Ecuador Jungle
 

So with little over a week before we needed to hightail it to Peru and the Amazon Basin awaiting us, I decided I really needed to see the High Amazon Rainforest, right at the equator.  Tim´s tooth drama had him visit the dentist another three times for another root canal (3rd, on the same tooth) so we knew we needed to be around for a bit.  But the thought of spending another week in Quito was too much.  The city´s good, but I´m not a city person.  So a quick bit of shopping around landed us on a jungle tour, leaving that night, for the Cuyabeno Reserve.

Now, I´m not much of a tour person, but sometimes it really is the easiest and fastest way to get somewhere, especially if it´s a government reserve that only allows tour operators to take tourists in.  Seeing as we weren´t ready to convert to Shuar Indian, we set ourselves up with the least expensive 5 day tour I could fine. So off we went, an overnight bus to a car with no shocks on a terrible road, to a big canoe with an outboard strapped to the back to the ´lodge´.  It was a very basic room, no electricity, at a place right on the river.  

It was hot.  Cuyabeno is a big reserve of primary rainforest very close to the Columbian border. Think of all those steamy amazon jungle national geographic specials you´ve seen about the exploitation of the indigenous tribes.  That´s where we were.  We spent the days fishing for pirhana, watching the river dolphins and caimans (a cousin to alligators and crocodiles), and we got just too hot, we´d swim in the very muddy "mocha" river by the lodge.  One of the vines made a good swinging rope into the river, a la Tarzan.  We canoed till I was sore, and walked a couple different trails munching on lemon flavored ants and learning the fine art of backpack weaving from palm fronds.  The other couple we were with were Americans and nice enough.  The only thing I didn´t care for was when we went to visit a Shamen from a neighboring Indian settlement.  He is the doctor-pharmacist-spiritual counselor to the Indians, seeing him all dressed up and put on display for the tourists wasn´t my cup of tea. 

We came back from the jungle excited about our forthcoming month in the Peruvian Amazon, more swimming, and lot´s more walking around.  Happily, on our return to Quito, we bumped into those lovely people we´d left at the Bear House in Pucara.  We spent about a day and a half running around with them before we finally, really, all parted ways.

Our 36 hour bus ride to Lima wasn´t as bad as I thought it would be.  Though the bus was nothing special, the bathroom did smell and they stopped only once during the trip for a quick lunch, the AC worked and the bathroom didn´t completely stink.  We did have about 10 hours of accordion music videos played loudly for our enjoyment.  Fortuntaly it was on repeat. 

We made it out of an (expensive) Lima after only one night and tried to surprise Danielle on the plane to Puerto Maldono, but she was sleeping in a corner and ended up surprising us.  So good to see her tired smile on the airport bus.  We´re all mostly just recovering from our trips here, and getting ready to head into the jungle tomorrow.  It looks like it will be a long, slow day and a half boat ride to our first volunteer position, and I´ve just finished two of my books.  But D brought a camera for us! Hopefully we´ll be pictureless no longer!

Okay, it´s hot and I´m not making sense.  Take care everyone....

Still no camera, we´re hoping the other couple we were with will have some pictures.  But I can´t remember if we exchanged emails or not....