Posted by: Googie | May 3, 2010

Farewell trip to Tena

Since many of the volunteers were leaving, we decided to travel to a town called Tena at the edge of the Amazonian rainforest of Ecuador, as a sort of farewell trip.

11 of us left home early on Saturday morning and got to Salasaca centro. After hasty goodbyes to everyone, Lizzy caught a bus to Ambato. She had to meet a friend in Quito so she wouldn’t be coming with us to Tena. The rest of us hired a camioneta till Baños, and got into the back. Some of the guys had brought a couple of beers along, which were opened and passed around. The ride to Baños turned out to be a lot of fun with all of us riding in the back together, so we decided to take the camioneta all the way till Tena. After a quick round of negotiations with the driver, enough food and a few crates of beer were purchased, and we we were all set.


Livin’ it up in the back of a camioneta


Precariously perched

There were some stunning landscapes on offer all along the way, and the constantly passing beer ensured that the spirits were kept high throughout. It started pouring torrentially but that hardly dampened the proceedings. Laptops and cameras were safely placed next to the driver, while all 10 of us got drenched to the bone. We sang almost throughout the entire journey with “In the jungle, the mighty jungle the lion sleeps tonight” being our primary song. The singing was synchronised to the minutest detail with everybody having their specific parts to be sung at specific times. The professionalism with which it was done could have put many a composer to shame. God knows how we managed, but “un patito feo” that had been enacted at the school the previous day, was replayed in the cramped back of the camioneta!

EmmTahn did not let us down again, and brilliantly captured the best moments of our ride:

The first portion of their post talks about the trip to Tena from their perspective.

Once in Tena, we had a delicious lunch of “arroz con camarron” (rice with prawns) and “encebollada” (soup made with yuka and catfish), after which we spent the next few hours with beer by the river. Dinner was some amazing pizza, but thanks to the copious amounts of beer (99 bottles since morning between the 10 of us), we made quite a scene at the pizzeria.


The guys by the river in Tena


Pizzeria onslaught

On the way back to our hostel, another cool hangout was spotted where we decided to chill for a bit. Pedro, Abraham & I said goodnight to the rest and went to bed in a while. I heard the next morning that Nicolas had gone to the men’s restroom, locked himself in, climbed out of the window and gone for a stroll. When they discovered that Nicolas was missing, the rest of them had roamed around Tena looking for him. They gave up after a lot of searching and got back to the hostel only to find Nicolas already dozing on his bed 🙂

Everybody had brunch together the next morning (some still recovering from bad hangovers due to the excesses of the previous day), after which it was time to say goodbye. We had spent only a few weeks together, but had grown close living under the same roof and working towards a common cause of making the lives of some Salasacan kids just a little better. We exchanged contacts, wished each other luck for the remainder of our travels, and then Nicolas, Pedro, Abraham & I caught a bus headed to Baños.

Lizzy has written this excellent post about parting with old friends and making new ones on the road:

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