Amazon Adventure

Trip Start Jul 15, 2004
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Trip End Jul 15, 2005


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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Hello again...

Well from last time I wrote, so much has happened, it is making my head spin just thinking about it. I canīt believe I have been here for only a week and a half and so much has happened and already I have seen so much.

On Thursday our tour group all met and there are just the best people in this group. Four Aussies in total, three English girls, a Canadian couple and a Kiwi. Just two guys in amongst the lot of us. But everyone is good fun and we are having a blast.

The last day in Quito was quite an experience...I joined a couple of the girls, Jackie and Jenny and we went to the old town, to look at some of the churches there. But when we got to the Presidential Palace there were police everywhere...and not just your average police, ones with riot shields, guns, tanks and serious looks on there faces. Now you just know this is the sort of thing that the Foreign Affairs department warns you to stay away from...but curiosity go the better of us and so we had to hang around and find out what was going on. Turns out the el Presidente comes out on his balcony on Thursday lunch time to īmeet the peopleī. On this day, the people were pissed of, and as we stood in the big square, and protest march of different groups of people came into the square. It was very exciting...and peaceful...but it sounds like there is a bit of tension with the current president in Ecuador. We eventually looked at some on the churches...

At night we went to some of the markets and bought some fantastic white cotten blouses and a beautiful jumper.

On Friday our Amazon adventure began. We went to īLa SelvaīLodge, which is a couple of hours out from the town of Coca in the Ecuadorian Amazon. We had a flight from Quito to Coca on a small plane (yes, it took all my courage but little did I know...) on a airline company called Icaro (I suspect named after Icarus and then I am not sure that is such a great role model for a airline!). But the flight was smooth and we flew over the Andes and saw mountains poking out from the clouds. From Coca, we went to the river and a 2 1/2 hour motorised canoe ride down the Napo River. We then got out, and walked for half an hour through the jungle, to another lake, and a 20 minute paddle canoe ride to La Selva Jungle Lodge. We were expecting tents...we got paradise. The lodge was made from Palm and Coconut...we had little huts, with lovely beds, mosquito nets and bathroom. A balcony with a hammock completed the picture. No electricity in the huts, just kerosene lamps. Only the reception area had electricity.

After meeting our guides, our group broke into two and we went for out first jungle trek at 4pm. Our guide was a lovely guy (and a new friend of mine) Ruben, who was the naturalist guide and explained to us just what we were looking at. We also had Efren who was a member of the local community who ran La Selva. Both had eyes like hawks. Our walk started simply enough...some mud (we had to wear charming rubber boots) but we went the Ádeventurous way...and after walking 2 1/2 hours...with the light failing, we found ourselves lost, in a swampy area and I have to admit...I was pretty scared. For a first jungle experience it was intense to say the least. It got bery dark very quickly...and eventually we were found, but it took us nealry 40 minutes more to get back to the lodge. A large drink was had after that...and a very sound nights sleep. I even saw my first tarantula and didnīt bat an eyelid. I know have a new mantra for tough situations I find myself in īI was lost in the Amazon Jungle...and survivedī!

From that, I could have hated it, but I loved the jungle, it was the most incredible experience of my life. Words couldnīt begin to describe the wildlife I saw, the plants and just the whole place. It was wet, muddy, humid...but beautiful. Everything was peaceful, the world had disappeared. The food was wonderful, you forgot about electricity and I even found myself loving the bugs and insects, which I never expected. On sunday we went on a longer trip, to a National Park area and to the Clay licks, which are used by parrots to digest food. The first one was great, the second just blew my mind. In fact, it had occurred to me that I might have actually died and gone to heaven because I felt like I was there. And when we spotted my favourite bird, the endangered Scarlett Macaw, I almost cried! The parrots at the second clay lick is something I donīt think I can ever describe...hundreds flying in this small area, the sound was something else and we were lucky enough to watch it.

Yesterday morning was our trip back to civilisation, and here to Banos...a lovely town, but as we set off on our four hour trip back to Coca, we were all quiet and sad. I could have stayed longer, I want to go back...I want to tell everyone to respect this planet more because you canīt see a place like this without realising that if it all disappeared we would not have a planet at all....I think the spirits of the jungle spoke to me...I could certainly feel them when I was there, I had an energy in me like I had never had before....

Check out the lodge, www.laselvajunglelodge.com , which might give some idea about the place....but would I recommend a trip to the jungle...absolutely...it was worth the flight money I spent getting here all on itīs own....I think I left a piece of my heart behind me in it.....
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