So to occupy some time, we went to the Waorani shop in town to buy some nice items handcrafted by the Huaorani tribe (with the proceeds going to them). The shop was filled with really nice jewelry, bags, and other items; all of which was really reasonably priced.
We wandered around town waiting for lunch time, then had lunch at a little Chifa, which is a Chinese food restaurant here, but with an Ecuadorean flare. We had some pretty good stir fried rice with shrimp and, unexpectedly, chicken and, of course, French fries, which seems to come with every meal in this country.
After that we grabbed a cab to Paseo de Los monos. I believe this reserve has had to undergo several changes recently due to new government regulations and most of the animals are now in large fenced areas and we are not allowed to touch them. In the past, I believe that the monkeys were free roaming and would climb all over you when you entered the reserve. We only saw three monkeys free to roam and two of them seemed like major trouble makers and at one point we really thought they were going to attack us. To make the whole experience even a bit more adventurous, the guy working there at the moment didn't speak English and all Dylan could make out was "beware of snakes on the trail"! So here we were wandering around the jungle without a guide after being told to look out for snakes and we had two scary, seemingly angry monkeys chasing after us! I think we were both terrified. Haha.
The monkeys are in this sanctuary either because they are injured or too domesticated to return to the wild. They were rescued from the animal trade or the like. Besides the monkeys, there were at least 2 coatis, which I had not seen that close before. Boy are they cute!
We had to walk half the way back to town (read LONG walk!) before we could get a taxi to stop for us. I think the guy who did stop had pulled out of a bar just down the road from us, but if he was drunk, I couldn't tell.
We once again had dinner at our hotel, El Jardin, after trying to eat at the hotel next door and finding the place empty with all the lights off (they did turn them on for us), but they had no beer or bottled water so luckily that was a good enough reason for us to leave.
The dinner at our hotel was once again amazing. We split a papas de locras soup that is made from potato, cheese (queso fresco), and avocado that was light and had a perfect mix of herbs as seasoning. We also split a Greek salad and a vegetable casserole with oven-crisped cheese on top.
We ended the evening in the Japanese wooden hot tub (ofuro) with a large bottle of beer. Ah relaxation!