Day 61: Waterfalls and Making our way out of the Jungle!

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South America » Ecuador » East » Shiripuno River
June 6th 2013
Published: June 10th 2013
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I have just been told off. “Would you stop looking at facebook and write a blog?!” Its about the 10thtime iv been told so here I am! Blog time! 😊 Thank goodness I have a giant bag of choclate eclair lollies next to me to help get me through!

The last day in the Amazon...

We woke up early this am as the Huaorani's don't understand the meaning of sleep in or even sleep! At about 5am we heard them up and about but managed to doze in our very comfortable tent till about 7am. We both actually slept pretty well despite me naturally being bitten by mossies up and down both arms. This time my legs were safe! Ben naturally got no bites. We were up for breakie at 8am and they had made us an omelette but I settled on granola and yoghurt and Ben had both. We had been told we had a hard hike this morning to a waterfall so naturally I was super excited cos anytime walk and hard are mixed in the same sentence I can hardly sit still! Lets go NOW!! No, we were also looking forward to a swim in the waterfall as we really hadnt showered properly for the last 4 days and were now looking as brown as the Huaorani's but not suntanned – dirty!

Gumboots on, deet on, let go! It was about a 45min hike to the waterfall and was a mix of a lot of up and a lot of slippery down! We had been told that a few months ago 2 ladies – 84 and 86 years old came on this hike and managed it! So that was motivation and I think potentially he was just telling me that to make me do it! But no it wasnt too bad at all. Hard but good training for our upcoming jungle trail to Machu Picchu. We heard water and looked down and still were a long way up and our guide points to the next part of the trail and it was vertical slippery steps for a long way down! I was like OMG these ladies did not do this! But apparently so! We literally climbed down these stairs at snail speed as it was a longgg way to fall if we slipped! We made it down to the waterfall and even though the sun was out and it was a scorching day, the waterfall was shaded and a pretty strong flow of water was streaming out causing a cold wind! As you know I am not a fan of cold water so initially was photographer of the boys getting in the water and washing themselves with something that looked like watered down dishwashing liquid. They all sat under the waterfall as I got pics while dry. Then it was my turn! I was very very slow at getting in. Limb by limb and I am sure and have confirmation that it was extremely painful to watch the process! But I got in, wasnt in long enough to wash cos it was too cold but even stood under and almost got whooshed off the rock under the waterfall, while screaming down the forest! Job done!

The walk back was difficult initially cos it was climbing up the vertical slippery steps we came up but then there was generally more down than up on the way back which I am always ok with! We stopped at a tree (cant remember the name) where Gabriel spent 10mins cutting the bark out of the tree to take back to the family, as they boil it and then drink 1L a day of it to help with bones and sore joints and muscles apparently. We got back to the campsite about 11am and packed up our stuff as it was time to get into the boat and make our way down the river towards Coca. On the way we stopped at another local village but this time we found it a lil awkward as they all sat on one side of the room and us on the other and it felt ike a bit of a staring competition. Then they wanted us to buy more handicrafts which we are already laced with! We think it would have been really good if there had been activities set up for us to do to interact with the families a bit more. Like them show us how they make their handicrafts etc. But Gabriel saved the day and decided to start to make a fire again from scratch to show off and provide us with some entertainment. After 15mins it finally started and they kept it going cos they have fires smoking through the hut all day to keep mossies away. Back to the boat..

We spent the next hour in scorching heat on the boat motoring down the river to 'the bridge'. They had talked to us about 'the bridge' as though it was something incredible. Its where they get gas, dump their rubbish and get supplies from. So its safe to say we expected more than it was. It was a rusted fallen down bridge that had one shop that you couldnt enter cos it was barred up, that you could buy drinks and some snacks from! Its a shame when thats what they have to look forward to. Personally I think their life in the jungle is 1000x better than that! But they get coke so they are happy. Anyway, at this point we got given our lunch in lil bags and said our goodbyes to the Huaorani family we grew to love and admire over the past week. We then jumped in a taxi pick up truck with Hamir for our journey to Coca to get our flight.

It was a horrible journey actually. I felt really sick with the windy roads and the constant smell of gas and fumes coming from the oil companies and trucks and small towns we drove through. It was not a nice area. We drove for about 2 hours to the airport along the road they have now built through the amazon for oil extraction. It has just destroyed what I am sure was once beautiful and is now just disgusting! Thankfully we finally made it to the airport in Coca which was absolutely tiny but we were pleased to hear we were booked on a regular sized plane to quito even though we loved our lil plane and actually would have loved another trip in one. At this point we were tired, hungry, feeling sick, dirty as heck and really needing to get to our next hotel and shower!! We said bye to Hamir who was an excellent guide all the way through, and checked into the airport. We had about an hour wait, so had an icecream and sat watching everybody staring at us probably thinking “why were those 2 rolling around in mud? And what is that smell?!” Once we got on the plane and got given our juice, after not being allowed to look at any pics for the last 4 days, just snapping away cos I forgot the camera charger, we were finally allowed to look at the pics we took! And thankfully there are some really good ones! By the time we got through them all we were descending into Quito with a gorgeous view out our right side!

We got through the airport quickly and out into a cab, as we only had a tiny backpack with us. Our taxi driver was brilliant and got us to our hotel in pretty good time – 1 hour! That bloody new Quito airport – I tell ya what! Its so far from anything. Such a mission! We pulled up to our lil hotel which we had splashed out on for the next 2 nights knowing we were going to need some luxury to recover from our time in the jungle. It was called Casa Joaquin Hotel and it was stunning! A lil boutique hotel, the owners spoke amazing english, the room was cute and it was just lovely. But the best was yet to come...the shower was absolutely sensationally out of this world. I have never ever experienced such a shower! Oh it was incredible! Just what we needed! Both feeling very clean we wandered down the road to where all the restaurants were and just picked the first one that we saw had pizza – quick and easy. And it was fantastic actually! We really enjoyed it. But pretty soon after we were in bed and asleep after a busy but really good 4 days in the jungle!

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