Up early and put on a wet and cold bathing suite (!) then out in the cold (40s) and into the hot pool. Just sit there for about 20 minutes relaxing, then back into the room and get ready, finish packing, put the bags outside the door, and off to breakfast.
Into the bus for a long ride. As we traveled down from 10,000 feet we saw even more snow covered volcanoes. We then entered the cloud forest – no rain but constant moisture. Water became more common and the vegetation more lush. We stopped for a picture at “The Three Marys.” Then we stopped at the first of three gas stations (gas is $2.00 per gallon for premium...). They were fairly clean but you had to provide your own water. The “convenience" store attached had minimal stuff – a couple bags of chips and a candy bar or two.
As we continued we entered the rain forest and land slides became more evident. We passed four or five that had already been cleared, and had to stop for one that had occurred only a couple hours before. The vegetation started to look more and more tropical – vines, broad leaves, palms...
We finally, after four hours on the bus, arrived at the Napo River in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The Napo is the largest tributary of the Amazon River – 200 miles away. We stopped at a beach where there was a car ferry in operation (enough room for six cars) and a flotilla of long, outboard motor canoes. We boarded, having to move benches on the canoes so two people could sit abreast. Then off we went!
About 20 minutes later we came to the lodge de Casa la Suizo. We were shown to our room – a nice little place with screens instead of windows and a ceiling fan. Nice view of the river and a hammock! Temperature about 85 and quite humid. Quite a change from the freezing temperatures in Peru!
About an hour later we boarded the canoes again and sailed down river to a Quechau village. Lots of little kids around trying to give us braided palm bracelets and flowers. After a brief narrated walk (local guide spoke Spanish, and then was translated) where we saw Yucca and Palmetto Palms and were told how they're used (and eaten) we arrived at the village of four houses. The “kitchen” is a wooden box (5x5 feet) with clay on the bottom for the fire, plus a shelf of metal and plastic pots and buckets, and various fruits and vegetables. We were shown how Yucca was prepared for an alcoholic drink – three day... nine day... and fifteen day – all with different levels of alcohol. Tasted OK – kind of lumpy...
We were then given a demonstration of the blow gun usage – shot a toy monkey. I missed... Then back to the river and canoes to the local town. We were given a pottery demonstration (and made), then shown a shop with pottery that was done on a wheel. Then a wood (balsa) carving demonstration followed by a visit to a shop with the carvings and more pottery...
Finally back to the lodge and freshened up a bit, then a buffet dinner. The hotel has no internet access, which is nice in some ways but...
We ate dinner in an open restaurant with the Southern Cross visible in the sky, with the waxing crescent moon. Very pretty. The pool is next to the dinner and during the whole meal bats were flying over the pool looking for bugs.
Finally off to bed. Tomorrow a hike, making a balsa raft, and a raft trip down the river.