Posted by: Colin | July 19, 2010

Jungle 3

We got up early and went to pick up the English and German folk from the Shaman’s home. On route we passed a couple indigenous tribal hamlets. They seems to be self sufficient to a large extent with water towers, outhouses, solar panels and sewage pipes. No doubt the oil and tourism helped.

When we arrived at the Shaman’s house we heard about the hallucinogenic party they’d had the night before. It seemed to be the same stuff that Bruce Barry had during his Amazon series. All in all it sounds like a horrible experience as the hallucinogenic qualities are apparently unpleasant and the suspension makes you vomit and retch continually for an hour or so. Plus it cost $80.

We had a look around the Shaman’s house. Several gigantic spiders and a very hot pepper bush. Jamie regretted trying the chillies. Then we headed back to the canoe and relaxed for our 3 hr journey back to the road. Got a packy of horrible sliced cheese and mechanically separated meat as usual. Instead of the ancient van, a pickup truck arrived. The guide and us Scot jumped in the back. Chuck Norris sat on the side of the truck but I sacrificed relative comfort for safety by sitting in the back of the truck. The three hour journey wasn’t pleasant as the round is winding and can be rough. It rained for about 45 mins on and off. Luckily it wasn’t enough to flood the floor of the back of the truck where I was sitting. For some reason Chuck Norris enjoyed it.

Was interesting to see how the discovery of oil has affected the landscape. The processing plants, miles and miles of pipe line following the road. Large parts of the road were getting another layer of tarmac and there were a few waterways having bridges built over them.

I later read in a magazine that the Ecuadorian president (a US educated economist) is trying to amend the oil contracts to increase their corporate responsibility. A much needed change in my opinion, the environmental impact is quite amazing with the large deforestation and oily by products entering the soil and water features. When you hear the stats you get an impression of massive scale of the problem. In the Western media there is a lot of blame put on resource rich countries exploiting their natural wealth. I however don’t blame them as I would do the same in search of better prospects for my population. To rectify the situation they have proposed to open a fund where countries, institutions and people can allocate capital to prevent Ecuador selling oil and mineral rights to companies. This way they get their money and the resources stay where they are. Sounds like an innovative idea. If it succeeds is another question. In the back of my mind I can’t help think that Ecuador will put a time limit on this fund. When it expires they will then exploit the resources when oil is $200 a barrel and minerals futures are at a higher price.

Anyway we arrived in Lago Agrio and got on the 7hr bus back to Quito. Sadly I left Phil Garnett’s girl with the dragon tattoo on the bus (it was getting to the good bit too). Ah well back to the boring law book I found.



  1. Well you’ve taken your time getting that up Colin. Although I must say I’m impressed that you remember the little details. Hope you’re enjoying Bali.

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