Today’s been mostly a sad day.
The route was ok. There just couple of kilometers (5) until you arrive to the paved road from Yamuzo, and from then onwards is mostly paved, except some short and hard bits in between. You will still sweat a lot there… It’s flat on average, but there are some hard and very short climbs. If you get a sunny day (like I did) better bring lots of water!
There are couple of small house settlements and 2 main towns along the route: the smaller Cueza and the much bigger La Hormiga. This last one pretends to be a proper city when it’s not… Lots of hotels, cars, restaurants and random shops. Doesn’t fit that properly in the Amazonian region, but I guess people require a place like that sometimes.
Entering into Ecuador is increadibly easy (actually, you can do it without going through inmigration!! I had to ask to find the place!! The road basically takes you straight into the country. Oh, and the border is not by the river but 3 km further in). Once there, the road is really good and it’s just an easy ride. You can stop for a swim in some of the pools by the rivers.
Ok. So an easy cycling day.
That night somebody has blown the pipeline/oilduct through the jungle. The road I’ve been following has been build up basically to create that pipe, so you cycle along that one all the time. Blowing it off means oil spilled everywhere (including little reservoirs/lakes) and some fire burning non-stop (they had to wait til all the oil in the pipe was burned; that was the way of fighting he fire). Oh, you have to cycle next to the fire. I can tell you it was hot. Burning hot.
Still, I understand them doing that. Today was the 5th day without electricity in the area. Yes, previous day I only had a candle and my lanterns where I stopped for the night. A hotel, they call it. With no electricity. They were saying sorry all the time, sorry for not having electricity. I told them I didn’t mind but still…
Most of the people in the area need electricity at some point to keep their businesses running. Not all, but most. Can’t the goverment go and fix the electricity issue in 5 days?!? Would they allow that to happen in Bogota for example?!? So how come they can still extract 300 lorries of oil a day (each one carrying 10.000 gallons of petrol) but don’t give a sh*t about fixing the electricity for an area (at least) 100 km wide?!?
Sure, the place is full of military. Kids, basically. Very nice all of them. They will tease you or help you, they’re very kind. They don’t care much about the rest. They just drive their tanks in the jungle (I saw 7 today) and do no more.
I’m sure somebody in the news will say FARC has attented against the interests of Colombia; lies…
The pipe is not working at the moment. It will again soon. Still, you can see oil spillages in lots of places. Not only where they had blown the pipe off, but in lots of other places. It was quite sad to cycle through such a beautiful place nobody seems to give anything about…
Ecuador, so far, seems pretty similar. Here they had to sell the petrol in return for electricity, education etc, things that should be provided by the state just because. The worst are the signs showing how proud somebody is of that “exchange”…
Tomorrow will be another day.