The road to Puyo winds further down out of the Andes and through single and double lane tunnels. The rough hewn walls of which leave evidence of either blasting or manual excavation instead of modern boring machines. The longest of these measures almost 1km.
There is really not much here in Puyo. It’s definitely a working man’s town. Travel not far off the main road and you will find small mills and other fabs with relative frequency. One comes here for the rain forest against which the city is nestled.
Fueled by a lunch of ice cream and locally pulled taffy we arrived with just enough time for a forest conservation tour with an ex-pat. This area of the forest was all pasture just 15 years ago but now looks as if it has always been there. He is married to an indigenous woman (a practitioner of natural medicine) and works to help locals improve their relationship with the environment and general conservationy things.
Apparently all the flush toilets in the area/country dump directly out into rivers. Locals use the rivers for bathing, washing, and etc. I assume this is why one cannot flush toilet paper. I feel pretty shitty now whenever I flush a toilet.
The shops in the center of town are tightly packed and reminiscent of some old world bazaar. But now electronics, blenders, hardware, and Angry Birds sandals are the norm. Don’t worry, there are still cow heads and sacks of grains to be seen near the mercado. It is quite clear that few gringos wander through there. Some little child pushed towards us by his elder brother whispering, “gringo, gringo,” looked visibly terrified by our apparition like paleness.
Chinese food here, chifa, is decent. Rice and potatoes have taken the place of noodles. It was the only place downtown that didn’t look too sketchy.
There is a monkey preserve 15 minutes by car from the hotel for animals displaced or misused by human society. They used to roam free but only this year have been caged due to local health regulations. This was one of the scarier excursions we have under taken. Between the caretakers warning of “watch out for snakes on the trail” and a pair of threatening monkeys, I was fairly shaken. Less by the monkeys, more by the threat of bush maters, fer de lance, and etc. Maybe the monkeys wouldn’t have bitten us but there was no one around to say they wouldn’t. I prefer imagining being bitten by one instead of knowing.