Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Rafting and an aborted hike

The last couple of days have been great fun. I think that we are now starting to settle into the rhythm of the road. It does take a while to get used to living out of your rucksack and eatingall your meals in restaurants. So far we´ve been really lucky with the rooms and food (read Sarah´s blog to find out more about our room booking exploits). The Petit Auberge is our current place of abode and is a great example of how you can find nice places on a decent budget. The hostal is set well back from the road with lush sub-tropical gardens wrapping around the property. It´s really unusual so see familiar garden plants mixed with what we would consider to be houseplants. Bright yellow day lillies Hemerocallis) sit alongside Amaryllis under the shade of avodado trees. Bananas hanglong, laden with fruit, over fuschias and ginger lilies. The sides of the hostal are covered in sweet smelling bouganvillia in various shades from magenta to orange. I have already taken the opportunity to get out into the garden with my Macro lense; hopefully I´ll have some more photos to post on my photo pages soon.

Yesterday was spent doing our first really adventurous activity, rafting the Rio Negro further down the valley towards Puyo. When we turned up in the morning the motley crew of local river guides looked severly worse wear. The night before was the big annual fiesta and they had been out prtying until the early hours. As it happened, our lead guide was the spitting image of my brother Martin (if he had been born and raised in the barrios of Quito) he even had a similar manner about him. We were shipped down river in a beaten up old Chevy van and dropped by the river to change into our wetsuits and get a safety briefing in almost indecipherable English. We were soon on the foaming Class IV rapids of the Rio Negro carving our way through the steep, lush valleys. I almost came a cropper as I was distracted whilst negotitating a particularly violent stretch of eddies and back waves. A giant kingfisher darted from the left bank and skimmed the water to our left. As I turned to get a closer look I was blasted by a wall of water that put me off balance and pushed me over the side. Luckily I had my right foot wedged under a flap of fabric that kept me from toppling over the edge. I think that it is fair to say that we will be rafting again...though maybe I should read Sarah´s blog to find out how it went down wth her!

Today we were meant to be hiking up the mountainside to get a better view of the volcano. However, we heard this morning that there was a decent sized erupton last night that has led to the paths being closed. We spoke to someone this morning and they said that the eruption had gappened at 4am and sounded like a jet taking off. As usual, I was totally oblivious to the fact. Hopefully we´ll get a decent view as we head out down the valley this afternoon on a quad bike. The skies a re a little clearer today so hopefully there will be some more pictures to post.

No comments: