First impressions of Wimbi
Trip Start Mar 27, 2007
45Trip End Jun 27, 2007
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
We spent three and a half hours standing up on an overcrowded and overheated bus out of Esmeraldas, an hour waiting by the roadside, another hour on an open-sided wooden van, then we got out and crossed over the river in a dugout canoe, waited another 20 minuted for the next bus, which was loaded high with buckets of fish, sacks of rice, planks of wood, oh, and passengers. The bus was about 80 years old and looked like it was about to fall to pieces at any second, but it all the locals cared about was it contained the most excellent, modern, enormous speaker, pumping out loud salsa music for the duration of the journey.
Wendy, the Ecuadorian volunteer who accompanied me on my jungle escapades, had already spent a couple of weeks working in Wimbi
We bumped and chugged though virgen rainforest and deforested land for two hours, stopping first at the amusingly-named Wimbicito ("Little Wimbi") and then continuing over potholes and bridges half-destroyed by landslides. The passengers, who all evidently knew each other, were rather merry, the clearest source of this being the plastic cup which was repeatedly refilled with Frontera, 49% alcohol aguardiente, ("firewater"), and passed around so that everyone had at least a couple of shots.
As the exhausting 8-hour journey drew to an end, I was shattered. The stacks of supplies on the bus were testiment to the fact that the residents were forced to travel several hours on these prehistoric forms of transport just to do a weekly shop. I couldn't help wondering why on earth anyone would choose to live in such a remote area.
Then I realised why.
As the sun was setting, I was finally told "This is Wimbi", and after months of expectation I looked out of the window to see... Paradise.
Wooden houses on stilts rose out of the rich earth, and the crystal clear river wound round the village, bordered by coconut trees. Virgen rainforest surrounded the whole community
After dumping our belongings in our house, Alex, the other volunteer and I, dashed down to the river for a swim and a much-needed wash, and I couldn't stop laughing with delight as we watched bats swooping over our heads and fireflies zipping around on the other bank.
We had an incredible dinner (the first of many) of fried fish and rice and boiled plantain, washed down with delicious guanabana juice. By now I was absolutely convinced I had found Paradise. I crashed into bed, still grinning, and realised how LOUD the jungle is, the birds and crickets and rushing river... it's so alive.