Back in Tena,_Ecuador

I hopped a bus from Misahualli (hostel location) to Tena as planned and reported in previous entry.

It´s Monday. Arrived here with my dc charging adaptor AND my laptop. Went back to the tech shop. They opened up a ´universal´ adapter package and found the correct plug that fits the jack on my laptop. No light.  Not charging. They shrugged. Said that they do not stock the parts in the store. Said I needed to go to Quito to find a place that might get me the parts.

Came here to the internet cafe. Checked online for possible solutions to the issue. Seems that it is very common for laptop dc jacks to fail. Sometimes the internal pin wears out and the fitting is noticeably loose. (not in this case… the fit between my charger plug and the laptop jack is firm).  The other common thing is that the solder points that connect the dc jack (inside the laptop case) to the motherboard often break.

Seems to me that this exact thing happened to me in Mexico and it took a tech about a week to fix.  Checked internet sites that suggested several options. Many of those options are not valid in my current circumstances. I must exit Ecuador in about 10 days, the time allowed on my visa is running out.  Therefore, any solution that takes longer than 10 days will not work.  Surely, getting parts or leaving my laptop at a tech shop would take longer than that.

Thus, I will no longer be posting photos to the blog until I resolve the issue.

From where I am staying, I can walk out onto the sidewalk and within two minutes be looking at the Napo river.  I checked with the local tourist guides. Was informed that a canoe trip from Misahualli to Coca would  take a minumum of  5 hours… downriver to Coca. Then, the operator owner would have to fight the current back home, probably 8 hours or so. Cost for one person 300 dollars.

Because my plan has me being on the Napo all the way to the Amazon river and then on the Iquitos… minimum of a week travelling by boat during daylight hours, I saw little value in the solo canoe trek from Misahualli to Coca. I will be seeing plenty of river.

Many Ecuadorian tourists visit Misahualli on the weekends. It is a very laid back place and is easy to get to. Local tour guides have sidewalk offices.  Probably six or seven within a five minute walk. Naturally, the more people that go on a tour, the more cost effective it is for everyone. No longer are there regular canoe treks to Coca (Francisco de Orellana) as in the days before the road to it was built 30 or so years ago.  Not many tourists are interested in that long a journey; especially since they can hop in their car or hop a bus and arrive in a little under 2 hours, for the cost of a good meal.

All of these local guide services  have created their own variations of a ´set tour´,   designed to satisfy the curiosity of the average tourist desirous of a jungle tour.  There is a stop at a Cocoa (the tree from which chocolate is made)  museum and a stop at an índigenous community´where you will see native costumes and dances, a stop for a ´medicinal plant´ hike.  To get to these places you ride on one of the motorized canoes.  So a tourist, unfamiliar with these place gets a very real sense that they are experiencing the real thing.

Having grown up in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, I sense some similiarities to the tours that were offered there, tours like the Jungle Queen   First similaritiy is that the tourist gets a boat ride.  Most Jungle Queen tourists feel as though they are visiting the Everglades.  Really they are going through residential neighborhoods on local canals. The boat went to a ´Seminole Indian village´ and tourists saw  young men wrestling alligators.

The thing is that no one actually lived in the so called´village´. These Seminoles had become more like actors and actresses, putting on a performance for tourists. The men and women were real Seminole people. The alligators were real enough, but the whole tour was really created as a tourist performance.  I get the same feeling in Misahualli.

Surely, this much closer to the real thing than what I remember from my Florida days… this is the REAL Amazon basin.  The Shuar, Ashuar, and Waorani here are real  indigenous people.  The animals are real. The river is real. The climate is real. The canoes are not navigating canals that pass through densely populated residntial neighborhoods, as in Florida.

The local indigeous ´village´ is probably not fully inhabited. I would guess that some people live there all the time, but most others may have small homes in town. They probably have  constuction jobs or maybe they fish or manage a small farm or have family who run a small store, or restaurant, or hostel… or tour agency in town.

It´s all good. I am happy for everyone just exactly as it is.  These tribal folks have an easier existence than their elders.  They are adapting to life in the ´modern´ world.  Electricity, television, smart phones, internet, motors for their canoes, different kinds of medical care, tourists from all parts of the world. We are all adapting. These folks are no exception.

Plan to get a bus to Coca this week. Will have to go through the usual seek and find process. Need to locate a hostel near the river and then walk around and get the scoop on boarding a boat heading for Nuevo Rocafuerte, the last Napo river town in Ecuador… where I will get my  passport stamped exiting Ecuador.  From there, I will need to find a launch to Pantoja, also a Napo river town but in Peru, where I will get my passport stamped officially entering Peru.

I do not know if there will be realible internet available after departing Coca. Plan to make post at least one more entry from there prior to boarding the first boat.

Will make sure I have plenty of batteries and will use the Spot device regularly while on the river journey.

Proably will be able to find a good computer tech in Iquitos, a city of a half million people.  That´s the plan.