Well finally we put a bit of proper order on this yoke. The next bit is about our trip to the jungle! WOOHOO! Well what´s the point of hitting SA without releasing our alter egos Jungle Jim & Safari Susan (aka me). Be prepared for some nasty pics however. (And unfortunatley a bit of a longwinded spiel (however it will defo keep ye going til Jim gets around to writing Galapagos) and it´s drenched in endless enthusiasism & corniness! Sorry)
Quito – Day 3 (A bit of background info)
In order to get to the jungle, we first have to get to a town called Lago Agrio. The part of the jungle we’re heading to is called the Cuyabeno Reserve in the north eastern part of Ecuador – in the Amazon Basin. It’s one of 27 areas of Ecuador that is under protection but the government has still turned a blind eye to the various oil companies that are drilling for oil in this area, so really the area is still in serious danger from oil spills. There is at least one big one a year. booo. Anywho, first to Lago Agrio, where we stay the night and then go meet our Jungle guide the next morning. The bus journey to Lago Agrio is 8 hours normally - but our driver was a crazy loon and we got there in nearly 7 hehe.
We met our chongle guide called Lenin at 10am - he was a small smiley Ecuadorian who knew lots about the chongle and lots about brids and animals. I’d say he was a bit of a loner whilst young and would prefer to be a miniature doctor doolittle! (He was wearing a parrot t shirt for a few days). But he was very nice and his knowledge and personality were great.
We bundled into a small yellow collectivo, and only drove around the corner where we had to get a punctured tyre repaired. Then we started off on our way to Quito airport, where we picked up another Swedish couple. I chatted in the front with the driver & Lenin and made chit chat about Ecuador and whether or not the alligators in the river in the chongle would eat me. He said no. :/ Then we got another puncture.
At the entrance to the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve we hopped into a motorized dugout canoe (pilotted by two native Syona tribespeople) and we started off on our three hour canoe journey down the Cuyabeno River.
The journey was amazing. The river at the start was narrow enough and lots of palm trees, spaghetti trees, and tonnes of other rich greenery trees overhung the river on the way. We spotted Snake birds, woolly monkeys, parrots, yellow-handed titty monkeys, toucans and other stuff along the way. The river got wider the further we went into the jungle, the water got less brown, and the animals got more exotic. At the risk of sounding very cheesy - It was amazing and we loved every minute of it.
We got to our rainforesturs campsite just as it was getting dark. This made our first night in the chongle all the more scary imo. Our "beds" were mattresses surrounded by net which were perched on an open wooden area on stilts. There were no doors or anything but it had a roof. We had to try manouvre ourselves into them in the dark with the krappest torches in the land. It was scary and hilarious. Hiscarious in fact.
So we headed to the ‘kitchen’ area for dinner. All the areas are just wooden floors on stilts with roofs (rooves?)
We were fed a feast (I´ve never been fed better!!!! wink wink)and then there was nothing else to do but go to bed! Meself & Jimbob then headed to our ‘love shack’, covered ourselves in anti mosquito juice and jumped between the zipped areas and scowered the inner area with the torches. When the coast seemed clear of woogies, we sat in the dark listening to the sounds of the chongle. I was scared out of my head. Everything in the jungle squeaks, slithers, glows, clicks, rattles, squawks, forages around, walks underneath the house, and generally acts all schoochily and scary. James fell asleep straight away but I couldn’t for yohnkers and had to stick some tissue in my ears to block out the crazy loud sounds of the chongle. In the middle of the night, it started to rain and it started to drip onto my head while I was half asleep. :P
THE CHONGLE – Day 2 – AKA MY BIRTHDAY
I woke up mega early and just hung around listening to the sounds of the chongle again. It was amazing. Then James gave me a cool original one-of-a-kind jungle birthday card!!
We had a huge breakfast of fruit, yoghurt and granola for our first course at breakfast. Then we had yummy bread things and then fired eggs.
Then into the canoe. We picked up a lady from the Syona tribe who was going to be our guide during our three hour walk in the chongle. We saw a big tarantula, crickets, a small snake, a frog/toad, the trees with medicine stuff. There was schoochies a plenty too. Lots of Application of mosquito stuff, whacking back mosquitoes, tasting tree bark (James tasted citrus ants from a tree and then we tasted grubs – which tasted like nothing). After a while more trek a dekk decking we headed back to the campsite for a bit of a wash. (To wash the ticks, sweat & scoochies off). Jimbob & co went swimming in the brown river but I decided to have an auld shower in jungle rainwater. It was one of the best showers I have had since leaving home – (see picture) (ofthe shower only not me in it). :p
After lunch it was off out in the canoe again to do a small spot of piranha fishing. This was only for a few minutes. I didn’t even get a baited rod. He he. The tribeswoman caught a piranha, we spotted some more birds and animals, (take it for granted that we spot birds and monkeys every time we’re out in the canoe) and then headed to the tribeswoman’s village/house to ultimately see her make some bread out of the yucca plant (like a potatoe).
When we got there though, she told us that they had a baby jaguar in their house. Her son had found him in the jungle in Peru (without his mawm) and had brought him home (by canoe – no customs – mental note people). The little thing was so cute (*see picture) and was still a bit of an animal, as he was stalking the chickens around the garden. Then we were herded into the ‘kitchen’ to see the woman ( I say the woman – but we did all the hard grating work ).
a few knuckles were grated into the mixture (mine & Rolys’).
It was pitch dark when we got into the canoe and we were wondering how the hell the canoe’ists were going to get us home. Lenin got out his ultra powerful torch and started to scan the water and surrounding trees/plants/green stuff like a lighthouse and we chugged our way home.
Before dinner, we donned our scoochie protection suits and our torches. Me & James had the same rainjackets on, the same torches and the sameish caps on. We looked like spas. Couple that with the fact that our torches were purchased in Peru, cost 3 dollars each and were powered by DUVVACELL Batteries and you may begin to understand why I couldn’t stop laughing. That is until a moth flew into my mouth, and bats started to whip by us in the dark.. EEEK. I wasn’t too much of a fan of the night walk –and I’ll tell ye that for F*ck all. Particularly when Lenin brought us down to where we were sleeping and showed us all the tarantulas that come out at night. Cries of “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAR|RRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGH – I’m not f*ckin sleepin here” echoed throughout the jungle, as he showed us one giant tarantula 3 feet from our bed, and various others scattered up on the roof.
After the walk (thankfully it was short enough), we cracked open the 6 beers I had brought for my birthday celebration. Unfortunately nobody wanted to have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet so not much of the beer was drank!! Lol. We had another mammoth dinner of tuna spaghetti and then Lenin brought out some bread rolls covered in warm chocolate sauce for the birthday girl. YeEhaa – it was delicious. Then the group cringely attempted to sing me happy birthday in a variety of different languages. It was gas, I made them stop pretty soon. Bedtime – Terry the Tarantula didn’t bother us, thank god, and it didn’t rain on my face so bedtime was slightly better than last night.
THE CHONGLE – Day 3
Up and atom. It was time for another walk in the jungle. We all reluctantly piled into the canoe and much to our surprise (and delight) we were brought piranha fishing instead. Woohooo. The Swedes caught lots of piranhas and me & jimbob got none. Stefan caught a massive yoke – I think as big as piranhas get tbh. All was lost for the Irish - that is until Jimbob saved the day at the last minute with a gnashing fine catch. We took some pictures of the win (aka me & jim looking like farmers again) below.
Afterwards we chugged along into the flooded forest – which looked like a scene out of Lemony Snicketts imo. The water was black, very still and the tops of trees were creeping out of the water. It was eerie and beautiful. (see pics). This is where the anacondas hang out apparently, but we didn’t see any.
Lunch was a picnic of kidney beans, rice & tuna along with some fizzy pop and huge chunks of watermelon. Then we all had to wee in the forest and get back into the canoe.
We were chaperoned to a different type of forest and off we trekked on our jungle walk again for another 3 hours. The tribeswoman showed us more medicinal trees/herbs/plants and we saw a few more monkeys. We walked and walked and then finally got back to where we bloody started. Our canoeist then brought us back to the lake where we were able to jump into the lake if we liked. Howanever I had only the top of my bikini on and in order to put the bottoms on I would have had to stand up in the rocky canoe, put on the poncho and swap the pants in front of evferyone. So I decided to give it a miss, plus I’m always slightly slow to jump into water that I cannot see through. The Swedish dude jumped in and when he was on his way out of the boat, the jungle guide said “oh is that a tick on him”.. WEHEHHEHELLLLLL am I glad I didn’t jump in, to say the least! :0 ticks!!! What the !!!
So anywhooooo, we canooed back from the lake slowly and on the way back it became pitchy mcpitch black. So once we hit the river jungle Lenin put the hunmoungous torch on and we went a alligator spottin’. We could see the red eyes of the caiman alligators and when we zoomed up a bit close to one of them, he popped into the river.. EEEEKKK. Get the boat out of here capn’!! I was afraid he might try and climb in! eek.
After dinner we we had some agua oriente – which is juice from the sugar cane plant (pure alcohol) mixed with cinnamon, lemon and hot water, had a chit chat and went off to bed. I fell straight asleep as I was pooped, but I did wake up at about 3 or so when the rain was spitting on my head again and I needed to go to the toilet. Sooooo I had to wake up jimbob and ask him to come to the toilet with me and he was noooootttt happy. He was grumpy bear jim and I was a lil scared. But in truth more scared of the woogies and scoochies and animals outside of the tent if I went to the toilet on my own, than grumpy jim´s mood. So we donned ourjackets and our runners and off we went but when we got back to the tent we had zip trouble doing up our sleeping quarters again and I thought jim´s head was going to explode with the anger! He he
The Chongle – Day 4
Well today we were due to get up at 5am and listen to the sounds of the jungle waking up, but it was pissing rain! So we had a bit of a lie in (6.30am) and then went off in our ponchos in the canoe to spot some birds. It was all a bit half hearted imo, but many birds were spotted. Then back for breakfast (minus huevos – uh oh) and it was time for the smelly foursome to have a rain-shower.
We packed our stuff, bought some trinkets from the chongle people and all piled into the canoe for the 3 hour journey back down the river that leads out of the Reserve. Then we had our last supper of spaghetti tuna and piled onto a local bus for the journey back to Lago Agrio.
In Lago Agrio, we ate and then piled onto the night bus for Quito. Not a comfy bus and there was mucho passport checks, but we finally arrived in Quito about 5am.
The jungle was the best experience ever (cheesy American sentamentalism alert). I’m now off to buy an “I survived the jungle” t shirt.
Rosy & Jim.
me & jim
a big tree
jim in the river
the path more travelled
me & jim
reflection of the sun in the river
jim piranha fishing
lenin & the jaguar
lenin, jim & the jaguar
what the toucan looks like in the book
me & jim
stefan the swede
me trying me best
jim eating a sardine
another big tree
jim being a melon, i mean eating.. eating a melon
the tribeswoman makingme a backpack out of reeds
me wearing said backpack