Last Days in the Amazon

Trip Start Dec 29, 2012
Trip End Aug 15, 2013

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Flag of Ecuador  , Orellana,
Thursday, January 24, 2013

We took an earlier morning hike on our second last day in the Amazon.   It was a hard uphill hike that led to a fabulous viewpoint.  We ate breakfast afterwards and then headed out to another Huaorani village.  This time, there were people greeting us with the traditional face paint from a fruit, achiote.  The women, meaning Nicole and I, had a red mask painted around our eyes, while the men and boys got half circle shapes on their cheeks.  The women then led a dance of sorts, with chanting and moving back and forth.  We bought a few necklaces and bracelets from the people of this village.  Caleb almost became betrothed to an eleven year old girl who seemed to like him.  Apparently weddings can happen on the spot once a boy and girl show interest in one another!  The young lady who made my decoration gave each of us a woven bracelet when we showed interest in her work.  Caleb and Aiden both recognized her kindness.  We ate lunch here and then continued onto our camp spot downriver.  

 The camping was luxurious compared to what we are used to!  We had real mattresses and sheets in huge tents, flush toilets and tables to eat at.  In fact, the only real difference between this spot and the lodge was the fact that everything was more or less MORE "open-air" than the lodge, even though the lodge was very airy and open. The boys proceeded to fish for most of the evening and a campfire was heartily attempted despite the hard rain for most of the day today.  The river level rose very high and the next day we were told that our canoe had actually floated downstream, but one of the Huaorani noticed and had to run to the closest village, borrow a little canoe and retrieve our large one, thirty minutes away.  I am glad he caught it early enough before it flipped over!

We went for a morning hike to a beautiful waterfall.  The hill was steep, straight up and I thank Ignasio for making me a walking stick!  Once at the top of the hill, there were steep stairs that were built into the soil.  We carefully made our way down to a magical spot.   The boys jumped into the cold water and we played for a while before making our way back to the camp site.  We visited one more village on our way out of Huaorani territory.  This village actually guards the territory at the riveredge where it starts.  We saw them make fire out of sticks and cotton from the Kapok tree.  I bought a little palm ornament here, as my plan was to buy a little something from each village we went to.  We continued our way on the river, passing through Shuar territory.  The Shuar have been enemies of the Huaorani since their time began and even now, there are instances of Shuar coming onto Huaorani lands.  The Shuar people are best known for the way they shrink the heads of their dead enemies.  They are now an agriculture society and much of the forest around them has been cleared for crops they sell.

 We traveled on, coming to a bridge, simply known as "The Bridge" to the people.  We got out of our canoe and had a packed lunch and bought snacks at a little store while our dugout was loaded up with supplies that were brought by road.  We traveled by taxi truck to the small city of Coca on what is known as the Texaco road.  Essentially, it's a road built by the oil companies to all their drills and whatever else they use to get oil.  There the Amazon has been cleared and people live in shanty towns that several oil pipes travel through.  The forest here, although still green, is sparse.  The indigenous people that are lured to work for the oil companies are drawn away from the forest life they have known and alcoholism and prostitution along "Texaco" road is abundant.

Once we arrived in Coca, we took a short flight back to Quito and our wonderful room at Casona de la Ronda

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Lisa on

WOW.... absolutely WOW!
Did I mention before your pictures are PRICELESS!

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