Ibarra to Tigrilla Reserva, Playa de Oro (via the third world)

Borbon Travel Blog

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Dave and I are in at the deep end and way out of our depth, but it makes it all the more rewarding when a plan comes together.

We spent the morning looking around Ibarra (biggest Ecuador city north of Quito at 125000) which was pleasant but unspectacular.  However as it was only a stop over en route to Borbon so maybe we didn´t do it justice.  The 4 hour journey to San Lorenzo was all downhill moving from the 3000m Quito in the mountains down through the climate changes into more tropical jungle at sea level.  As with all buses in Ecuador, it was soon rammed but our game of chess was of far more interest to the local school kids than Mortal Kombat on the tv.  I won !!

Our change at San Lorenzo was a welcome to the third world.
  The only brick building in site was the church with the rest being half built/falling down wooden shacks.  The population is at least 90% black which we learned are ex-slaves who laid claim to the area. Machete´s are definitely the tool of choice !!  Quickly jumped onto our bus to Borbon which turned out to be a smaller version of San Lorenzo. 

In Borbon, the main source of entertainment is predictably footie, but closely followed by setting off  firecrackers in the street.  Absolutely no one speaks a word of English and Dave and I spent 10 minutes trying to be understood in our pigeon Spanish to order food of any kind.  After a surprisingly succesful meal, went back to hostel to get out of the way of the firecrackers and learn Spanish in earnest !

Tuesday started with a couple of firsts.
  Our bus to Selve Allegre was not much more of a truck.  Our bags got thrown onto the roof and we were ushered onto the benches (also on the roof).   However with a strong grip on the seat, the 2 hour ride was fun as the truck slalomed around the 2 foot pot holes in the road. 

Our final leg to get to Playa de Oro was fashionably (3 hours) late but the 2 hour motorised canoe ride up river was well worth the wait.  The canoe ride itself justified the 2 days of interesting travelling to get here as we´d made it to unspoilt pristine jungle.  The lodge itself looked like something from the Waltons as a 13 room shack but surrounded on all sides by rainforest.  Just Dave, I and another British born yank with 4 staff for the next 3 days !! 
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photo by: Saladin79