Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Joffre's Wild Ride

Joffre is our "Go To Guy" in San Jacinto, he was one of the first Ecuadoreans we met and got to know, and he's been our source of information and tourism for almost a year! When he heard my parents were coming, he wanted on the schedule! He loves his country and to show off all it has to offer, for some time he's been talking of "the big monkey", he knows the name King Kong, and said we needed to go to Jama to see it. We knew it was about two hours by bus, but that doesn't always tell you what the day will hold, fasten your seatbelts! Joffre's Wild Ride starts now...

We got an early start, met Joffre in town at 8am, caught a bus going past Bahia, across the bridge to San Vicente, there we changed buses to Jama.

Such a beautiful view of Bahia from this side of the bridge. Our first visit over into San Vicente, and it looked quite charming. Lots of street construction, which means it's a mess now, but will be very nice in months to come. The bus stop was infront of a very large Catholic school.

This bus was Muy frio, glad we had brought shawls, the drive was beautiful, as we traveled away from the coast the landscape got greener and more dense. We could see farms and plantations all around, the clouds hung a little low and it was magical, but darn that bus was cold! After some time we abruptly got off the bus...and behold!

The Negro Mono Grande...we had to ask Joffre why they made such a statue, and he said it was because they had many monkeys living in the hills of the surrounding area, who knew? ( he said just like the statue of tuna in Manta, and the fish statue in San Jacinto, makes sense)

Can you see it's made of Palm fronds, spray painted black? Pretty cool.

There are stairs (or maybe just a ladder) inside, and one person at a time can go inside. Joffre scampered up for the photo op, but then a bus of teenagers pulled up, so the rest of us didn't get to go...oh well. Joffre is such a joy to be around, he's really a big kid, and he delights in everything! 

We had come quite a way, just to turn around and go back, so Joffre found a tourism truck that was either $5 per person, or by the hour and he took us to a waterfall and to see a cool hotel on a cliff. This was the Mr Toads Wild Ride part of the day, especially for Alan and Mike in the back of the truck...

Past Cocoa, Banana, and Papaya farms, past a rock quarry and some road construction, and voila,

Yep, this was what we were looking for...but wait...a short walk later

Joffre was quick to lose his shoes and socks, and even pulled a towel from his backpack, he was prepared! I was more interested in the plant life, and per Joffre's urging brought some specimens home for house plants. (Maiden hair Fern, air plants, elephant ear and another Fern)

We got a National Geographic moment walking past these leaf cutter ants, they were amazing to watch, up and over logs and rocks, I can't believe they couldn't find the right leaves closer to their destination, but whatever! Fun to watch.

We headed back to the truck, not quite knowing what was next, but when we are with Joffre we don't worry, we are in good hands. The day was only half over, there was more to see...but I will save the second half of the day for another blog stay tuned, the adventure continues!

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