This morning we woke up to a fierce rainstorm, and I momentarily weighed the costs and benefits of checking to see if my hiking boots were safe from the storm out on our porch. I decided against it, and when I finally got out of bed, I learned it was the right decision; they were safe.
At 6am, we went fishing for piranhas, and though two people caught them, I was unsuccessful. A little while later, we headed out on the boat in search of monkeys and dolphins. The monkeys were hard to spot at first, but once we found them, we saw tons of them, hundreds of them, actually, jumping through the dense trees. This particular type of monkey travels in large packs. Even though the monkeys were amazing, I was really sad that we didn't spot any river dolphins.
After breakfast, we headed, via canoe and three different buses, to Baños. In total, we traveled about 14 hours, and arrived an hour ahead of schedule. The first bus dropped us off on the side of the highway, saying the Coca bus station was too far away and that buses to Coca would just drive by, which they did. We jumped into a packed bus from Lago Agrio (or somewhere close) to Coca for three dollars. I started irrationally panicking that at one of the many side of the highway bus stops, someone would steal my backpack from underneath the bus, so I got off the bus at one of the stops to bring it back to my seat. In the process, my flip flop lost its strength and I was forced to grab my bag and get back on the bus with only one shoe, the other laying on the side of the road, irreparable. I only noticed, much later in the day, that this not only caused a small scene, but also I had a pretty bloody cut on my foot. I stuck it in the bus station sink for a while, then used my tool kit of medical supplies, including, thankfully, my antibiotic cream, which I slathered on heavily. I am feeling grateful for the tentaneous shot I got right before leaving the US.
The upside to traveling today was that Liza and I were not alone. Three others were also heading to Baños, so we all made the trek together. It is nice to have a bigger group on travel days because you always have someone to watch your luggage when you try to find the right window to approach for bus tickets, or when you have to go to the bathroom, or even when you need to run to the chocolate store to buy Nutella and Twix for the ride.
Miriam, our jungle cabana roommate, is also heading to Mancora, and then on to Chiclayo and Lima around the same time that I am making that trip. This means I will be able to travel with two friends across the border, and that I will have someone to travel with through Northern Peru since Mancora will be Stephanie's last stop. Traveling alone has really never involved traveling by myself.
Random bus observation: people sell the weirdest things on buses. Pinchos de pollo (skewers of chicken), salad, homemade popsicles, peeled oranges in a bucket and coconut juice in plastic bags all made an appearance on the buses today.