A few years ago I travelled to Ecuador to what would be my first ever encounter with the mighty Amazon Rainforest. Most of you who know me know that I love jungles. It all started with the Jungle Book as a toddler, then Tarzan at primary school, Indiana Jones at middle school, and then I started reading stories about Eldorado during my Spanish classes at high school. I was hooked. I was intrigued. I wanted to be an explorer!
Turns out I ended up working for the British civil service – which was not quite what I had in mind all those years ago – but that didn't stop me from dreaming about my jungle adventures. When we arrived in Tena, Ecuador, my fantasies of living the life of an explorer finally came true. Not only was I about to embark on a steamy jungle trek, but I was also staying in a treehouse overlooking the mighty Amazon River. And so remote was our lodge that the only way to reach it was via a zip line. In your face Tarzan!
When we embarked on our jungle trek I wasn't really sure what to expect. Were there going to be jaguars, snakes or poisonous spiders that would attack me? It turned out that I would indeed be attacked. Not by snakes or jaguars, but by animals I least expected in the jungle – vampire bats.
There was a point during our trek, where the only way forward was to climb up a small rock canyon. It was really narrow and quite dark and I couldn't help but notice some weird chirping noises and a very penetrating smell – Chris was behind me so that ruled him out – so I climbed on until something flew straight in my face. And then another thing. And another ten. All of the sudden we were surrounded.
It turned out that we just awoke some sleeping vampire bats who were none too happy that we'd disturbed their sleep. Problem was that I was stuck between the two canyon walls we were climbing. In fact, the only thing that was holding me up was my bum on one wall and my feet on the other wall. Shielding off attacking bats in that position was a bit of a challenge to say the least, but luckily the bats soon disappeared again. I had always thought that vampire bats live in Transylvania, but it turns out that they actually live in the Amazon.
As vampire bats transmit rabies Chris checked if I had any bites or foam coming out of my mouth (as you do), but in the absence of both we continued our trek. To calm us down our guide thought it would be fun showing us European girls how to look like native jungle princesses – though with hindsight we'd probably just indulged a very disturbed fantasy of his...
So, that was that time I was attacked by vampire bats. Have you ever been attacked by animals during your travels?
We are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between us we are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football or 20th century history. In October 2011 we decided to stop pushing pens around the British civil service to work on human rights issues in Cambodia, and travel around Asia as much as we can.
Get the very best of Wanderlust by signing up to our newsletters, full of travel inspiration, fun quizzes, exciting competitions and exclusive offers.