Saturday, 10 August 2013

Jungle Survival - not navigation

Day 71 - 8 de Agosto: Misahualli to Baños

Although last night wasn't that late, I still could have slept a bit more this morning. Regardless, I woke up just in time to go to breakfast. After that, we had to pack our bags and ship out - our bags that we didn't need for the jungle hike would go on a boat back to our bus, while we would hike a few hours in the jungle to a waterfall. First, they lent us out some gumboots - the trail would be very muddy. I ended up taking the biggest size there (of course) but some people weren't able to get boots their size. We split up into two groups and i was in the group of people who still needed boots. We took a boat a little ways up the river to another little cabin. We were amused while waiting for the bootless people to boot up - there were little puppies here that had most of the group captivated. Finally, now we were ready for the hike. This part of the jungle seemed more pleasant - less hot and humid and despite the guide saying that most of the trees had thorns, i hardly came across any. The only annoyance was the mud, however the boots took care of that fine. We walked for a couple hours before arriving at a little house, belonging to a native of the land. We tried beer made from a common root here (not very good) and painted our faces with berries. As we left this cool house, i came across a drinkable river and filled my bottle. Everyone else was shocked that I was drinking anything but bottled water, however it was the best tasting water in Ecuador. It wasn't too much longer until we came across a village - the one that we'd be coming back to for lunch. We continued through it and into the jungle for 10 or so more minutes before coming across this amazing waterfall and river. The river was a perfect temperature for swimming after that hike, so it didn't take long for me to get in. I was able to sit in the waterfall and jump off rocks into the water. After a while, my walking group took off back to the village for lunch. We came across a problem at this point though. I was at the end of the line with 3 others and we ended up falling behind in the group.  We now had to guess which trails to take back - which is hard in the jungle when everything looks the same. I led us down a trail that looked familiar, however after a while walking, we realized that it was the wrong way. We turned back and eventually found the real one. I was thinking back to all the jungle survival training i had gotten in Brazil and thinking that we were pretty well off if we legitimately were lost. These trails were nothing compared to what i was in, so i wasn't worried. I could tell the rest of them kind of were though. When we finally picked the right trail, we made it back to the small village and reunited with everyone who just realized that we weren't there. I told my group that i trained in jungle survival, not navigation. And hey, we survived, didn't we? The biggest thing in the jungle is keeping a level head - and mine was pretty level. We got a quick lunch, then jumped on the bus to head for Baños. The bus drive was really scenic, but relatively uneventful. It was a long time, so we were happy to make it to our hotel around 6:30. The shower was awesome and we could finally drop our laundry off here! I hadn't done laundry since Sao Paulo, so this was definitely needed. At 8, we went out for dinner. I got to have a lasagna at this restaurant, but they just had vegetarian. It was still really good, and i guess healthy too. The table was a bit weird though - it was like a japanese table with no leg space. Anyway, later on that night we went out to a typical night club here. It had a dance area and a casual bar area. We got a welcome shot at first and it was really cool - it was 3 different colours and on fire! I drank some beers after and actually danced a bit. Kind of dreading waking up so early though.

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