Posts Tagged With: Amazon rain forest

Day 36/164: Rest Day in Puyo

We had to be at Hosteria reception by 8am for the jungle tour Sue and I had booked. Then Mike from Scotland and Chris from Vancouver decided to come as well. Mike’s wife Katrina had fallen off her bike a couple of days ago and needed to stay behind to get her bike fixed. Chris’s partner Jackie was stuck in her room with gastro!  While we were waiting we found out a number of the other riders now also had gastro and suspected the meal the night before. Hopefully as I still taking medication I won’t get it again, and hopefully theirs will be shorter lived than mine was.

The tour driver turned up, for $50 USA we were doing a full day tour, including:

  • Walk through the jungle looking at plants, flowers and birds
  • Going to a fish growing farm
  • Lunch
  • A canoe trip
  • Walking to a viewing point where you can see the jungle stretching out for as far as the eye can see, plus the opportunity to go on a rope swing from a clift
  • Hand crafts and customs at a local village
  • Pretty good value, especially in the context of having paid $45 USA for the not very good red wine in the restaurant (about 70 NZ).
The tour driver and Chris from Vancover

The tour driver and Chris from Vancover

The first step was to the tour base in town, to get coats and gumboots. Mike bought socks for everyone from a shop across the road as gumboots with no socks is a really good way to get blisters! While we were waiting for him to come back we were watching a procession go past. The tour guide said it’s an annual pilgrimage of an indigenous tribe from the Amazon who celebrate their coming out of the forest in time of drought to Puyo. They walk 16 kilometres during the procession.

Procession in Puyo

Procession in Puyo

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People in the procession

Off we set in the tour van, the first stop was a fish farm. The fish were imported from Africa, they are called Confiscadas de Crianza de Tilapias. They imported 50 fish from Africa, but only 6 of the original 50 remain, the others have died over the years for a number of reasons.

Name of the fish

Name of the fish

There are a number of fish ponds. One where the small fish to feed the bigger fish are produced. The 6 original fish are 6 years old and have only just started laying eggs. They grow to 4 meters and about 80kg, and when fully grown they sell for about $1,500 USA.  The fish are huge, and remind me a big of eels – only wider. They track your reflection on the water and move across the pond following you.

The fish - they grow up to 4 meters long, 89 kilos, and are approx 6 years old here

The fish – they grow up to 4 meters long, 89 kilos, and are approx 6 years old here

Another photo of the fish

Another photo of the fish

Owner of the fish farm

Owner of the fish farm

Back into the van to the next stop: the jungle walk. It was amazing! We got shown various medicinal trees and plants.

About to go on the jungle walk with Sue

About to go on the jungle walk with Sue

Off we go for our rain forest walk (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Off we go for our rain forest walk (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

First was the vines that are used to make poisonous darts. They are boiled and then pounded to get the poison – the indigenous people have an antidote.

The vine that is used to make poisonous arrows

The vine that is used to make poisonous arrows

We were also shown a tree that had sap that is used as an ointment for wounds for infection, a tree that the sap is used for bee stings, a plant that the leaves are used to make a tea for upset stomachs, and a tree that the bark is menthol and is used for chest and sinus infections.

The tree that is cut to get sap that is used for the salve/ ointment for cuts

The tree that is cut to get sap that is used for the salve/ ointment for cuts

The salve from the tree for cuts / infections

The salve from the tree for cuts / infections

Sap from this tree is used for bee and other insect stings

Sap from this tree is used for bee and other insect stings

Leaves to crush up and make a tea infusion for upset stomachs

Leaves to crush up and make a tea infusion for upset stomachs

Tree that bark smells like menthol, used for sinus and cyst infections

Tree that bark smells like menthol, used for sinus and cyst infections

Smells very menthol like (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Smells very menthol like (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

As well as this we saw a tree that the sap is used for painting faces for ceremonies that last up to three days.

Tree with orange pigment used by natives to paint on skin, lasts 2 to 3 days

Tree with orange pigment used by natives to paint on skin, lasts 2 to 3 days

We saw some pretty orchids and got to have face masks from river clay.

Orchid on the jungle tour

Orchid on the jungle tour

Sue and I with river clay masks

Sue and I with river clay masks

Chris, Sue, Mike and Kaye (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Chris, Sue, Mike and Kaye (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

We also went to a waterfall where Chris and Mike had a swim, and saw some recent stone carvings.

Cleaning the mud off (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Cleaning the mud off (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Going for a paddle (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Going for a paddle (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Sue, the guide, Chris (from Vancover) and Mike (from Scotland) at the waterfall

Sue, the guide, Chris (from Vancover) and Mike (from Scotland) at the waterfall

Another view of the waterfall

Another view of the waterfall

Carving in soft rock by waterfall done recently

Carving in soft rock by waterfall done recently

Communing with the spirits (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Communing with the spirits (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Fording streams (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Fording streams (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Lunch was included as part of the tour. It was steamed fish, salad, rice and plantain.

Amazonian Forest Lunch (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Amazonian Forest Lunch (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Fish for lunch (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Fish for lunch (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

We then went to a village of local indigenous people and learnt about some of their customs and saw some of their crafts.

My camera battery had gone flat by this stage so any photos for the rest of the day will need to come from Sue’s blog. (Editor’s note: Just as well I looked at Sue’s blog, as you’ll see below, there are photos of Kaye holding monkeys and parrots, getting her face painted, being near people holding snakes, and having a bunch of other adventures she’s completely failed to even mention here!).

We cross the river to a small community (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

We cross the river to a small community (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Sue, Mike, Chris, and Kaye (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Sue, Mike, Chris, and Kaye (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Kaye with face paint and hat (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Face paint and hat (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

Kaye and the tamarin monkey (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

With a tamarin monkey (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

Kaye and the parrot (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

And with a parrot (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

Outside the large communal building (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Outside the large communal building (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Sue with the latest neck wear (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Sue with the latest neck wear (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Then we went off on the canoe trip. The canoe was a shelled out tree and fitted four people, plus the person steering. It was a bit scary at first as the river was fast moving but it was great fun. The guide said that the wet / rainy season is usually January / February but this year the rain has not stopped. This explains the numerous landslides and fast full rivers.

All aboard (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

All aboard (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

And off we go (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

And off we go (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Look at that surf (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Look at that surf (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

After this we went to a place that you could climb up and get a great view of the forest and rivers, whilst relaxing looking at the view from hammocks. There was a rope swing to go on which was over a huge drop. I started wondering how secure the branch was that the rope was tied to, and after I had thought that I was not able to go on swing.

Climbing up to get the view (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Climbing up to get the view (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

A wonderful hammock interlude to the day (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

A wonderful hammock interlude to the day (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

View from the top (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

View from the top (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

View from the top of the rainforest (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

View from the top of the rainforest (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Sue on the tree swing with a huge drop off (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Sue on the tree swing with a huge drop off (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

A last look out at the view (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

A last look out at the view (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

After that it was time to head back to the place where we were staying. On the way back we could hear the clutch on the tour truck was slipping. It got so bad that we had to get out twice to push the tour truck up the hills. We were still 16 kilometres from where we needed to go but after pushing it twice we had got back to the main road. We left the tour guy there as there was nothing we could do and caught a taxi.

The clutch starts slipping (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

The clutch starts slipping (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

The dinner at the place where we staying on the first night was pretty meagre so a number of people, including me, went elsewhere for dinner.

Six more days riding till the next rest day.

Known as a phone tree, when you are lost you hit the tree and it makes a sound that reverberates and help will come

Known as a phone tree, when you are lost you hit the tree and it makes a sound that reverberates and help will come

Beautiful butterfly on jungle tour, when it was flying the inside of the rings are brilliant blue.

Beautiful butterfly on jungle tour, when it was flying the inside of the rings are brilliant blue.

Place we are staying at - you have to go over a suspension bridge to get to it

Place we are staying at – you have to go over a suspension bridge to get to it

The suspension bridge at place we are staying at

The suspension bridge at place we are staying at

Kaye finds a dog to talk to very quickly (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

Kaye finds a dog to talk to very quickly (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Categories: Ecuador, South American Epic, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Day 35/164: Archidona to Puyo – 86km

2,832 km down: 10,809 km to go. Up 1,280 metres, down 960 metres.

After a nice night in an air conditioned unit I woke up feeling ready to go. It had poured down during the night and I was very pleased that I was not in a tent! I had a dream during the night that there was a snake under my bed and I could not go back to sleep without checking (silly I know but then a lot of fears are silly).

It was pouring down still when we left. I guess that’s why it’s called the Amazon rain forest! The ride was 86 kilometres with rolling hills, and apart from some gearing problems I was riding quite well (I was having trouble shifting between gears).

A rainy day on the road today (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

A rainy day on the road today (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

And the rain keeps coming (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

And the rain keeps coming (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

I was not too worried about the pouring rain as I much prefer that to beating heat any day. I stopped at about 30 kilometres and had coffee, and then because they did not sell any water, for some reason I decided to have a pineapple drink. The next twenty kilometres were good and I was actually ahead of some of the riders. Then at 48 kilometres I got to a 6 kilometre climb. I got 2 kilometres up and started feeling dreadful – I was breathless, lightheaded, dizzy, and could not walk more than 10 steps so decided to sit down.

About 5 minutes later Erin who was the sweep turned up, and suggested I lie down as I looked really pale. My pulse was going flat out and I was thinking “What the heck is wrong with me? It’s not hot and I’m not at altitude!”. I sat there for about another 10 minutes and then decided to see if I could walk the remaining 4 kilometres to the lunch truck.

About 5 minutes after I started walking I started vomiting up the pineapple drink, and then had another bout of gastro. No wonder my body decided it was not interested in biking up the hill. Finally I got to the lunch truck! I was soaked and ironically given that I am lending warm weather gear to a number of riders all the time, I only had an ice break singlet, arm warmers and an emergency blanket (like a huge sheet of aluminium foil but much stronger). So back in the lunch truck again to camp!

We are staying at a place called Hosteria Finca El Pigual. To get to the hosteria you go across a suspension bridge, but the TDA trucks are too big for the bridge. The trucks had to follow a roundabout route that went up slippery gravel roads and through bush to get there.

We have breakfast and dinner included here, plus you can buy food at the bar. After I had had a shower etc I went to the restaurant as I had not had lunch!  Order straight away said the riders in there. Some of them had waited for nearly an hour to get their food. You could not pay at the bar, you had to sign a room docket which then went to the front office, and you had to pay there. The hamburger was very nice, but I had to repeatedly ask before I got the beer I had ordered with it.

The lunch and dinner truck parked at the hotel The finish flag at the Hosteria (Photo credit: Hotel's Facebook page)

The lunch and dinner truck parked at the hotel (Photo credit: Hosteria Finca El Piguel’s Facebook page)

That night we were having a party to celebrate crossing the equator. The theme of the party was Rubik’s Cube where you come dressed in all the different colors of the rubric cube and then the aim is to be dressed in one color by the end by swapping clothes! I went up to the shops to buy some cheap stuff like a hat , ribbons etc to swap.

The meal at the restaurant was between 7:30 to 9pm, and the party after. Mostly the riders are in bed by 730 pm! We all arrived at the restaurant at 7:30 and waited and waited and eventually the food arrived . It was turkey, cold frozen vegetables, and hard chips. A number of people tried to order wine but they had run out after selling about 8 bottles during the day and did not seem to have a lot of interest in getting more. I had got a bottle when I arrived which I shared with a couple of people.

While we were waiting for the party to start, various riders gave up and drifted off to bed. The room where the party was planned was still getting ready, and there was still no wine. We got some wine up the road and got back to find at least the room for the party was open. It was interesting to see various riders dressed up in all different colors, but no one swapped any clothes.

The rubik's party (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

The rubik’s party (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Peter from NZ and I got most of the people up at one stage to do a dancing snake (where you put your hands on the hips of the person in front and dance in a line snaking around the room) (Editor’s note: I think Kaye is talking about a conga line, haha).

A waiter arrived with some wine. I am not sure how much he sold as we had sorted out wine for ourselves by that time. This was about 10pm, and we had been told for over 3 hours the restaurant was going to get more wine! I went off to bed about 11:00pm and drank lots of water to address the not such good quality red wine (vino tinto).

Tomorrow an adventure tour to the Jungle!

Sue and me at the Rubik's party (Photo credit: Sue's blog)

Sue and me at the Rubik’s party (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

Categories: Ecuador, South American Epic | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments