The unwritten travel log: #1

Caitlin and I have recently been reminiscing about some of our favorite travel stories and we realized that many of these stories are not on the blog. The reason we did not put them up was to save loved ones undue worries, however as it has been long enough we figured we would start blogging about them as we felt enough time had passed. So here begins the first in the unwritten travel log series. Warning many of these may not be for the faint of heart.

Lauren and Ethan Brodsky visited us in Ecuador our second year and we headed to the Amazon so we could enjoy the wildlife in the Amazon. The whole trip went fairly well with just the minor bat flying over head and the squishing of a cockroach as one tried to scare the bat away. This story deals with the leaving of the amazon.

The day we were to leave we believed we had a ride waiting to pick us up from the river where the lodge was to drop us off. So we went out for a morning piranha fishing expedition and enjoyed our day. Our guide then took us down the river to catch our ride. When we arrived at the bridge where our ride was supposed to be waiting we discovered that there was no one there. We waited, but as time passed we realized that it was looking like no one was coming. Our guide started to look mildly worried but came up with the quick solution of catching a bus. The bus he hailed picked us up and seemed to be in a hurry of its own.

The bus seemed to be making good time, but I was still unsure if we would be making our flight back to Quito which was concerning as Lauren and Ethan had a morning departure back to the States the next day. As we swerved back and forth through the jungle back toward civilization I continuously checked my watch. After about 30 minutes on the bus we stopped in a small town where we jumped off and our guide haggled a deal with a ‘taxi’. More of a pick up truck with a tarp over its back. At this point I wasn’t too concerned.

We piled into the back of the pick up truck and he took off. This man was on a mission to get us to the airport. Only later would I learn that the guide had promised him double the normal rate if he got us there in time for the flight. As he hauled ass through the jungle I started to wonder the sanity of this ride. I’m pretty sure the pick-up had the same tires that the ’94 tercel I drove in high school did. As he rounded corners at 60 mph it was no shock that we saw two wheel motion that would have made Snoop proud. It was about this time that I started to think about what would happen if a cow walked out into the middle of the road. As we continued barreling towards what I was sure would be my final cab ride I started to think about if it was worth the small chance of making the flight. I decided to inform the driver that it would be ok if we missed our flight, however the squealing of the tires and his race day focus didn’t allow him to hear either my banging on the roof or terrified shouts of ‘slow down’. It was at about this point that I think Caitlin started to realize that it wasn’t just her normal car sickness and fear of cabs, because when she looked at me she saw what I can only imagine to be the look of ‘this isn’t good’. I don’t usually have any concerns with cabs but this time I thought I had pressed my luck too far. As I held on to the back of the pick-up and wondered if this was it, we sped through the Amazon. The only person in the back of the pick-up who seemed unfazed by the whole trip was Ethan so the video and pictures are courtesy of him.

Since I am writing this entry, you can imagine that we made it to the airport without any major mishaps. In fact we even caught our flight home. The cab driver got his doubled fair and seemed quite proud of himself for covering what usually takes an hour and a half in a mere 45min. As I shelled out the fair the glint in his eye didn’t allow him to see Lauren stumble out the back of the pickup and proceed to puke everything she had in her stomach onto the parking lot. We paid and wandered into the airport and checked into our flight. The prop plane felt like the safest place on earth after what we had just gone through. My forearm would hurt for another 2 days from hanging on so tightly during the ride.

Lauren trying to hold it together.
Falling out of the back of the pick up truck.
The look of a job well done.

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