Moving Through the Mud

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There’s never a dull moment in Ecuador, and the last few days proved that. We were out of the headwaters of the Amazon, back at Tod’s lodge. A few other biologists came to set up some equipment, but it was just us there. We spent two days there after returning from the Waorani, and we were working on our final presentations and an ad to promote Plus3 Ecuador for future students. After the action-packed days leading up to the Waorani, the days that followed were much more laid back. Instead of site visits, we had projects. Instead of hikes, we had to compile our activities into a fun video. I didn’t know what to do with myself. The whole trip had been packed with activities, but now was just a chance to… breathe. It was a change of pace, but I didn’t know what to do towards the end of the second day. I was looking forward to flying into Manta and traveling along the coast for the last three days of our trip.

That evening, we went to a town along the river, Peurto Misahualli, and walked around the outdoor markets with some of the locals. It was a nice little town, and after, we were invited to go dance and party with some of them down the road from our lodge. We met a lot of the people who helped at the lodge there, and I embarrassed myself with my horrendous dance moves, but we all had fun. After Misahualli and the party, we had one more day at the lodge, and we were all antsy to move on to Manta.

Tuesday finally came, and we were headed out to Quito, where we would catch a flight to Manta, and then a bus to our hotel on the beach. Again, supposed to be an easy day. Leave Tod’s at noon, get into the Quito airport in time for our seven pm flight. When we left Iyarina, it started to rain. This is the Amazon, rain isn’t uncommon, so I thought nothing of it. I noticed that we had the same bus driver that we had during our rose visit, so I knew that we were in good hands. As we climbed higher into the mountains, we eventually came to a standstill. We were all confused why we stopped, so we got out and investigated. Because of all the rain, a landslide blocked our path. There was no way we were going to make our flight. We still went to the Quito airport, ate there, and then took the bus out to the hotel. When we arrived at the hotel, it was 7:30 am. We spent 19 hours on the bus.

Before we left Sennott, Rick told us the f word. Flexibility. And the last couple of days we were flexible. From doing our projects and spontaneously go to an Ecuadorian resort, or Peurto Misahualli, or missing our flight and taking the bus, I have definitely learned to be flexible this trip.

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