The Longest Day

The last 24 hours were a rollercoaster of ups, downs, and watching cars get stuck in landslides. It was a travel day from Tena, the bordering Amazon town, to the Quito Airport, to then fly to Manta, a west coast town on the beach. We left Todd’s Lodge at 1pm after eating lunch. The drive to Quito is a 6 hour drive through twisty turns, crazy elevations, and a one-way mountain road. The only thing I could think about for those 6 hours was the airport Johnny Rocket’s. I had been craving American food for days after the Waorani tribe trip, I needed salt. About 4 or so hours into the trip, I woke up from my peaceful sleep to the bus turned off and parked on the side of the highway. With a line of cars around us, the group got out and walked about 1/4 of a mile on the mountain road. We found ourselves at a huge landslide talking out the road. After waiting about an hour watching the water gush down the mountain side and watching rock fall, the bulldozer finally came and hope was in sight! We were 1.5 hours from our flight with a 1 hour and 45 minute drive. Will we make it!!?? No. With downsides comes upsides. That upside being more time to spend at Johnny Rocket’s!

Our last resort mode of transportation to La Manta was bus. We began our 11 hour journey at 8:30pm. With games, talking, and sleeping the ride went faster than I thought. The best game we made out of the ride was being bounced out of our seats on massive bumps and potholes the bus would go over. Although it wasn’t an optimal situation, we all made the most of the opportunity by getting to know one another better and coming closer together, as we all went through this traumatic experience of a crazy long bus ride together.

At around 6am, I woke up to a giant bump flinging me out of my seat and crashing back down. I opened my eyes to see the time of day and was greeted with a beautiful scenic overlook view of the Pacific Ocean with islands and mountains all around it. Although the bump cut my sleep short, it was an amazing sight to wake up to and it started off my long 2-in-1 day on a positive note. After 19 straight hours of sitting in the bus, and the bus driver driving, we finally made it to The hotel, Cabanas El Mangar, in Puerto Lopez.

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