Far away from civilization. The clock on my mobile phone says it is quarter past eleven in the evening, when Vero and I arrived at the meeting point for the bus, which will take us to Lago Agrio. Friendly welcomed us the driver and stowed our luggage away. The bus was already pretty full and we just could get a seat in the last row. I was sitting on the left side of the bus, my knees touching the lean of the seat in front of me and nowhere to put my backpack. In this moment I knew this is going to be a very long ride and I hoped I could sleep at least a few hours. A bit dizzy from the Wednesdays ladies night I leant myself against the window and watched the street lights passing by.
After eight, more or less sleepless hours, we finally arrived in the early morning at Lago Agrio and the driver let us off at the Di Mario Hotel. Three more hours to go, until the bus from the Lodge will pick us up, we decided to sit down and have a breakfast in the hotel- maybe not the best decision we could have made. Tired, hungry and not being served for a half an hour, my mood got worse. To the question if the waiter could please take our order, he rudely responded that the bus is only leaving in a few hours, so he has enough time for it and we could wait. After finally serving us he forgot the half of our breakfast so we had to remind him again. Meanwhile my mood reached its low point and I just wanted to get to the jungle.
The next two hours on the way to the Cuyabeno Reserve we mostly overslept. There, our guide Galo, welcomed the group with a packed lunch and introduced himself before we hopped into the canoes heading downstream to our lodge, the Jamu Lodge. Jamu is Siona and means armadillo. I was very impressed by the charming atmosphere of the jungle. Lush green trees, palms and other plants as far as the eye can see, surrounding the serpentine line shaped Cuyabeno River, accompanied by a concert of the animals’ voices. During the ride we already saw our first wild animals, birds and butterflies crossed our way and a few snakes were hiding in the branches on the banks of the river to digest their last meal.
A wooden stairwell leads from the canoe to a footbridge of wooden and stone slaps. We walked a few meters into the deep jungle until we reached the entrance of the Lodge, a complex of little, wooden bungalows, built on stilts 3 meters above the ground, surrounding the community and dining area, the heart and central point of the lodge. After a welcome drink and a short briefing we moved into our rooms.
Later on we took the canoes and drove to the spectacular Laguna Grande, where we went for a refreshing swim, while the sun disappeared behind the trees below the horizon. Wrapped in a towel, we moved on to search for caimans. Hiding in the water on the banks of the river, their eyes reflected the bright light of our flashlights. We slowly stalked ourselves to the animal and Galo ensured that everyone could take a picture. Happy and a bit tired from the long journey we arrived around 8 p.m. at the lodge, where already a delicious dinner was waiting for us.
The rest of the evening we spent playing cards with the French members of our group. Exhausted and excited of what will expect us the next day we sank into our bed. But the unusual noises of the jungle, the humming of the insects, the roaring monkeys in the distance and the fact that some cockroaches were hiding under our bed made us rolling in our blankets and sleeping close to each other.