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Crossing the river before summiting 17,500 Pico Austria. Photo by Ella Williams (2016 Fall Semester Photo Contest, 2nd Place), South America Semester.


Hello friends and family,

As I write this update, I am swallowing, stretching and twisting my jaw, and sweating. Can you guess why?

I am fresh (or actually more like the opposite of fresh…it was a long night. Tired and smelly?) off of an overnight bus from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado. The swallowing and jaw movements are attempts to equalize the pressure inside my head – which is still holding some Andean air – with that of the Amazon environment surrounding me now, about 11,000 ft lower. I’m sweating because it’s a bit hotter and lot more humid here.

Ok, I hope you had fun with that. I enjoyed writing it. In plainer language, we hereby send notice to any and all loved ones that for the next 10 days we’ll be hosted by our friends at Fauna Forever in the forest outside of Puerto Maldonado. We cannot know exactly what awaits us there, but we have a good idea thanks to the students’ planning of EXPEDITION PHASE and subsequent dissemination of a cool schedule included in the photo here. Check it out!

One thing we are not expecting to find is as much internet and phone access as we’ve had in the past month or so while in our homestays in Urubamba, for example. We’ll get updates out as much as possible, and we think at least a few updates will be possible. So, stay tuned and wish us the best!