To the Oriente Frontier
We met our bus driver, Johnny. We have an absolutely new and very comfortable bus.
We head out of Quito.
The bus has a microphone and Cuqui gives us a lot of good information about the different parts of the city,
the mountain ranges in the Andes and the volcanoes Ė some of which are very active. I think this is a picture of Cotopaxi. The highest active volcano in the world just a short drive south from Quito.
The further we get from Quito, the less population and more agriculture. We see more traditionally dressed indigenous people.
We stop for a bathroom break and the gas station store has typical junk food. The public telephone is made by Bellsouth.
Thatís Johnny, our driver on the left.
We continue to drop in altitude.
We see towns that are known for their ice cream or cheap clothing.
We each in the bus take the microphone and announce the quality we will be working with. I choose equanimity. Charlotte chooses openness. We stop for lunch with an indigenous family at their small farm.
The 70+ year old mother of the farmer is really sweet and greets us all. We have a wonderful lunch
and then watch the mother make wool thread.
She was wearing a special hat for mourning as a relative had recently died, but she changed hats to show us a traditional one.
More of the family joined us.
Several try making wool yarn.
This is one yarn thatís not easy to spin.
We then take a short bus ride to go to his workshop where he and two of his children show us weaving. We buy a necklace and belt for our kids. The belt takes 8 days of 6 hours each to make. It costs $25.
Next we meet with the local shaman. It was a dark room. The shamanís wife and daughter were with him.
He had several bouquets of 6 plants. He first spit cologne on the plants and blew smoke on them. Then he brushed the plants on us one at a time as he chanted and blew smoke. He invoked the spirit of the earth and local volcanoes. Later he used an egg with a similar pattern of rubbing the egg all over us with chanting. He was using the egg to draw out and collect negative energy. He then greeted each of us and gave a blessing for a joy filled and healthy journey into the jungle. He also wished for us to come together as a tribe.
Watch and listen to a
We continued to drop down out of the Andes and the vegetation began to change.
Fern plants. Bananas. We followed a river and saw beautiful waterfalls and went through long tunnels.
The road for the last two hours of the trip was unpaved just 10 years ago.
We ended up in a frontier town named Puyo. This is the place where the Achuar and other indigenous people have their organizational headquarters. We left the bus and walked over a hanging bridge to the place we would spend the night.
After dinner we watched a short video about the legend of the Eagle and the Condor. Do you know it? The eagle represents cultures with strong mind. The condor represents cultures with strong heart. Every 500 years the relationship changes between these cultures. In the late 1400ís the eagle began a dominating period, but now things are changing. The eagle and the condor are beginning a period of flying together. We are like an eagle tribe here to visit a condor tribe, but we are shaking off domination and forming a new relationship of respect and learning and understanding.
You can watch a low resolution version of this 15 minute video here:
I had almost skipped dinner as my stomach was quite upset, but as I slept it cleared up. The sounds from in front of our room were from the town. The sounds behind the room were exotic and unusual bird sounds from the night jungle.
Listen to some similar night sounds here:
next Into the Rainforest