Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Petey the Drug-sniffing Customs Dog

Nothing is easy to get to in Ecuador. I've returned from the eastern slopes of the Andes mountains where the temperate rain forest meets the Amazon and after 11 days I am wiped out. All told - our "eco"-trip accounted for quite a few miles and many an hour getting from here to there. A round trip plane ride back and forth across the equator, 17 taxis, 10 bus rides (for a total of 28 hours), 2 fantastic boat trips on a raging river and a cliff-side horse back ride up to 8000 feet in the mountains. Once I get some sleep, I'll log the adventures which were spectacular, but right now it's time to sleep in an ant-less bed where a rooster will not wake me up at dawn. This will make sense in time.
One of many (and the largest) waterfalls on the trip. Look closely in the bottom right to spot me.

I will say my return to the states was rewarded with another indignity as I passed through customs/security at Miami International. Typically I get the pat down, the laser scan with the cricket stick or a trip into the Marilyn Monroe air-blast drug sensing machine - all part of a random selection process by homeland security, but this evening as I waited for my baggage a cute Beagle trotted up to me and greeted me with a wet nose and two paws on my hip. "How cute" I thought until the customs agent with "Petey's" leash asked to see inside my bags. Apparently the dog is trained to smell for illicit drugs, bomb materials and handmade wicker baskets from remote Indian villages. As I am neither a drug trafficker or a terrorist, I was quickly dismissed and free to leave with my hand-woven treasures.


  1. niceee... basket trafficker... were you bringing some coca tea back?.jeje... is good.. for the altitude....

  2. i only snuck cecropia seeds, ecuadorian candy, parrot feathers and a rare butterfly through customs.