When the Kath is away...
Central and South America - 2005
About Me (2)
Costa Rica (2)
Kath's Confessional (4)
The Weird and the Wonderful (1)
Viva Mexico! (8)
* Gators and Skeeters - Day 2
* Gators and Skeeters - Day 1
* Looking for adventure in Iquitos
* Can someone give me a kick in the arse?
* The Mighty Jungle - Day 7
* The Mighty jungle - Day 6
* The Mighty Jungle - Day 5
* The Mighty Jungle - Day 4
* The Mighty Jungle - Day 3
* The Mighty Jungle - Day 2
* The Mighty Jungle - Day 1
* Preparing for the Jungle
* From the Mountains to the Jungle
* Iīm Hiiiikinī in the Rain... Quilotoa Crater to Chugchilan
* Horsing Around Chugchilan
* Through the Clouds to Chugchilan
* Half the fun is getting there - Saquisili
* A Dog Called Quito (and a city too...)
* Of Showers, Monsters and Monkeys
* Beach Bummers in Puerto Viejo...
July 11, 2005
Gators and Skeeters - Day 1
29 June 05
Our permits went through, so I spent the morning running errands and waiting for the guys to get our gear sorted out. Apparently, Lucho and Juan had misplaced something crucial from every single one of the ownerīs five tents, so they went through some serious reprimanding (in English, so they probably didnīt understand much more than the tone of voice...) while trying to put together two complete sets. I think we managed to get out the door at 1pm...
After another long wait we were finally picked up by the speedboat, and got to meet the "captain" the owner had hired to take care of the boat and stay with it once we were in the jungle. Neither the "captain" nor our other two companions knew much (anything??) about the boat nor its engine, not even how to check the oil... how promising! There was thus another long wait while Juan had to take a taxi back to the hostel, pick up the owner and have him confirm that everything was OK. We finally set off around 3pm, and were clearly not going to make it as far as we had hoped...
We soon got comfortable in the speedboat, lounging on air-mattresses and admiring the view or dozing. The river was wide, although the water was at its lowest of the season, and the banks were dotted with little villages and solitary fisherman families living under simple, wall-less shelters. Made of four stilts covered with plastic or palm leaves, all they contained was a wooden platform serving as bed. A mosquito net and a canoe made up most of the fishermenīs possessions. And I think I am traveling light...
When dusk came our crew didnīt seem very eager to press on (beer oīclock), and only after some insisting on our part did Juan and Captain Canoe (I honestly think thatīs about all he can comfortably manage) agreed to continue to the next village to spend the night. We arrived in a foul smelling trash dump called Requena and were greeted with a sign saying "Welcome to Requena - Ecological City". Having a sign in LA proclaiming "Welcome to Los Angeles - City of Fresh Air" would just be slightly less appropriate.
We set out looking for a hotel for Jevon and I, but most rooms were very expensive and as damp and smelly as the city itself. Running out of options, we decided to stay on the boat with the others, and sat down for a snack at a streetstall with Juan, our hospedaje helper. We ate Juanes - a traditional dish from the jungle - which I can best describe as herbed, sticky rice made into a ball, containing a piece of chicken, a boiled egg and olives. It was yummy and filling and, as it turned out, served by Juanīs ex-mother in law and his amazingly beautiful 14-year-old daughter Carmen. They said they had a spare room with a double bed and mosquito net, and offered it to me for free. Actually, the seņora overcharged us for the Juanes so I didnīt feel bad about accepting and not paying.
Carmen was obviously ordered to take care of me, and kept fuzzing and making sure I was comfortable. She had sprayed perfume all over the bed and floor to make it smell nice. When I went to the "bathroom" she came after to ensure that I didnīt need anything or wanted to wash. She then gave me a chamberpot in case I had to pee during the night, and asked:
-So, are you planning to sleep alone tonight or would you like me to accompany you?
Carmen then put wooden planks inside the back door to guard for intruders, dropped off a blanket and let me go to sleep alone in their strange jungle house - like an oversize shack with gaps between the planks for airflow, where dirty water and foodscraps are thrown straight onto the floor to disappear on their own and the toilet is a seat perched above the river that is also used for drinking water...
Posted by kvabo on July 11, 2005 01:44 PM
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