the demands of profits to the needs of the people. I have compiled a list of things that I will do when I get home. I hope that you read it and maybe incorporate some of them into your life. Click here.
It rained a lot yesterday and the river turned red. The runoff from the surrounding hills is amazing. Mudslides are not uncommon and roads also serve as tributaries to this river, Rio Macae.
Today we followed the river upstream. It split a few times and the water got clearer. There are numerous waterfalls, spiders, and other animals that I am kind of glad that I didn’t see. 
I got to see more of the landscape by boat. A few of us went white water rafting. The area where we are staying in beautiful. Lush rain forest, charming houses, and exquisite waterfalls are everywhere that we look. The farms that used slash and burn methods a few years ago are in trouble due to the soil erosion. This is the stuff that I saw in my textbooks, but it is something new altogether to see it with my own eyes.
We are 1 km from an amazing town. The town is named for the waterfall that is near by, Cascata. Our hostel is run by an environmentally friendly family. Anthony, the dad, knows which plants to use for medicine, loves to discuss politics, and is desperately trying to encourage thinking about critical issues. The history of the area is amazing. It is set on the Brazilian equivalent of the Freedom Trail in the US. We visited a cave where slaves that had escaped their captors would try and live amongst the indigenous people.
Danielle, Marya, and Aksel getting out of the “slave cave”.
This is the waterfall. Cascata.
Being in a rain forest in Brazil, there are a lot of animals. Most of them are small, but I am constantly on the lookout for something big and dangerous. Here is a leaf cutter ant and caterpillars in different stages.
And the river.
I like this picture because I took it last night. It looks as bright as day. I left my shutter open for 30 seconds with an aperture of 3.5. The moon was very bright.

Our hostel only makes vegetarian food and we have a buffet every meal. I can’t really call it a hostel. It is an escape. The aren’t dorm rooms. You don’t lock anything. It is more like a resort. There is horseback riding, white water rafting, hiking, yoga, meditation, and lots of reading. It has rained every day, but usually only in the afternoon.


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