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My 11-year old niece and I are friends on Facebook. I found myself turning a brief reply, to her into a fast-forward travelog from our trip last winter, into something longer. So I thought I'd share it, since the longer version may never be done.

Hi, Kailee, we haven't been in Ohio much recently.

The Amazon was wonderful. It was a great vacation.

We lived on a boat, and every day we went to the shore and had adventures in rivers, villages, or the jungle. The boat's name was La Aquamarina,

In the second biggest city we visited - 500,000 people, sort of the size of Pittsburgh, I think - everyone drives motorcycles with little carts behind them, which they call tuk-tuks.

We went fishing for piranha, a fish with lots of teeth that is tiny but dangerous because it usually is around another 100 fish just like it, and they can all attack at once.

We saw pink and grey dolphins.

We visited the homes and had meals with people whose houses are on top of sticks because for half of the year everywhere is flooded with water, and they have to take a canoe to visit the house next door.

The kids there were very friendly.

This is what a large village looks like from the boat that we were living on.

Here is a little store inside an outdoor mall where fisherman sell what they caught earlier that same day, in Lima, Peru's biggest city.

It's always nice to hear from you.

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