Tuesday, December 30, 2014

South America Adventure - Part VII - The Jungle

Monday morning, off to the edge of the Amazon near the town of Puyo. We stopped at a bakery for some bread and paid a whole 30 cents. Met up at the tour agency where we got rain boots and ponchos, then we were on the way. I think we were the only Americans - a group of Chileans, some Belorussian girl and her Latin boyfriend (they'd be an odd match to watch), and a Danish couple.

We drove for about two hours and arrived at a monkey sanctuary. It was closed, so we started to move on, but right as we left, they opened up. Here - see some monkeys and other animals.

I don't think I'd seen an anteater before. 

Then we drove to another spot, walked across a crazy bridge and into this little settlement. Parrots and turkeys flying around - one turkey was mean and kept pecking at a girl's jacket.

We tried a yucca root drink (gross) and went into an artisan hut to see some crafts. Some people got their face painted with root dye (that Belorussian girl did for sure).

Then there was a baby alligator. I declined holding it.

There was a long stick that you can put a sharpened feather needle thing into, then blow and shoot at a target. We all had to get up and try. My first attempt was pretty terrible - I blame it on bad lung capacity. Thankfully I got another try and redeemed myself by hitting the target. 

Then we split into groups and hopped into canoes. At first I thought we had to paddle and steer, but thankfully there was a driver.

Being on the river was pretty peaceful, except for the many, many times we almost tipped over, the times we ran into the rocks and our driver had to get out and push, and the time we ran straight into the trees and got scratched up. I was kinda glad to get outta there.

Next up - we drove to another lodge and hiked up a hill. There was also a small bat cave and big snakes.

Belorussian girl (who spoke a bit of Spanish) of course tried everything.

This rope swing was kinda crazy. I was not gonna try it, cause you ended up over nothing. You could swing out and back two times, and then you'd lose momentum and not be able to get back. The guide said he'd catch us, but I was too chicken. Meghan did it though!

We hiked down the hill and our guide played a trick on me and Meghan and made us touch this penis plant. Ha! Then lunch at the lodge - we had soup with potatoes and pasta. Then chicken with salad and yucca.

We were supposed to leave the Dutch couple there for another couple days in the jungle, but they decided to come back to Banos. They told us they'd also hiked volcano Cotopaxi, and it was much more intense than they'd expected or prepared for. I think they were adventured-out.

Last activity of the day was a waterfall hike, and we learned about some medicinal plants along the way.

The waterfall was nice, but pretty cold and rocky. I didn't get in, but some in our group went all out.

We drove back to Banos in the dark - passing on some of those curves probably wasn't safe, but we made it back in one piece. We stopped into one of the many Italian restaurants in town and had a nice dinner.

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