Sunday, May 13, 2007


Saturday morning in Quito started like every morning seems to: cool and damp. By around ten it gets warm enough that you have to change the long sleeve to the short sleeve for the rest of the day.

Apparently my memory was correct, and Quito was a lot spiffier 25 years ago. About 10 years ago it went really downhill, and now it´s on the way back up. But right now we were going downhill from our hotel to the bus station, a kind of slummy affair where we got a bus for Tena and the Amazon.

On the way out of town we finally saw an area that was spiffy and new and suburban and clean, Quito´s upscale address, named (I kid you not) Cumbaya. Past that, we went up, up, up to hit the eastern pass through the Andes and then down, down, down towards the Amazon basin.

Even though this was the main road to that region, it was pretty darn crappy. And although the bus was okay, most of the passengers were short haul. Which meant far too many stops. But none for a bathroom break. Which Maureen didn´t cotton to all that well.

Five hours or so later we were down to about 1000 feet, at the town of Tena, right at the interface of the Andean foothills and the flat Amazon area. As we got off the bus we realized that the tour books had greatly oversold Tena, and instead of being a whitewater rafting and jungle touring paradise it was actually a grimy dump.

And, oh, by the way, it was really hot and humid now that the sun was out. Especially since we´re used to the desert of ABQ.

So we proceeded to pull our luggage through said dump for about a half a mile until we got to the only half decent hotel in town. And by the time we checked in, walked around trying to find edible food, and got hotter and humider, our spirits were none too bright.

Which led to last week´s posting.

On the other hand, once we had eaten and gotten back to the hotel, and had taken a cold shower,and were sitting on the porch overlooking the river, it wasn´t quite so bad.

And the next morning, after taking another shower, we walked around a little municipal jungle park by the river, saving us thetime and the trouble and expense of a formal jungle tour with the mud and the insects, etc.

And then it was time for another shower and a taxi over to the rundown bus terminal and another five hour bus ride through the jungle and up another hill towards our next destination.


At 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is quite a wonederful vicarious adventure for a desk-lubber like myself. I feel a bit in need of a cold shower too. Your descriptions of the conditions jibe quite well with those of Isabel Allende in her current novel Ines of My Soul, wherein she ventures with the 16th century Spanish Conquistadors who travel from Peru to Chile to bring the indians a Christian alternative subjugation to that of the Incas. Any chance you will soon witness a virgin sacrifice that you will share with us? I hear if done right you can expect an improvement in the weather.



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