We just got back from the jungle lodge to Quito. I saw lots of birds and dripped rivers of sweat. And met a towering blond man called Thor. I don’t think he was the Thor though. No enormous hammers or eight-legged horses. And would a thunder god go in the shape of a Dutch birdwatcher? Perhaps He moves in mysterious ways.
A slight downer was put on the end of our visit when gun-toting balaclava-wearing Colombians robbed the lodge during dinner on our last day. Fortunately they didn’t rob us individually, which would have been really a bit scary. We just lay on the floor of the restaurant while they raided the valuables box in the office, and stayed until we were sure they were gone. And they were mainly after cash, so I’ve still got my passport and credit card; I only lost about sixty bucks.
I actually vaguely thought it was some kind of bizarrely unfunny joke by the staff at first, and by the time I realised it was real it was pretty obvious that they weren’t after hostages or anything, so I wasn’t even scared. I suspect this represents a failure of imagination on my part. I do feel sorry for the staff who had to try and be competent and organised while we were lying under the table quipping. Especially those who were chased by the gunmen and had to hide out in the forest until 1am awhen they were sure it was safe.
Anyway, not the ideal way to end our stay, but it hasn’t actually affected my travel plans at all since I was coming back to Quito today anyway. I’m still planning to visit the cloudforest. And I don’t seem to be traumatised or anything, so that’s good. On my personal scale of unpleasant South American travel experiences I reckon it rates lower than the food poisoning I had in Venezuela.