The day started off at Hotel Heliconias with breakfast
and our van taking us to the town of Mishualis where we got on a long
boat that drove us across the Napo River to see 16 Indiginous traps set
throughout the jungle. Most of them involved an animal setting of a
trigger and being smashed by a heavy palm tree log or trapped by a
string or trapped. We also saw traps meant for the water and catching
fisd, and we even got a little suprise when we found a marsupial nested
in one of the traps which looked like a small rat. Throughout our
nature walk Miguel also taught us about the different types of plants
used for cooking, healing and many other things such as the garlic
plant. At the end of our walk, our guide gave us waiusa, a hot tea
drink that is supposed to cure headaches.
Back on the boat headed upstream we next headed to another small
indiginous home where we were presented with a chicha making
demonstration. Chicha is what the indiginous women make for their men.
Basically she showed us the current way of making it which involves
mashing up yuca and adding sweet potato and water and letting it
ferment. The traditional way of making it involves the women chewing up
the yuca, using their saliva to ferment the chicha and allowing their
men to drink it after. It is a very important part of the Quichua
culture, so much so that they do not understand how older people who are
single are that way because they have no woman to chew the chicha for
them so they believe that they will not survive.
After departing from Carlos, our boat driver, we explored “Monkey Town”
where we ate lunch. Before we ate, a local came up to us with a huge
boa constrictor around his neck and allowed all of us to wrap the snake
around our neck for a photo. Once again we all ate the traditional
three course meal; soup, a main meat with rice and veggies and sometimes
yuca, and a fresh fruit picked right out of the jungle. While we were
eating, we all enjoyed chasing off the monkeys that walk through the
town. With our meals we were all given water bottles to spray at the
monkies when they came and tried to steal our food.
After eating, we
stopped by a store nearby to look and purchase the jewelry he was
selling. A camera was stolen and we noticed the difference in the
cultures because no one could do anything about it, not even the police,
even though we knew the store owner was the culprit.
The van then took us to the butterfly gardens where we learned about the
life cycles of the different native butterflies in the area. We then
got to wander around the garden and take pictures of the different
insects and colorful butterflies. After the fun with the butterflies,
we headed back to our hotel, had our nightly meeting and headed off on
our own to explore Tena.