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Ecuador: Coca, A City In the Amazon Part 1 of 3 (Day 16)

After spending a few days in Latacunga yet again, the next stop was the Amazon rain forest…sort of.
We left fairly late that morning since everyone was still a bit drunk from the night before. The weather was nice and the drive there was expected to be over 9 hours. Destination? I’m not quite sure actually. I packed my stuff, got in the car and off we went. I fell asleep for most of it and woke up in Banos. Apparently this was the capitol of adventuring in Ecuador, but I had no idea just yet.
There was a zipline hooked up across a small river and we decided to take a ride on it.

This is the view from the base of the zipline. A giant waterfall on the right.

Need the right gear if you’re going to zip acorss a 1/2inch steel wire!


The zipline was MUCH less exciting that I thought it would be. Okay I know, im being a negative nancy who doenst enjoy anything at all. The bearings werent greased and the cables were dull and unpolished so I wasn’t going very fast. The ride ended up being very calming and relaxing with a great view of nature.

This is about 1/3 of the way across.

And on the other side, still alive!

The ride back was on this sketchy cart. Now THIS ride was sketchy, the cart kept rocking around and I thought it was going to rock right off the wire into the river!

And so we continued on…passing several small bridges. They were all mini suspension or cable stay bridges which I thought was pretty cool. II wanted to get out and climb one since people there generally don't give a fuck, but hey, you know what they say, you'll regret the things you didn't do more than the things you did do. This is one of them!

Rainfall is frequent and powerful in this area. As water erodes soil, land slides will eventually occuar. You just have to be luck to NOT be around when giant bouders start giving way.

And about 6 hours into the drive, we stopped for lunch at a local “restaurant”. These road side places really know how to grill some good meals! And yes that is a wash station outside where you eat! Need to keep those hands clean! (not really because I was still suffering from explosive diarrhea. I could of eaten the worst food and it would of made no difference. Imodium keeping the waves of liquid poo from coming out at this point, and thank god I had it because I would of shat my pants three times over in the car!

And this is the map of the local region that was just sitting on the patio. We had traveled form Latacunga to Ambato, Banos, Tena, Puyo and then finnaly to our destination….wherever it was.

I finally found out where we were going…when we got there; Cocoa in the Orellana province. Coca is inside the Amazon rain forest and is used to serve as the main waypoint for trips deep into the amazon (though most of the people looking to enter into the Amazon have found a city farthur north). Its proper name is Puerto Francisco De Orellana. It is situated between the Coca River and the Napa river, both of which feed into the larger Amazon River.

Coca was an interesting place. It is a very wealthy area because it serves as the main city of many international workers in the petroleum industry. Ecaudor, like Venezula, Colombia and several other Amazonian countries have sizeable petroleum reserves in their share of the amazon rain forest. There are many engineers from various corporations that are working to find a way to pump the oil out. Interntional pressure to prevent drilling has put a stop to most of it, and the result is that the intentional community are paying the expected revenue generated from would be oil production to keep them from pumping it.

As a result, all of these international workers (mostly men) end up attracting a lot of hookers. So there are plenty hookers to go around! But that’s not why I’m here. My main goal was to see the Amazon rain forest.

Since we arrived late into Coca, there was not much to do but meet some friends of friends and get a bit drunk, and drink we did ( like always).

Waking up the next morning, I expected to reach a tourist site and check out the rainforest for a bit. But first, some breakfast.

Sharp ass teeth!

And a local treat is the Weeval grub. They are grilled on the spot or can be eaten raw (though the flavor is questionable when raw). For a great price of $1 USD, you can have 4 Weeval grubs!

What does it feel like in your hands? It...dead honest...feels like nut sack skin. Almost the exact same feeling when your rolling your nuts between your finger. For girls, well I'm sure most girls know what nut sacks feel like, just try rolling his nuts like your checking for cancer! The only unique criteria to this anoalogy is that it only feels like your nuts when they are high and tight, not low and relaxed. So there ya go, texture. DONE.

Lets not even try to begin to describe how the texture makes you want to gag when your chewing on it. If I had to guess since it feels like nut sacks in your hands, it must taste like nut sacks in your mouth. I don't know. I don’t know any girls that would chew nut sack skin. That’s kinda too kinky for me.

What does it taste like? Its hard to describe. It doesn't have a strong taste. But its defintely there. Hints of metallic residue (not like blood, more like the smell of hot iron) and paint thinner. Overall a really light taste. It isn't a pleasant or terrible, but the fact that the juices get all over your taste bud is what makes it so disgusting. The second you bite into it, the juices just flow every which way.

Would I eat it again? I would, but only to gross someone out or because I have nothing else to eat! Moving on!

And here is a video!

I had to get something to drink and put that grub down so I got some good old sugar cane juice! Man I love this stuff. I swear they add white sugar into this particular one because it just too sweet!

There was a really shitty ONE LANE bridge that serves as the main point out of Coca. Its a ONE FREAKING LANE BRIDGE!!! and there arent any lights on it. So you figure out that crap shoot it was to get in and out of coca!!! Luckly they are making this new cable stay bridge to replace the idiot who made that one lane bridge!

Random Peacock walking around. Yes they just hang out and chill like city rats in the subway, or peigons in a city!

The females got 2 males, or the other way around. Either way Pimping ain't easy.

We decided to take a boat ride to what I thought was a jungle. Again, I'm never told anything, and if I ask, they always give me some weird answer. Turns out we went to an animal reserve on an island. An animal resuce reserve that is. Animals that are illegal kept as pets or caught during smuggling are moved here allowed to readapt to wild life.

The boat ride was intensely fun. I think we broke into 40mph on the water and I had my head sticking out the whole time catching a good cool river breeze.

Of course most of these large mammals are shy and hide from people so we saw nothing but tall trees and heard some birds chirping. Exciting? Not really, but I did get to talk english for more than 5 words at a time!

Victor, Cristhan and I. (Victor is Cristhans cousin)

Our guide from Monteral Canada (the white girl) She is a Philly Flyers fan for some reason and as a Rangers fan, I had to put away my required hate for all flyers fans and be a civil human being. The last game I went to was a Rangers Flyers game on christmas eve too! All joking aside, she was cool and it was nice to have a conversation in English about something back home like hockey! To her left is Any, Victors girlfriend.

I summon the gods of hiding animals to bring me something to see!!!

And my disappointed face

That pretty much settled for that night. We went out that night and did some karaoke, and I just didn't feel like drinking. Pretty bummed out that I didnt do anything exciting that day, so I was the weird awkward guy sitting in the corner of the club not talking to anyone.

But that was the end of day 1....