Published: November 26th 2009
November 26th 2009
Hello from Tumbes, Peru!
We've had an eventful week in Ecuador.
We started off by going east from Quito to Papallacta, where we carried our packs up a 2.5km road to some thermal baths. We got some choclos (corn on the cob) from an old lady whose choclo stand was also her house and continued on to Baeza.
From Baeza we visited Las Cascadas del San Rafael, the biggest waterfall in Ecuador. It was absolutely amazing! (see photo)
Next we went through Tena to the small jungle town of Misahaullí. There we played with the seemingly innocent capuchin monkeys in the park for a bit. We quickly realized they were not quite so innocent as one stole my camera case. Zack heroically recovered it by grabbing the screaming primate and shaking it. (don´t feel bad, remember who stole what) Unfortunately the case came back with poop smeared all over it. We'd heard monkey poop is infamously stinky, and we concur that it is truely and absolutely disgusting. Later, another monkey jumped on my head while I was sitting on a park bench and stole my sunglasses. When I got them back, it proceded to steal our room
key! The nerve. All items were recovered via a standard mokey chase and, despite the poo, we had a good time with the monkeys.
While in Misahaullí, we also went on a day tour of the jungle. We spent the day riding around in a motor canoe with Gustavo (the guide) and his 11-year-old grandson Mauricio. We panned for gold with some native Quechua people, went on a walk in the jungle, leisurely tubed down the part of the Río Napo, visited an animal rescue place, and watched a Quechuan woman make a ceramic bowl.
We continued on to Baños, an extreme tourist town also famous for thermal baths and extreme sports. We decided to skip all that (and not spend the money) and hiked around the mountainside above the town.
Next we went to Cuenca, the third largest city in Ecuador. We didn't stay in the city much though...we did a day trip to Cajas National Park in the páramo.
I´m jumping in here (zack), emily is doing something with pictures.
the hike in the paramo was incredible. hiking through heavy mist/clouds at 12-13,000 feet. the landscape is patagonia-esque, with innumerable, clear, still lakes
and wetlands and tough grasses covering the sheer and rugged mountains. we hiked through ´paper tree' forests, the highest elevation forest type in the world. a thick, low tangle of unique, guava like trees with a dense, spongy moss floor. a place unlike any other.
anyhow, today we crossed the peruvian border. it was a hectic experience, but all went well. the border in this town (unfortunately), is the dried up bed of a channelized river, full of trash, between two run down and broken sections of town. the bridge is a clash of overpopulated motorbike trailer taxis competing for most reckless, vendors screaming about lottery tickets, mangos, brooms and money exchange, people trying subtly, yet aggresively and awkwardly, to offer you overpriced rides and as always, the occaisional police officer blowing a whistle to encourage everyone to be more hetic.
that is all.
take it easy.
There are more photos below