One speed to Tena!

Sunday, December 18, 2011
Misahualli , Napo, Ecuador
An 8 am departure from Arupo Hostel via a packed mini van bound for the Quito's southern bus terminal. Being Sunday morning it only took 30 minutes for the mini van to wind its way through what seem to be the back streets of Quito.

At the ultra modern bus terminal we again had to pay a 20c departure tax. Why couldn’t they incorporate this small charge into the ticket?

While all of our bags were in one pile and some of us were sitting around or very near the bags, someone tried to steal Andrew’s bag (unsuccessful). Can’t never be too careful!

The 9.30 am express bus to Tena had to make a detour via Banos due to slips 2 days ago closing the direct route. This added an extra hour to the journey.

Express bus it was. The driver knew only one speed and it wasn’t slow. He even through some of the towns that he had to pass through where there were road works closing the main streets, tried to use the back streets just to get ahead of the couple of trucks ahead that wouldn’t let him in. Alas to no avail. After a banos (toilet) stop in Banos, we thankfully got to Tena in one piece at 3.30 pm.

Our next bus to Misahualli was scheduled to leave at 4.10 pm. Time to restock at the corner supermarket with 2 litres of bottled water for just US 69c. While the supermarket was air conditioned, it was no use staying inside here as only a few minutes outside one would be sweating again due to the tropical heat. The bus eventually left at 4.30 pm. Yes, it was an older and therefore slower bus. Again it stopped along the way like all public buses do and an hour later we arrived at Misahualli right by the Napo River bank. It was certainly hot and humid with the lush green vegetation reaching right down to the water’s edge. It has been raining heavily and the normal green flowing Napo River was fast flowing with dirty brown water as it was just 5 metres above normal.

Our dug-out canoe was awaiting to take us the short 10 minute ride up river to where Ricardo, our local guide, was waiting to introduce us to Sinchi Sacha, Selva Fuerte, home for the next 3 nights / 2 days.

Carrying ones bags to the top of some 172 steps from the river bank was worth those steps just to see the view facing to the east with the river in the foreground and the green canopy forest stretching for kilometres away into the distance.

The evening darkness quickly descended. The sounds of the frogs and insects galore reminded me of the evening sounds of the Okavango Delta in Botswana. Here it was also interrupted with the hum of the generator away in the distant. With the sun setting at around 6pm every day of the year, the night sky had the planet Venus shining brightly and soon the stars revealed themselves.

In the evening darkness, seeing the lighting strikes in the distance and soon hearing the clap of thunder, no wonder the heavens opened up with a horrendous downpour of rain pelting down onto the corrugated tin roof.
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