Sunday, December 29, 2013

Arriving in the Amazon

Today was a very long day. Last night, the band in our plaza played until 2:15. The hotel is not insulated for that kind of loudness, so sleep was nearly impossible until they finished. At least, we liked the Ecuadorian Rock and Roll. We were up at 5:00 to catch our taxi to the airport. We had to be there by 8:15 and wanted plenty of time to beat any traffic problems. We won that race in spades. The driver took the new road of which our previous driver had nary a clue. So we arrived at the airport before 7:00. Then our flight was delayed until 11:50 so we got to spend several hours in the airport. Fortunately, Quito’s new airport is well-appointed and comfortable. The flight was anything but comfortable. Our seats were in the back of the plane and while the flight was only 40 minutes, it was the roughest we have been on in ages.
Downtown Coca
Our Canoe Awaits
We arrived in Coca where we got on a bus for a short ride to the Napo River. The Napo, one of the Amazon’s major tributaries is wider than the Columbia or Mississippi for most of the 15 miles we traveled it in our motorized canoe. Coca is the capital of this province and the hub for the oil exploitation that is happening in this region. Our ride took us past on of their sites. Sadly, they are still burning off the natural gas instead of using it in Ecuador. Ecuador actually imports natural gas which is frustrating for the Ecuadorians who know how much is being wasted. Hopefully the government will change this behavior in the next few years. Oil companies do have a lot of power however, something we are well aware of in the US.

Coca Bridge over the Napo River

An oil company barge. Everything travels by water.
After two hours on the canoe, we landed and walked about 15 minutes where we got into another canoe, this one a dugout. It came with a paddler instead of an engine.  Another 15 minutes and we were at the lodge where we were greeted with a cold drink and a presentation on the lodge and its amenities. By this time I had already seen five new birds. 

The view from our dock
Evening falls after a long day

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