Published: May 5th 2012May 5th 2012
We were going to be heading into the rainforest on Monday night, taking a short bus to one town, then an overnight bus to a town near the reserve, then a canoe ride there. Unfortunately, we didn't make it that far. We were traveling with one other lady and our guide, and on the first bus, she suddenly realized that the bag she had put in the rack had been stolen when she wasn't looking! So her and the guide go off the bus to look around, with us to continue on and them to catch up at the bus terminal by taxi. They caught up, having had no luck (big surprise), and a cop came to file the police report. He was blaming everyone, left right and centre... He actually asked our guide (really nice guy) 'where are you from?' He told him and the cop started telling him that HE was under suspicion, now, 'because you're from Guayaquil!' ( town on the coast) Not a very nice police officer Finally we got the police report sorted. The other lady (Denise) was pretty shaken up. Still had her camera, toiletries, money, and passport in one bag, but lost all her clothes and her travel journey she'd written in every day while in Peru, Chile, and Ecuador. Still had time to catch the overnight bus, so we decided to soldier on. About an hour into the second bus, I had fallen asleep when I was suddenly woken up by my head slamming into the roof of the bus, smashing my lower back into the arm rest. Turns out the the bus driver drove into a construction hole that he hadn't noticed, because it was dark and he was speeding. Pandemonium ensued, and the bus driver, panicking, kept driving. He eventually stopped after people screamed and swore at him enough, and our guide called the police and a ambulance. A couple people were standing up, so they were pretty well he worst hurt. One lady was bleeding from her head, and possibly had cracked ribs as well, another guy bleeding heavily from his leg, etc. Most people escaped with minor injuries, including us. Kevin was mostly okay, and was our guide. De ise hit her head and hurt her back as well. I hit my lower back pretty hard, and had a bit of whiplash in my neck, so went with a bunch of other people just to get checked out. All okay, just told me to take it easy for a few days and take some painkillers. Just bruised and a little shaken up, no concussion or anything serious. Glad of that... The hospital we went to was on of the oldest in Ecuador, and when I went to use the bathroom, I had to use the staff bathroom... No soap!! Very hygienic, that. No more buses going at that time of night, so we stayed the night where we were, in Latacunga. Amazon rainforest tour officially cancelled. Came back to Banos on Tuesday. Proper tour really does take about five nights, so don't have time anymore this week to go, as we had to be back in Quito by Saturday the latest, as we are going on to the Galapagos Sunday morning. Very disappointed, but what can you do? Third World travel, these things happen. Spent Wednesday relaxing in Banos, mostly, got a massage, went for a walk, that sort of thing. Hung out a but with Denise Nd our guide, and another German lady who was ALSO going to come with us, but had her wallet stolen. Trip was cursed from the beginning, it seems! Both very nice, upbeat ladies. Our guide was also very great. If any of you are ever in Banos, and needing a good guide... Try and find Sixto Perez. Very helpful, knowledgable, good English, etc. Compassionate, too... We were waiting for a bus, and we saw a bunch of puppies crammed into cardboard boxes in the tropical heat, waiting to be loaded onto the bottom of the bus! Awful, but most Ecuadorians wouldn't do anything... He called animal control to get someone to come rescue the puppies! Also, before leaving on our ill fated Amazon adventure, had spent most of the day trying to help the German lady recover her lost wallet. Didn't get any money from that, and lost the money he would have got from our tour, but stayed very positive the whole time. Wednesday and Tuesday, not much happened, as I said. Thursday was loads of fun, though... Mentioned to Sixto that I wanted to see some bats, so he took me to another town about 3.5 hours away (urrgh, waking up early!!) to go spelunking at the Jumandy Caves near Tena. Kevin stayed behind to do some activities nearer to Banos (horseback riding and rappelling down waterfalls), but I had lots of fun on the tour. Not a huge colony in the part of the cave we were in, maybe 100-200 bats, but the ceiling of the cave was very low, so got a really good look! Little fruit bats, at least two species, haven't narrowed it down yet but got some great pictures. So, didn't see the rainforest, but saw some neat bats, there are worse compromises! Came back to Quito today, and are heading to the big artisan market outside Quito tomorrow, in Otavalo, then on to the Galapagos tomorrow! Will try and update my blog tomorrow, but no wifi on the boat, so, otherwise will update on the 13th or so!