Monday, March 1, 2010

Pristine Forest?

Young Coca Boy

It was depressing to drive back to Pompeya, passing all the oil installations. Yasuni may be the last part of pristine Amazon forest, but it has been invaded and its destruction is imminent. There are all sorts of reasons we did not see many animals these past few days. Pablo believes it is the Houarani who are hunting excessively and not preserving their environment. It may be that the rain and the humidity (it was sweltering all the time) forced the animals into hiding. I believe that oil exploration destroys the forest, and I am not sure it is recoverable.

Children lined the road, waiting for buses to take them to school. I wonder what they will learn and whether they will be able to bridge the divide between their ancient culture and the onslaught of the west. When will they figure out that what they have is special and that conservation and preservation take precedence over profit and oil extraction? Will it be too late?

Our wake up call was 5:30, with breakfast at 6:00 and our two hour drive to meet the Sacha boat in Pompeya. We met a group of soldiers at the gate to the outside world. I was not sure what the authorities were looking for when they put out bags through an Xray machine. I know that alcohol, drugs and weapons are confiscated before we enter the area controlled by Petroecuador. They are looking for drugs on the way out. Apparently the FARC will ferry drugs from Columbia through the checkpoint. We had bags and bags of equipment for the scientific experiments, and thankfully no contraband.

River Rushing Past

Getting Stuck on the River

We met the Sacha boat, with Luis and Efraim guiding. The guests looked happy and described a stunning week at the resort, seeing many animals and feeling that they had a genuine jungle adventure. We sped along the river, water and the shoreline spinning past us. Sacha organizes everything perfectly; we arrived at the airport in time after a short visit to the Sacha house. As our plane taxied in, there was a sudden downpour, so umbrellas were provided to passengers so we would not get too wet crossing the tarmac.

Rain and Plane

Arriving in Quito is always a shock, but also familiar and welcoming. Maya had a good weekend and felt rested and unstressed, which is good for her. It was a relief to eat good food (locro de papa) and crawl into our familiar bed. It always feels good to be home.

No comments:

Post a Comment