The last couple of days have been spent travelling. On Friday, we got up before 6am so that we could go for an early morning bird watch in the canoe. Then, after breakfast, as torrential rain started, we all piled back into the canoes for the two hour trip to meet the bus that was to take us back to Lago Agrio. By the time we arrived, I had had enough of the canoe as my knees were getting very cramped and my feet were wet. It must have been quite uncomfortable for the taller men.
We had our last ‘boxed’ lunch and then it was on the road again for another two hours. Some of the group were hoping to catch buses to Banos, but I thought they may have problems as I had already researched it and decided it wasn’t feasible without travelling overnight (which I wasn’t comfortable doing).
We arrived back in Lago Agrio at about 2.30pm and I checked into the hotel I had stayed in before. The room was large and clean. However, I didn’t appreciate how much noise an exterior air conditioning unit made overnight and which I could still hear through my ear plugs. The electric shower unit had also been removed, a little detail I failed to notice until I wanted a shower the next morning. It was a refreshing start to the day!
Once I had settled in and relaxed for a while, I went in search of food and found Alan and Lucy (the English couple) and Maxim and Katerine (the Germans) parked in the hotel cafe next door. They had decided to take the overnight bus to Banos and had 7 hours to wait. I made some food purchases and came back and chatted to them for quite some time before going off to bed.
On Saturday, I was awake early so decided to leave as I had had enough of the noise in my room. After a basic breakfast at the hotel cafe, I caught a taxi to the Terminal Terrestre or bus station (once I had made the driver understand where I wanted to go) and then a bus to Coca. I was heading for Tena but couldn’t go directly.
The first stage took a couple of hours and the next one about four. It was overcast and raining almost the entire way. The second bus was very much a local one and stopped and started at random places along the way, whenever anyone wanted to get on or off. There are some bus stops but people appear to disregard them. There was the usual assortment of luggage put in the compartment underneath the bus and, of course, the conductor had to drum up custom along the way.
When I arrived in Tena, the rain was torrential so I got quite wet just walking from the bus to the terminal building. As I had to wait, I decided to get some street food, which was a bit risky, given that my stomach had been a little dodgy for the last couple of days. At the point I noticed the chicken was raw, I stopped eating and fed it to the scavenging dogs!
A taxi took me up the hill to the hostel I had booked. It had a lovely view of the rain clouds hovering over the mountain tops and the town itself.
As the rain had actually stopped, I walked back down into town, following some locals along a fairly wet and muddy shortcut and then had a short wander around. After finding the supermarket and purchasing some supplies, I returned to the hostel and spent the rest of the evening doing very little.