Published: January 14th 2006January 1st 2006
He can even get to the jungle
Hope you have all recovered from the hangovers of new year and everyone enjoyed their christmas, where ever you might be.
When I last wrote I basically had just finished teaching at the schools, however I had two more days at the school where there was a big party for the kids with them meeting santa and getting lots of sweets and toys. Nice way to finish my time. After one last carol in spamish by the kids I was off in the back of a truck to go deep into the Jungle near the colombia border.
Once everything was organised in Baños we set off on the trip. Starting with a 15 hour bus journey to Lago Agrio which means sour lake. This is the last city before the Ecuadorian amazon jungle. After a quick breakfast we took a taxi for about 3 hours to the bridge at the entrance to Cuyabeno national park. From then on it was 2 hours by canoe before we got to the first camp. During the canoe trip we saw lots of different birds and couple of different types of monkeys. However the first animal we met was a
turtle. The turtle was swimming along happily until Marcello plucked the turtle out of the water and then continued to show us the trophy. The other guide said that it was unusual to see that turtle swiming and then he threw the turtle back into the water. The first game of sink or swim and for about 5 minutes it was definitely sink! But then reappeared and started swimming again.
Got to the camp that was located on the laguna grande, which was fun trying to get all the stuff out of the canoe. We then set off for a swim in the lake. We took the canoe to the otherside of the lake and then dived in. Then looked round when swimming to discover another canoe full of people fishing for pirahana.
The second day was the first day we used the canoe without motors, a real Ray Mears experience. We set off after breakfast with fishing rods and Gasolina on board. Gasolina is a type of sweet whiskey from Baños. Good for the motors (paddles)! The day was spent with a little fishing, a bit of canoeing and a bit of drinking. We saw lots of
birds that day including a prehistoric bird which was known as the stinky chicken! Looks like a bit of a punk but has only survived because it smells really bad if you try to cook the.
As far as the days fishing went I only caught a small pirhana and a catfish. Neil had more luck bagging some big pirahana and toucanoury (big yellow and black fish with weird teeth). We ate well that night! However the fishing got off to a bad start with neil loosing the reel in the river and having again to jump the river while me and Marcello were trying to catch pirahana.
The next day was christmas eve and we set of in the canoe to go see the shamen. 5 hours it took to get to the shamens by canoe but again the canoeing was broken up with fishing, spotting wildlife and stopping off in a community. The motors got plenty of gasolina and in good tradition we started the drinking early. Well it was christmas eve. By the time we where about 10 minutes from the Shamens house we got the first proper down poor and got absolutely soaked! That
night was spent chillin with the shamen who was really funny guy and a bit more gasolina to start the celebrations.
Then came christmas day. Still couldnt get my head round a sunny christmas, just too weird. The shamens son came to the house and invited us to come and play football. The rest of the day was spent watching 4 football games and mixing with some of the Indigineos people. I played in thefirst game. It was going alright but we were losing and with about 10 minutes to go we got back to within 2 goals. Then I decided to go for a 50/50 ball with the keeper and got completely taken out. This led to what I thought was a bit of a dead leg with maybe some bruising. However on the journey back from Cuybeno to Quito I found my foot had swollen up and that my leg was totally black and blue.
So after returning from the football myself and neil went through a Shamen ritual. This meant we couldnt eat all day. We took a drink that is called Iowasca which is made from a natural plant and is a hallucinagenic. It
started with the shamen chanting and then we took the drink. The tradition behind the drink is that the Shamen's spirit enters your body and finds out if there is anything wrong with you and then he will go find the plants needed for the medicine. After about 30 minutes, I started to see the images. I saw all different types of animals and plants of the forest. After about an hour I was sick! Which was normal with Iowasca because the drink is used to clean out your stomach and any bad toxins. It was the most surreal experience of my life but really cool because everything felt controlled and relaxed. Een at one point I started talking to the shamn and I thought I could speak fluent spanish. So I didnt need all the lessons in the end just needed to do a shamen ritual to learn spanish. The whole trip lasted for about 4 hours and the next morning I felt like a new person.
The next day we got shown round some of the grounds of the shamens house where he told us about all the different plants and their uses for medicines. Then we
had another 4 hour canoe ride to Aguas Blancas. On this part of the river there is no people or communities. It was only us and the animals except for Ant and Dec round the corner with a few so called celebrities. We spent the time fishing again. This time i managed to catch two toucanoury which turned out to be the biggest fish caught on the trip. Get in there!
Again we ate well on smoked fish that night and camped on a small beach on the river. The next morning we got picked up by the Shamen and set of on the monster Journey back to Quito.
For new year I came back to Baños where there was a massive celebration. Absolutely crazy! Loads of guys dress up as women and then start molesting everyone to try and get money or sweets. They stop the traffic and all the bus drivers seem to get annoyed. This happens all over ecuador. They also make paper mache people and statues that signify something that has happened in the year or just a big character. When midnight came they start burn the lot. The streets were filled with fire
and then they started letting of fireworks in the street. A really fun and crazy night.
I'm just about to start my trip to Peru and should be moving pretty fast through Peru.
Hope everyone is still enjoying their trips and that its not too cold at home
There are more photos below