Kawsankichu?

… which is the Kichwa equivalent of “Hey, wassup?”, to which the proper response would be: “Kawsanimi, kikinka?”, meaning something along the lines of “I’m good, how about yourself?”, at least according to the Kichwa guide that is lying around here somewhere at the house. I’ll try it on some locals one of these days, probably sending them into a fit of laughter that they won’t recover from for days, but hey, I live to entertain…

Today I went to Parque Amazonico, which is on an island in the middle of the Tena river. You are supposed to get there by canoe, but when I got to the spot it was supposed to leave from, I could see it lying lazily on the opposite riverbank, with no one around to row it across to pick me up. The canoe-thing is actually temporary, since they are building a walking bridge at the moment that will make crossing easier (and more boring).

While I was sitting there, trying to mentally force the boat towards me, an Ecuadorian family arrived on my side of the riverbank and started yelling and whistling at the empty canoe. That didn’t work either… And then I saw that the people at the bridge construction sight had a wobbly looking cable cart on a thick wire stretching across the river and I jokingly said we should ask if we could cross on that thing… And of course they thought it was a genius idea…

The construction workers on the other side had already been whistling and “Hey baby, good morrrrning”-ing me when I walked past the first time so they were super excited to see us coming back towards their rivercrossing-thingy-me-jig. As we arrived they were just unloading a pile of logs and agreed to let us pass after they were done unloading. I thought we would be crossing two or three at a time but construction people are obviously not the most patient type of people and told us to all get on the cable cart and get it over with. All five adults. If I wouldn’t have been so apprehensive about the thing, I would have taken a couple of pictures because it really didn’t go very fast. I might go back tomorrow just to take some quick snapshots of the thing.

Anyway, the parque amazonico was nice, but nothing spectacular. It was beautiful, just like everything outside of the parque, with the main difference being that here the trees had signs telling you their names. There were also a couple of birds in cages, some wild jungle pigs and an ocelot, which was the highlight of the place. There are supposedly monkeys walking around in the park as well, but they didn’t show. I think they will improve the park once the bridge is up and more people will be making the walk across on a daily basis. After that I had lunch somewhere and went out to find some of the materials I will be needing to ship things back and forth to Quito. It went OK but at some point I just got tired of feeling sticky and icky and walked back home.

One of the things I really need to learn is to slow down. I haven’t been in a hurry to get anywhere these last couple of weeks but I just can’t seem to bring my pace down to South American standards. It’s ridiculous really because in Quito, at almost 3.000 meters it makes absolutely no sense to walk quickly, especially if you just arrived from sea-level. And then, here in Tena, walking at a normal pace (for European standards) just makes you sweat like crazy and then feel disgusting for the rest of the day…  But I will learn… just as I will learn some Kichwa and how to eat chontacuros.

Oh, I’m sorry… you don’t know what chontacuro is? A small tutorial on how to prepare chontacuro, just for you:

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