Thursday, March 23, 2006


Right chuckles. Where was I?

Oh yes. After getting just a wee bit bored of the pikey-carnival-vibe, and being ridiculously over-charged for juice (though not before we had the chance to discover a bit of the music of Julieta Venegas), we hot-coached it out of Atacames, and back to Quito for a night. Then we were up with the larks (we didn’t see any) for a trip into the jungle around Tena with a Glaswegian couple.

This was fun. Boz liked this lots. I was really looking forward to jungle, having not really been to any before, and it didn’t disappoint – even though we didn’t go that far in.

Was nearly a disaster though. We left the rum on the coach. CRISIS!!

“I’ll call the UN, you alert the world media.”

We got over it. Eventually.

We stayed in a funky ol’ shack (and I gotta get back) for the first and last night:

And in a cave in the night in between, sleeping in hammocks. On the evening before we went into the jungle properly, our guide-slash-shaman sort of blessed or cleansed us, so we wouldn’t be made sick by the jungle (it worked). Spent the days travelling through the vegetation, where he showed us traps, what the different trees and plants did, and made us hats out of palms leaves and face paint out of sap. I’m so easily pleased. We saw fruits to have lots of kids, plants to have no kids, and plants to get you on another plane. The shaman dude mixed the mushy sap of a plant with some river water and made us all have a bit. That afternoon was a bit of was out.

Talking of which – when it rains in the jungle it really RAINS. It’s a pretty noisy place anyway, when it gets dark (again really, really dark). There’s a green static buzz in the air of insects and all non-human life. But then when the sky opens masses of water plonks down across the leaves and trees. I’m so glad I went.

All got very I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, when our guide started hacking away at a fallen tree. The air quickly filled with a seriously foul stench, then he started plucking out huge maggot-like larvae. The size of sausages. He popped a few of the smaller ones in his mouth and laughed at us as we whispered ”ohdeargodhe’snotgoingtomakeuseatoneishepleasetellmehe’snot”. We’re saps.

Worth the trip to see D bristle when we reached a hill peak and the guide pointed out a tree and got me to climb up. D wasn’t feeling well, so I was a bit surprised when she rocketed up after me to see the view. It was only when she came down and muttered ”I’ll get up off my death bed if someone tell’s me this is the tree for men to climb…”. Hahahahaha. The view was good though, if a little perilous:

And here’s something to prove that I’m probably better at taking pictures of things close to.

Then what did we do? Ah yes! We went to a nature reserve with monkeys and ocelots and big guinea pig things and more monkeys and toucans and parrots. That was really good. I wish I could find it on t’internet to give you a link, but I can’t. Really I can’t.

Our lovely German volunteer guide was lovely (obviously).

”My English is not so well, but okay enough for this tour, I hope.”

I think he was a bit surprised when I bought most of the shop’s stock of postcards, as it was the first place I’d found that did good ones. Seriously. About fifty percent have arrived here so far.

Back in the world of roads, we headed over to the little town of Zumbahua, for trek around the crater of Lake Quilatoa and the frenetic Saturday morning market. It was in the middle of mountains and amazing countryside. It was nice to see yet another type of terrain.

My god we squeezed some stuff in. I really have only skimmed the surface of all the really enjoyable things we did. But that’s okay. You’ll have months of ‘and one time, in Ecuador…’.

Anyway, after this back to Quito… meal… sadness… airport… back to reality.


Damascus said...

Amazing photos, Boz. Am v jealous - beats a trip to Mikanos any day of the week...

Jim said...

Looks very beautiful. I only managed to get up some mountains for my holiday. Stil good though.

Boz said...

Really though, I need to be getting myself a Flickr account or some such thing...