This past week has been a great week for me! Through a friend at the Spanish school, I found another part-time job working at a travel agency called South Expeditions. There is a lady who works in the office doing marketing and planning that is about to go on maternity leave, so they needed someone to replace her for a few months. Since most of their clients are based in the US, they wanted someone with good English skills, which was great for me! The company specializes in adventure tours and all of the tours are customized based off of what the clients want, and let me tell you these are not cheap tours. I started the job on Wednesday, and was talking to the person that I will be replacing and one of the tour guides about their tours in the Galapagos. Since I will be responsible for marketing these tours, they want their employees to experience the tours first-hand, so I’m hoping that I will be able to join one of the Galapagos tours.
The beginning of the week was once again very rainy. However, on Tuesday, I experienced my first actual storm in Ecuador- and this was finally a real storm. Luckily, I was inside my apartment but the sky lit up like fireworks accompanied by thunder so loud that it shook the apartment. Someone posted this picture on facebook from the storm.
With this week being a holiday week, I didn’t have classes on Thursday and Friday. So we left Friday morning for Misahualli in the jungle. I was very excited about going to the jungle but also very nervous because I didn’t know if there would be a lot of snakes and other animals around. Thank goodness, this part of the jungle doesn’t have a lot of snakes, but they do have tons of monkeys. The town is located where Rio Misahualli and Rio Napo join, so there was a little beach area to swim in. The monkeys are very smart and realize that this is where the tourists are, so they love to show off and steal cameras, sunglasses, or anything they can get their little hands on.
It took about 4 hours to get there, so we arrived in time for lunch. After checking into the hostal and eating, we went down to the river and decided to take a boat out for a ride down the river. The boats that they use are very similar to gondolas that you would find in Venice, not in the amazon of Ecuador. Our driver took us to an indigenous village and then back to the town. I was amazed by how beautiful the jungle was, and how green and luscious the vegetation is.
This place truly looks like a pre-programmed computer background, not reality. One thing about the jungle is that it is extremely humid- I felt like I was in Georgia during July. And remember places in Ecuador don’t usually have A/C or heat, so the only thing that can cool you down is the breeze, which was a warm. Of course we used the heat and humidity as an excuse to drink cold beer and eat ice cream constantly. At night on Friday, we decided to go on “The Worm.” This is a kiddy ride that is like a train that takes you around for 15 minutes but only costs $1.50 (even for the Gringos!). We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. The Worm would chase it’s tail and drive in circles- and spinning is always my favorite part of any ride, so I was LOVING this. After chasing it’s tail, The Worm drove down the road swerving, which was even more fun, and then it chased its tail some more. Apparently, in true Ecuador fashion, The Worm can also be used as a taxi so we had to drop some people off at their home during our ride. We decided to get off of The Worm at this restaurant on the other side of the river to have a drink.
When we woke up Saturday morning, no one in the hostal had water. There was no telling when the water was going to come back on, so we spent the majority of the morning finding another hostal to stay at. We ended up finding a great hostal that was off the main square and only $15/night with breakfast included and not only did they have water, but they had hot water! Hostal El Pasiano was so cute and had a nice jungly garden surrounding it, so it felt very secluded.
Once the hostal situation got figured out, I was very antsy to get our day started. I didn’t care what we did, but I just wanted to experience the jungle. We found a guy that gave customized tours, so we decided to do a tour with him for a few hours. The tour consisted of a 30 minute boat ride, hour long walk through the jungle, then about 45 minute tubing/floating down the river, and then a boat ride back to the town. The walk through the jungle was amazing and very muddy. Luckily, we were given boots to wear through the mud. However, there were times that we stepped in mud almost to the top of our boots, but what is a jungle tour without some mud right? We saw tons of different types of trees, spiders, ants and gorgeous vegetation. There was even a vine/branch that you could swing on. Only 2 of us tried this because it required a lot of upper body strength, so I just went for one swing or I would have fallen in the mud.
As soon as our walk through the jungle was over, we were incredibly hot and it was time to tube down the river. The current was pretty fast, so we floated a good ways down the river. This was so relaxing and it was a perfect day outside. I could have stayed on that tube for hours.
Once we got back to Misahualli, a few of us decided to swim in the river, but the current felt like it had the strength of rapids. I decided that I didn’t want to work that hard for a relaxing river swim, so I sat on a big rock that was in the river. I’m sure we looked like those stupid gringos that tried to swim directly to the rock instead of starting upstream and letting the current take us there-oops.
For dinner, we decided to go back across the river to this restaurant that is in the middle of a garden and very serene and peaceful. Of course, after dinner we all wanted to ride The Worm again- I felt like such a kid and think we had more fun than any of the kids.
Sunday morning, we had breakfast and relaxed at the hostal before coming back to Quito. I was exhausted after our weekend, so we didn’t do much after returning home. This week will be a very busy week for me with work because I still have my morning and afternoon classes and also my job at the travel agency- looks like I will be drinking lots of coffee!
Hope everyone had a great Easter weekend! Until next time…