Return to the Modern World
We thought we were going to Kapawi village to the runway we came in on but we end up going a good bit further downstream to a different runway. This runway has a pretty and low hedge all around its edge. Part of it is used for drying clothes.
After waiting there and no airplane appearing,
we learn the planes are actually at Kapawi village. ??? Back in the boats we go and back to Kapawi Village. Now we are in a hurry because the planes are on a tight schedule and could leave without us. They do wait for us. One plane was owned by the Achuar air service.
The other was a chartered plane.
Charlotte and I end up in the chartered plane. The pilots divide us up according to weight. I learn I will be co-pilot.
Up we go.
It’s an old, loud Cessna. I study all the instrumentation and figure out most of it, but there are some unmarked controls that I’m pretty clueless about.
We fly lower than the trip out – under 500 feet.
The second plane bobs and weaves above and around us.
There is a point where the pilot has me steer while he turns around and does something. We survive my piloting without major incident. The pilot has a GPS strapped to his steering column but the GPS navigation instrumentation built into the plane is pretty good too.
I can see if we are drifting to the right or left of course as well as see our miles remaining and our ETA. We made up about 10 minutes by flying faster at the start of the trip and then settled into the normal flying speed. The trip is just under 200 miles.
The terrain is very flat until the last 40 miles when we start entering increasingly bigger hills.
I can see the extremely tall Andes in the far distance. As we get within 25 miles of Shell, I see the first dirt road. At 20 miles, the first paved road. Forest cutting, more buildings and trashed equipment rapidly becomes common. We land at two hangers at different parts on the runway.
Soon Johnny and the bus are there to pick us up. We stop at a small store to grab some snacks and it’s on to Baño. It being Saturday, the place was filled with people enjoying all the outdoor recreational activities here. We found a wonderful café and ate there. I think it was called Casa Hood.
They also had a unique book exchange library where for $1 you could give them a book you have read and take a new (used) one. They also show a free film every day at 4:30pm.
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