Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hello Amazon, Where is Tarzan?

While Dana and her Daddy were on their trek in Sangay, I decided to take a little trip to the Amazon. I stayed at Cuyabeno River Lodge located in the Cuyabeno National Park. To get there, I had to take a 9 hour bus ride, which turned out to be 12, to Cuyabeno from Quito. The bus ride was the most painful thing on the planet. I had to pee SO terribly bad when I got to the bus.. the traffic was so bad and the terminal was so far outside of the city that I made it to the bus with 10 minutes to spare, I wasn’t about to ask the driver if I had time to find the bathroom located in the huge terminal.. I figured I’d wait and use the one on the bus. WELL, the bus starts up and is about to back out when I asked the driver’s assistant for the key to the bus bathroom, “No key”. NO KEY?! You have to be joking.. welp, no he wasn’t. We had such an old and crappy bus that the seats hardly went back.. we stopped a million times to pick people up on the side of the road, and I had to wait 4 hours to use the bathroom… I was seriously tempted to try to pee in a bottle once everyone had gone to sleep.. I was going through all of the steps I would have to do so and thinking of any possible issues I may have while attempting such a thing. Luckily, no one was sitting beside of me so I could lounge in a comfy position that didn’t put pressure on my bladder and pray!

The tour agency that booked my 3-night/4-day package for the Amazon adventure told me that there were 3 other fun guys booked for the lodge.. I thought, hey that sounds like fun.. then when I got to the bus and found the guys, they said they were going on a canoe trip, “OH GREAT! I get to be in the middle of the jungle by myself! Fabulous. And I only bought one book. AAGH I can’t believe you guys are leaving me!!” A guy I met in the Galapagos had told me about his Amazon adventure in Peru where he was in a lodge by himself for 4-days and hadn’t brought a book or ipod or anything.. he said it was miserably boring at times! So the bus ride just sucked all around!

Once we arrived, our guide was immediately waiting for us to get off the bus.. they packed us into a motorized canoe and we headed about 15 minutes up the river to our lodge which was magnificent! I couldn’t believe that I was staying in the middle of the jungle in this thatched roof place of goodness! I was thrilled regardless of being alone, but then we met two older ladies that would be staying at the lodge for a couple of days, so I wasn’t too worried anymore.

The first day, we went out in the motorized canoe on a search for pink dolphins in the lagoon…. We didn’t see any, apparently because the water in the river was 7-meters higher than normal, so it would be really difficult to see a lot of the wildlife. I arrived at the very end of rainy season as well, so it started POURING down rain on the way back to the lodge, and continued to beat down for the rest of the night (SORRY about your canoe trip and camping in tents boys! Haha). The raindrops were insane, and the bubbles they made in the river entertained me for a while!

The second day we rowed a canoe up-river for a couple of hours and found a bunch of different monkeys, went piranha fishing (with a lack of luck, apparently AGAIN because of the river height, but I think it was because my guide sucked and he just gave up too easily), we also went into a bunch of smaller rivers which were filled with trees and vines and LOTS and lots of green things!

On the third day, we hiked up into the highlands.. another fail, no animals really. Then, we went on a night hike which was ANOTHER fail, no tarantulas, no snakes, no scary things, we saw some piranhas in the waters, and the back of an armadillo running away from us.

The fourth day was spent around the lowlands for about 3 and a half hours. It was one of the funnest parts of the trip. Our guide had to chop down almost everything in our paths with a machete, so we could get through. We went through black water (which contains electric eels and anacondas) that was up to our belly buttons… it was definitely a bit unnerving, but he hadn’t told us what was in the water until we got out of it (we were in it for at least an hour total) but I KNEW that’s where the Anacondas had to be, so I was looking for them the whole time we were sludging through it all.

All in all, the trip was great. I mainly enjoyed just being amongst all of the trees, birds and monkeys. The coolest animals we saw were definitely the 8-different types of monkeys and the Macaws. We saw the worlds smallest monkeys, black monkeys, red howlers, squirrel monkeys.. and where there was one monkey there were normally about 10 others swinging away through the vines and on the limbs… I was in heaven watching them gallivanting around!

The bus ride back went five thousand times smoother because we used a different bus company, it was non-stop and we didn’t pick-up random people along the scary roads at night.

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