Dear Family and Friends,
Chuck and I left Banos, right after breakfast, on the third day. When we were there two years ago the road to Puyo from Banos was the last paved road before the Amazon rain forest. If you wanted to drive beyond Puyo it would be a dirt road only. But in the last two years Ecuador has paved the dirt road and you can drive to Macas and beyond on nice asphalt road.
Between Banos and Puyo it is very scenic. There are many waterfalls and a lot of tourist activities like bungee jumping, white water rafting, cable cars to cross over the river, etc. Chuck and I made only two stops on this trip. The first stop was to see a waterfall. We stopped at Falls Garden.
We stopped because the sign intrigued us..."la puerta de la verdad"...(the door to the truth). We parked our car and walked a short distance on a good path until we came to this gentleman.
His name is Antonio. He bought the property and has been improving it virtually by himself for the past few years. He is an artist and displays his paintings in a small hut. He has planted many plants from all over Ecuador. It is a very pleasant walk. He charges $1.00 for the entry fee to help finance his work. We gladly paid our dollar and started for the waterfall.
One of us was more daring than the other. Here is Chuck hanging out over the deep canyon viewing the top of the water fall.
I never saw the actual waterfall, but was thrilled with what I did see. Beautiful plants in bloom.
And while we were there, Chuck taught me something about bananas. There was a banana tree with a blossom and tiny bananas starting to grow. He told me that yellow bananas grow down, but on this tree, because the bananas were red, they grow up.
Here is a red blossom and those tiny red finger-like parts are tiny bananas starting to form.
Here is one a little further developed. The blossom has died and the bananas are starting to grow.
Chuck shows off some bananas that are even further along in their development.
It was quite interesting to see the different stages of a banana from blossom to fruit.
By the way, we never found the door to the truth, nor did we find out what the truth was.
The second stop we made on the way to Puyo was in the town of Shell. Yes, that is Shell, named, I'm sure, for Shell Oil. This town came into existence during the time that oil drilling was being done in Ecuador by foreign owned companies. This town has a nice long airstrip, across the highway, the entire length of the town. It was built by the oil companies to have access to this remote area. (No paved roads back then)
The reason we stopped in Shell, is because Chuck's cousin and her missionary engineer husband built a hospital there about 40 or more years ago. We wanted to see if we could find it. It was not that hard to find because Shell is a small town. For those of you that know Irene and Ken, you might be interested in seeing the hospital that Ken built.
We drove on to Puyo and only made one stop. Chuck wanted to go and look at Amazon tourist junk uh I mean souvenirs. He had one particular object in mind....and he found it and bought it. And here he is proudly taking it back to the car.
I won't tell you what it is quite yet, but you may can guess by looking at the package.
After our shopping we headed out again, this time in new territory. The further we rode the flatter the land became and the thicker the vegetation. It brought back some memories from my childhood. It reminded me of rural southern Georgia and Alabama during the fifties.
The vegetation, the heat and humidity, the weathered board small houses with rusted tin roofs seemed strangely familiar.
Sorry that this is not a good picture, but considering that I was taking pictures through the car window at 60 mph it's not too bad. Mainly it gives you an idea of what it is like.
We got to Macas about 5:00 pm. We found a nice (well as nice as possible) place to stay the night. We went for pizza and turned in early for a quiet evening. Oh, by the way, Chuck got the honeymoon suite.
Next time I will tell about getting home to Cuenca.