Ecuador! Rewind.

Twenty six years ago I started seriously wanting to be an exchange student. I flipped through the catalogs, spent long hours poring over atlases and encyclopedias. Atlases and encyclopedias. Yes. Those are the tools we used to dream about faraway places back then. At about twelve years old I decided I’d go abroad and the…

Film Review: Embrace of the Serpent

It is tempting to write too much about ‘Embrace of the Serpent.’ It’s a gorgeous feast for the eyes, a paradox about knowledge that arises when two alarmingly different perspectives are traced. The film is a result of following these paths along with four characters, two white and one Amer-Indian men.  The fourth and central protagonist is…

Watching Someone Rob a Fountain

A few years ago, my husband and I were sitting at an outdoor cafe in Grand Forks (Minnesota or North Dakota, I can’t remember which side it was). We’d finished eating and were gazing out over the Red River, sipping our drinks. The area was thoughtfully landscaped, and there was a fountain amongst the biking…

Yanachaga Chemillin National Park

I’m excited. I’ve been flitting around the edge of this massive, incredibly dramatic and diverse Peruvian National Park for over a year and never went in. We’ve been passing one of the entrances all this time. I asked Ivan where the park was, and he said, “You know the big bridge just before Isco? We…

Healing Carina

Wildlife conflicts with human interests have been making the news a lot lately. As our world becomes more hot and crowded we’re going to hear these stories frequently. This essay is my short, simple response to this very complicated problem. One I’ll probably revisit. The line is sometimes blurry between intentional cruelty and side effects of populations competing…

Language Doesn’t Come in a Box (but sometimes it’s a good way to get started)

Secoya. Tariana. Pacahuara. Mawayana. These are a few of the hundreds of critically endangered languages in the Amazon Basin. Beneath the layers of trees, water, birdsong, and people paddling, there is a reservoir of knowledge and depth of experience to be found in the thousands of languages there, each representative of unique, enduring cultures. Sharing words…

Yanesha Hands Nurture Cotton Diversity

Text and images by Niki Faller. UNAUTHORIZED USE AND/OR DUPLICATION OF THIS MATERIAL WITHOUT THE EXPRESS AND WRITTEN CONSENT OF THE SITE’S OWNER IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED. Art that occurs in the transitional zone between the Andes mountains and the lowland Amazon Basin is bound by the rivers and heat that mark the place. Ways of life…

Love is an Adventure

As many of you readers may have surmised, this blog is no longer about a singular theme, an expedition down the Amazon, but rather is about many dimensions of the Amazon Basin: culture, landscape, travel, wildlife, media, and so on. In an earlier post I mentioned that in 2012 my husband and I took our…

Film Review: Amazônia Eterna

Amazônia Eterna is different than most footage you’ll see about the region. This is the first Brazilian made documentary about the Amazon that rose to international viewership that I’m aware of, one so successful that you can rent it on YouTube or Amazon.com. The film is a series of case studies narrated by big entities (governments,…

Everyday Object Study

Selection of objects from Palcazu Valley. All images Niki Faller Please support indigenous culture and Hard Light Equator with your purchases here. Don’t see anything you need today? There is a donation box at the bottom of the market page. Yuca and Zungaro Fish lunch   Handspun, Woven Colored Cotton   Coffee Drying   Plant Dyed…

Puerto Mayro and Environs

Puerto Mayro is a frontier town along the Rio Palcazu, at the bottom of the valley. Media recorded May 4, 2016. ©Niki Faller, Rubisco Makes, LLC. 2016. All Hard Light Equator content protected. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without the express and written consent of the site’s owner is expressly prohibited. Excerpts and links…

Water Life in Palcazu Valley

Refreshing and healing, water is metaphor for life and substance of birth and beginnings. Here are a select few photos celebrating our bond and affection for water and it’s fruits, taken between April 29 – May 9 in Palcazu Valley. ©Niki Faller, Rubisco Makes, LLC. 2016. All Hard Light Equator content protected. Unauthorized use and/or duplication…