Amazon- Day 1
A 5 hour bus ride, 1 hour minute light aircraft ride and 2 hour canoe ride to our amazon lodge.
The bus ride was broken up with a few stops. First one an hour and a half in we stopped for the toilet in a town which is famous for its icecream. Being 7.30 am me and Laura didn't think we could miss this opportunity so we shared a blackberry one. It tasted like frozen yoghurt and was in our opinion a healthy breakfast!
Continuing on we got to Baños where we had breakfast. It is quite a touristic town because it Neighbours a volcanoe that constantly erupts. Apparently at night you can see the orange color of the lava at the top of the volcanoe. Luckily because of this towns position, it is blocked from the lava but makes for a popular tourist spot. We had breakfast- checked out some humming birds in the nearby park, went into the church and bought some Lollies for the local kids which we will meet in the jungle.
It was then another hour or so before we reached the 'airport' where we took a light aircraft seating exactly 6 into the jungle. The fact that I was first of all weighed before going on the airplane did not calm my nerves- nor the fact that I was seated next to the pilot with a joy stick infront of me. With the little spanish i knew i asked if the notes he had written on the joy stick infront of me were instructions for me- which he found quite funny. I was glad that they werent!!
The hot pilot (sorry nick) distracted me for a moment until we started moving that is. Before I knew it we were in the air. Along with the great views I spent alot of the time checking all the screens infront of me to make sure they were all in the green region and giving the thumbs up to the pilot to check that everything was fine- he found this quite amusing.
The landing was the next concern- a tiny mowed grass runway in the middle of the jungle was our destination. Going down seemingly very fast and close to the trees at the beginning of the runway we landed with a thump and sped our way half way down the runway to a stop. Thank god!!
The pilot was all the more good looking now that we were safely on the ground! We were met by lots of locals some of which were hopping onto the plane for the way back. Don't think they were weighed!
We were also met by the staff who will be looking after us at our waurani lodge. It was seriously hot and humid so we packed on the sunscreen- drunk some homemade lemonade and put our gumboots on. We walked for about 5 minutes through the jungle until we reached the river where our canoe was waiting. It big long wooden canoe, carved out of a tree and we all had a plank of wood and cushion to sit on for the 40 minute canoe ride. For the first part one of the guys steered using a big bamboo stick pushing us along, and later on they used the motor at the back.
Once we reached the lodge we had lunch in the meeting area- put our bags into our separate lodges (2 people per lodge) and then went for a swim in the river. Later on we went for a night hike and saw lots of cool creatures including stacks of Insects, frogs, snakes and glowing eyes of monkeys up in the trees above.
The following day we got up early and took the canoe for bird watching where we saw our first Tucan and lots of other birds! Then we came back for breakfast and hiked to the local village about 2 hours away, learnt about some plant species and there uses and swung on some vines Tarzan style. Once we got there we were so hot that we went straight to the river which is more like a pool because its deep with no current. We swam with the local children, jumped off the river beds and canoe and chased them around. We then had lunch in the community and learnt about a volunteer program that's happening there where the stories and history of the wuarani people is documented by volunteers who get the information from the elders. In the aim that there history will not be lost.
We then headed back to our lodge by canoe. I still was not relaxed about the canoe rides with it sharply rocking from side to side and thinking we were all going to tip in! I must have looked like a total twat leaning to the opposite direction to where the boat was tipping because the locals stood up, sat on the edge and didn't move a muscle or were in the least bit concerned about what I considered a very stressful experience!
The rest of the day was spent chilling out at our lodge, having dinner and going to bed.
Forgetting the exact itinery for every day some activities we took part in were hikes, tasting plants in the jungle, weaving bags out of plants, learning to shoot a blow gun, use spears and tree climbing as well as visiting two more communities. One particular highlight was when we had to get out of the canoe de to a fallen tree and dad stacking it in the mud.
The last community we visited had the sweetest little girl! I don't think she had ever seen herself before because we took photos of her and showed them to her and she was beside her self amazed! Dad and sal helped make a fire using two sticks and we bought some jewellery made by the women in the community. We were suprised to find out that the whole group (about 7 extras) were hitching a ride back towards our campsite. Offering to help one of the ladies who had her hands full with little Vicky and a bag of stuff she handed me Vicky and here I was trekking back through the jungle, through deep mud holding onto a baby. Only me!
Hopping into the canoe with the little one on my lap, she was out cold within a few minutes, and my concern for the unstable canoe tripled now that I was thinking I would have to save this little one should we turn over! Ofcourse we got back safely and I passed her back to her mum, which isn't easy trying to stand up with a baby on a rocking canoe in the river!
The last night was spent in tents about 4 1/2 hours further down the river. This meant that it broke up our last day of travelling with only a couple of hours spent in the boat and the rest visiting a waterfall. We also had to leave extra early because there had been alot of rainfall the days before we arrived and whilst we were there so there were alot of trees and objects in the water blocking our path. Our trip definitely wasn't boring having to climb out of the canoe, balance in fallen trees and wait while the boys tried to manoeuvre the canoe which was trapped on a fallen tree. Good fun.
Our last morning consisted of us getting up- hiking and hour and a half through the jungle to an incredible waterfall. Being In the middle of no where there was no one else there except for two little local boys who decided to come along! We all stood under the waterfall which bloody hurts by the way! And then washed our hair (with biodegradable shampoo). After swimming around there for a while we hiked back to our camp site for breakfast and to head on the canoe for our last time on the water! Thank god!
On the way the boys spotted something in the water- not understanding or seeing what they were pointing to, they turned the canoe around and next thing we knew, one of the boys was in the water diving ontop of what turned out to be a giant guinea pig! And apparently this one was small! Me being quite concerned that they were going to kill it to eat it, the boy siting behind me assured me casually that it was too small- great! Instead they were going to raise it because they said that a dog had damaged its nest and it would die otherwise. Anyway, for the rest of the day we shared a canoe with a giant guinea pig!
We arrived at the 'bridge' where we would be driven to coca airport it fly back to Quito. Whilst I think we were sad it was over, I was glad to be out of that canoe, and back in Quito in a warm shower with no humidity and not smelling of mud and damp!