orning came to soon and I'd not gotten a lot of sleep. We also would be missing breakfast because we were leaving too early img_0187 so I went out to find Internet and some emergency food and water for the bus ride. The Internet cafes were closed but I did find an assortment of rolls and water for the trip. We left anyway. The way I figured it we could go to Tena and either find Internet there or just rent a hostel and stay the night. Having gotten down the straight armed hand shake I hailed a taxi. He took a really round about way to the bus station which alarmed me for a second. His response to my pointing to the map was “No problema”. We rounded the corner and I saw the great statue on the hill and knew I was near the terminal. He pointed to the traffic going the other way and I understood. We arrived at the station 30 minutes early and headed for the shady restaurant on the bottom floor. We bought various types of chicken and a sandwich and headed for our gate. On the way the guy that sold us our ticket yelled at us and exchanged our ticket for a different one on a different bus company. I don't know why and couldn't ask because of the language barrier. He told us which lane to stand in and which bus number so we waited. When it pulled in we got on and waited another 30 minutes before it pulled out. During that 30 minutes he boarded the bus to tell us not to put our bags in the overhead racks and to hold them. Later in the trip I noticed that everyone else was holding theirs as well. Crime is rampant here. I sat on the side of the bus there our luggage was so I could see if anyone was trying to steal them which they didn't.

The roads around Quito are a mess and it took us 1 hour just to get out of the city. Most of the outer edges of Quito are these little concrete block houses with corrugated metal roofs of very poor people. Once we get a little ways away we crested a hill and we saw what looked like Beverly hills with nice villas and such. Obviously the rich live in the suburbs.

I've heard great things about this ride over to Papillacta Falls and our jungle excursion started out as just and excuse to take this trip. I'm glad we did as the Andes are beautiful mountains and greener than any that I've seen in North America. Our bus climbed through strange looking forests, high cliffs with amazing waterfalls, and finally entered the clouds. Visibility was about 30 feet or so. At the crest there was another bus heading for Quito stopped on the road. They were changing a tire. I'd noticed when we were in the bus terminal that

all buses had two spare tires on the roof. The fact that the other bus got a flat told me a bit about the upcoming road. The pavement changed to dirt, rocks and mud for about the next 3 hours. The bus would swerve toward the 200 foot drop to avoid potholes, take the outside line around curves and bomb down hills so it could maintain it's speed. We got to one place where the mud was really deep and we thought we were going to get stuck then we came upon another bus slogging along through the mud even slower (and at higher risk of being stuck) so our driver decided in order to maintain momentum we'd have to pass it. It was like watching a snail race with both busses spinning their rear tires in the mud and ours slowly gaining on the other one until we got a head of it. We were honestly going about 5 mph up the muddy hill. The other bus we never saw again. As far as I know it may have never made it.

We arrived in Tena and deboarded the bus. Immediately a taxi driver approached us but we were really most interested in toilets so we all ran off to find them. I motioned to the taxi driver to stay put and we'd be back. Upon returning he was still waiting for us and a man who spoke English said the taxi driver was Quichua (not Quechua/Inca) and spoke no Spanish. I told him Puerto Barrantilla and he nodded his head. I also mentioned I needed a Bank machine so he stopped at an ATM for me since where we going only took cash. The taxi was a 4 door Suburu brat looking "truck" that had no problem getting air on the many hills along the road. We arrived 20 minutes before our scheduled time. Puerto Barrantilla is nothing but a small road going to a residence and a path that extends from there into the Jungle to the Rio Napo. We followed the path and stood next to the river in the pouring rain - waiting. About 15 minute later an indigenous man arrived in a gas powered canoe and grabbed our bags two at a time and put them in the canoe then motioned for us to climb in. No words were spoken. Ten minutes later we pulled up to a wooden staircase leading from the rivers edge up to a wooden hut.

A young guy named Andy came to get our bags and took them to the large circular building with no walls. This was to be the reception desk and dinning hall. It was nothing but hay roof, wood floor and wood poles holding the roof up. There was a large hole in the center with trees growing in it. He sat us by a small fire and explained the program to us. A Swiss lady married a Quichua man and they started a reserve in the Amazon to help hurt animals. They later started a hotel and the Liana Lodge.The lodge helps pay for their work and buying more land. So far they have 1300 hectares of land and want to buy more to protect it. After we got the spiel he took us to our “rooms” which were also hay roofed huts with screens for walls. There was one real wall and that is between the two rooms. the outside lower wall is wood and the rest of the building is screen. The thatched roof is vaulted and open inside. There is no heat, Internet or electricity on site. This meant I couldn't charge camera batteries so my little cameras are getting a workout while my G7 sits because I only have one battery for it (later I found out they have a car battery they take to town and charge up on occasion just for the purpose of charging camera batteries). Outside the back door of the hut is a large patio with hammocks that were great to relax in. The rain persisted and we just hung out and relaxed in our hammocks while listening to the rain on the flora of the rain forest. Dinner was at 7 and was pretty decent. They serve three courses of soup, entree and dessert. A lot of it is junglish like strange fruits, cinnamon from the Amazon etc... Usually one meat and the rest vegetables or potatoes. They cook with gas but we use candles for all light sources including the reception desk and dining tables. We also use candles to light our huts. They don't put out a lot of light but your eyes do get used to them. Sleeping in the hut at night was real nice because you could hear all of the jungle sounds clearly. The cicada get a little irritating but we can hear an occasional toucan. There are squirrel monkeys that hang around the lodge and are great fun to watch.