Posts Tagged With: Way up high

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 32/164: Rest Day in Quito

A month since we left Cartagena today! I decided not to weigh myself before I left, as I knew I would not like the result (plus I was worried the scales might say “Only one person at a time”) but I did my measurements, and decided I would re do these measurements each month. Today is the day! So out with the tape measure. And what my clothes have been telling me is confirmed, I have less of me to drag up those hills than I did a month ago 😀
Stomach (fattest part) – down 10 centimetres
Bust down – 4 centimetres
Thighs – down 3 centimetres
Hips – down 7 centimetres
Waist – did not originally measure, but have measured this month.

I went to sleep at 8:30pm last night but did not sleep well. I skyped with Shellbe at 4am and then never got back to sleep. Shellbe is in Bangkok for two more days before she goes to Sri Lanka to volunteer for a month (Editors note: this blog is from 11 August, so Shellbe was well out of Bangkok before the bomb attack). It was good to catch up with her news. I skyped Lizzy yesterday and got to catch up with her and talk to Lucy also. Lizzy was minding Lucy as Kelly was at work. I did not get to talk to Xavier (Jig) as he was at day care. Shellbe told me that when she skyped Lizzy and Lucy, Lizzy asked Lucy where Aunty Shellbe was. Previously Lucy had said Shellbe was in Asia and Gran was in South America. Today she looked at Lizzy like she was a halfwit for asking the question, and said “Aunty Shellbe is in the iPad, with Gran!”.

Today was glue hunting and tourist activity.

The Plan is to go Quito old town, Plaza Grande and the various historic buildings in those. Plus the cable car – Teleferico – which goes up to 4,050 meters. Quito has a population of 2.671 million, and is the second most populated city in Ecuador.

I decided not to have breakfast at the hotel. Sue was feeling a bit better so decided to join me on the tourist tour. First of all we caught a taxi up to the entrance to the Teleferico. Once we got dropped off we had to walk up about 5 minutes to the ticket office. Then waiting in line for a cable car – 6 people per car. The ride up took about 15 minutes and certainly was steep.

Inside the Teleferrico looking down

Inside the Teleferrico looking down

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The cable car going up the hill

Looking down at the city (Photo credit: Sue's blog)

Looking down at the city (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

When we got to the top we had a drink and something to eat, and walked around. Given that we were at 4,050 meters I found walking up any of the steps a challenge. Sue however does not suffer at all from altitude sickness and zoomed up the path (luckily not all the way, as we found out afterwards it went for 5 hours). I found a nice rock in the sun and sat and waited for her to return. There was a man selling small toys and Ecuadorian music which was really good so I bought a CD.

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At the top, view of the city

Volcanoe in distance top of the Teleferrico

Volcano in distance

Sue coming down from the walk

Sue coming down from the walk

Me up at the top

Me up at the top

Another view from Teleferrico cable car

Another view from the cable car

We then went back down again and caught a taxi to Plaza Grande. The traffic was pretty full on and the taxi driver took a number of side streets. Some were quite steep so I ended up feeling a bit carsick.

Plaza Grande Quito (Photo credit: Sue's blog)

Plaza Grande Quito (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

Plaza ground square

Plaza ground square

Policia on horses

Policia on horses

In the square we saw a line of shoe cleaners. There were two small boys, aged about 10, in the square who said for a dollar I could take a photo of them. I declined the offer but appreciated the initiative and gave them both a dollar each (this turned their frowns, when I said no, into delighted smiles).

Shoe shining in Plaza Grande Square

Shoe shining in Plaza Grande Square

View of houses from Plaza Grande Square

View of houses from Plaza Grande Square

We went into Catedral Primada De Quito. The order was founded in 1535 but the original building was demolished in 1545 and this building bulit. It houses an important collection of art, paintings and sculptures, but you are not allowed to take any photos.

catedral Primada de Quito

Catedral Primada de Quito

Policia on segways

Policia on segways

We also saw from the outside, but did not go into, a beautiful church called Basilica Del Voto Nacional.

The church in the background is Basilica Del Voto Nacional

The church in the background is Basilica Del Voto Nacional

Sue was feeling a bit unwell due to the antihistamine so we went back to the hotel. I had a nap, downloaded some photos, and packed my bags again ready to depart the next day. A small group of us went out to the same restaurant as the first night in Quito. My gastronomy seemed better so I had pork spare ribs (yum) and red wine. Some of us never learn!  I went back to the hotel for an early night.

When I got back I saw the white board – Quito to Papallacta: 64 kilometres. This sounded ok but we are already at 2,820 metres, and we would be riding up to 4050 metres (I can’t even climb up steps at 2,820) . I have not been taking altitude sickness medication as I had been told we don’t need it again until Peru!

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