Monday, January 11, 2010

Rio Napo-Amazon- Ecuador

Jan 08
Julie was not feeling too well so we took it pretty easy in Old Town Quito. After a breakfast that was less than what I expected (the coffee tasted like ditch water) we called My friend Micaela. Micaela came to meet us with her boyfriend Louis and we took a stroll through the narrow streets and colonial buildings which were overshadowed by massive and intricately decorated cathedrals and churches.

After a coffee stop at a much better place we said good bye to Micaela and Louis and hopped onto the bike for a spin out to the middle of the earth 0´0¨.0 Latitude. There was a monument and a centre line painted at the site where we marveled at the fact the our cerebral fluid was swirrling in a turbulent confluence.

Quito is a large city with a new & modern section and a old historic section. The elevation of the city is at 2800 meters and thus the temperature is quite chilly all the time unless you are in the direct sunlight of the equatoral sun rays.

The next Morning Jan 09 we loaded up the bike and headed over a Mountain range ¨The Cordilleras.¨It was freezing at the summit and there was rain falling which added to the misery. We were heading up and up until finally we crested the mountain top amungst the clouds and mist at a maximum elevation of 4077 meters. We had to stop to don our rain gear as were were getting pretty wet and frozen. There was a little religious monument at the top that we seeked refuge in that provided shelter from the cold and rain while we got our rubber pants and jackets on. Immediately we began our decent along side of a trickling river. The river grew continuously as we decended, being fed by hundreds of tributaries and immense waterfalls. It was quite scenic although we were enveloped in a cloud. Apparently this route is famous for its volcano views, but we saw none.

We stopped for lunch and ordered some food. I got exactly what I wanted for the first time and Julie got a crappy cheese and ham sandwich. We took off out of there worried that the police were going to pursue us after I didn´t stop at a check point. We rounded a corner where a large sign indicated a protected park. We decided to check it out and rode way up a small dirt road which was quite challenging at times. There were several small bridges which I worried would not support the weight of the bike. I thought the road might loop back to the road we were following to Rio Napo, however, it came to a dead end shortly after eluding some vicious dogs. Alas we had to run the gauntlet once again, however, this time the dogs were pooped from their previous run and gave little chase.

At a challeging bridge crossing Julie hopped off and decided that it was time to take a photo and then proceeded to empty her stomach contents. It took quite a while since I traded her most of my fries for her ham and cheese sandwich earlier. The sick little woman was a trooper and hopped on the back of the bike (with her helmet unfastened for emergency removal) and we slowly rode back to asphalt.

We continued to decend to only 400 meters and arrived in a small village called Missahulli. Here there was a very good hostal with the Rio Napo only a short walk away. I went out for supper while Julie sipped on juice to soothe her stomach.

The next morning Julie´s belly was much better and we hired a river canoe to motor us down the powerful river to a jungle refuge and a smaller village. The walk through the jungle was interesting and we enjoyed the humid and hot environment. Surprisingly there were no bugs aside from the occasional butterfly (irrecident anodized blue).

Two fellows from Argentina accompanied us on the River tour named ¨Benjamin & Martin¨. Graciously these fellows gave us all their pictures of the trip as Julie forgot that I forgot to put the memory card back in the camera.

We stopped at a small wildlife refuge (more like a jail for captured wild animals). Here we saw caged wild jungle cats, caged baby crocodiles, giant tortoses who live in the jungle and of course monkeys and toucans that had their wings clipped. It was kind of cruel but for the admission of 2 dollars a head we got to support these enterprizing locals.

Julie seems to be a mother to all monkeys and they readily hop right up and into her arms for a nap. One monkey was so at home that he made another monkey want the same. At one point the second monkey crawled up Julie like a tree trunk and hopped into her other arm and laid down contently. After about 15 minutes Julie began to complain of their weight and wanted me to take one. The Monkeys however did not want any part of me and knowing that one of them needed to go they began to squabble in Julies arms. They began slapping each other with both hands and lightly biting each others arms like a couple of spoiled brats. This was Julies que to let them both down and set them off to run around and swing in the trees.

We all hopped into the boat with Tito as our captain and motored up to another village who´s school was being painted and fixed up by a bunch of overweight white folks. We stayed there a while to observe the Football match (soccer). We noticed that not a single local person, man woman or child was helping what so ever with the school reconstruction or painting etc. Everyone was out side smiling, playing with their kids and playing Football. Apparently they had no desire to sit in a hot classroom and become educated like us white folks wanted them to be. Perhaps they still remember the Conquestadors and village burning in the name of Catholic religion. I don´t know but the soccer game drew alot of people´s attention.

Julie and I crashed early and awoke this morning to torrential rainfall. The rain has not let up and we are deciding wheather or not to venture out of our dry hotel area under cover of corregated tin. The rain is bouncing off the muddy streets more than 30 cm high and the road way looks like a brown river rather than a road. I guess this is what to expect when in the Amazon Basin. Perhaps we´ll don the rain gear and venture out and up 2000 meters to the village of Banos to the west.


  1. Don't get washed away in all the rain! Are you guys taking turns getting sick?? You guys are amazing.....I can't imagine getting back on the bike after ralphing lunch! Feel better soon!

  2. Hope you are feeling well soon Julie, you guys are troopers,keep the adventure coming the pictures and journal are fantastic!!!