Entering the Amazon

Filed under [ Relationship ]

It’s our second day in Napo, and I can happily report no mosquito bites!  I have so much to share about our experiences the first two days in Quito, but I am fully engrossed in this experience right now, so I will write about Quito after we leave Napo.

The flight from Quito to Coca was approximately one hour.  Coca is the entry town into the Amazon.  We were greeted by our guides and taken to the Napo River. The first leg of the river trip was two and a half hours in a motorized canoe.  The most memorable part was the jarring feeling we experienced as tug boats pushing huge barges transporting oil tankers suddenly interrupted the tranquil beauty of the river.   Unfortunately Ecuador’s number one export is Oil.   The impact on the rain forest has been devastating.  The country is now actively in the process of addressing this issue by looking for ways to minimize the oil company’s presence.

For the second leg of the trip we transferred to manual canoes where we really got to feel the physical, emotional and spiritual presence of nature.  The air, the sounds, the smells, the wind, the plant and wild life reached deep within us… we arrived at our original home.

It is difficult to describe what it’s like to be surrounded by this all-encompassing nature.  It’s kind of like being on a National Geographic program instead of watching it.   Thus far, some of the main highlights have been experiencing the wildlife in their own environment.   For example, on the way back from dinner last night, walking to our bungalow, which is located on the edge of the lagoon, we shone our flashlight on the water and saw a pair of red eyes.  We recognized it as a cayman, a reptile similar to an alligator.  With all the excitement there was also a sense of fear, which intensified later that night as something loud went splash-chomp! while we were lying in bed in the dark.  My instant reaction was one of terror since it felt like whatever it was, was in our room.   At that moment I got in touch with the wildness of this space and felt a real sense of vulnerability.  It took me a while to calm down my amygdala and reality check that I am, at least for now, safe in bed and no animal can come and get me.

The following morning, on our excursion to the jungle, we passed by the animal that most likely made that scary sound.  Looks friendly, doesn’t it?

Danger is not the only thing one needs to contend with here.  The onslaught of insects, the 98% humidity and constant change in weather patterns, the incredible heat and the general sense of unpredictability leaves me marveling at how human beings can live here year round.  The ingenuity of the Indigenous people to not only survive, but thrive in this complex and demanding environment validates my belief that we can overcome any challenges when we know what we are up against and work together.




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