Monday, March 7
Today we had no morning outing, so we got to sleep in – our wake-up knock wasn’t until 6:30 am! We put our bags outside to be picked up by the staff, went for breakfast, and by 7:30 we were on our way across Pilchicocha for the last time. We said our goodbyes to Pablo and then continued to the boat dock at the river. Donning our life jackets we boarded the boat. It was a full load today and the river was lower, so we all had to help rock the boat back and forth until it came loose from the muddy bank.
Today it took about two hours to make the trip back upstream to Coca. We tracked the trip using the GPS and saw that the maximum speed was 34 km/h, although we frequently had to slow down for shallow areas. Once in Coca we went to Sacha’s house and had a quick lunch, although it was only 10:30 am. But then one of the staff announced that that the morning flight to Quito had been delayed and that if we were quick we could all get on that flight. So we hurriedly gathered our gear and boarded a bus for the short ride to the airport. Our bags were quickly checked in, we were given boarding passes, then we all headed through security.
Apparently the flight had been delayed leaving Coca due to the weather. At the time we departed, the rain was coming down in torrents one minute and then stopping a few minutes later. We heard that this flight might have been the only one able to leave Coca today, so we were lucky to be on it. Back at the Quito airport we said goodbye to our guide Tino and to our group mates Charles, Dagmar, John, and Fran.
The taxi ride from the airport into the city went quickly, this time only costing us $8. This time we had a different room in the hotel, one with three beds. Barb had already checked in so after a bit we went up to her suite to get her. We had told the owner of a tour company that we would pay for our planned Cotopaxi tour today so the three of us walked over to the L’Auberge Inn, where the company’s office was located. However it was now Carnival time in Ecuador and it was a long weekend holiday, so nobody was there. However the owner of the inn made a note to say we had been there and told us not to worry about it.
One of the fun things Ecuadorians do at Carnival is to spray people, and walking back to the hotel we did get sprayed a couple of times by revellers in passing cars. But luckily for us the modern version is a coloured form which dissolves quickly with no mess. Back at the hotel we did some blog posting before going out to dinner. Matthew arrived from Miami at about 8 pm, and the four of us had a nice long chat before going to our rooms. We were all tired from our various travels so we headed to bed.