It was a crisp early Wednesday morning when we left our hotel, Patio Andaluz, to head to the airport. The hotel was famous in the history of Quito and is the oldest hotel in the city. 

Our taxi arrived and in an effort to avoid the busy rush hour traffic we took the back roads through some amazing scenery. However, it turned out that everyone else also took the back roads too and it became a heart stopping moment when we would realise we would miss our check in.

Now, I'm not one to rush to airports. I think I've managed it quite well in the past. You see, I think that you should walk in, check in, go through security and then walk straight on the plane for the doors to be closed behind you. That's success for me.  This morning however, we might not even make check in.

Our taxi driver, a friend of the hotel reception staff, did his utmost to get us through the traffic and skidding to a stop out side Spanishf or domestic terminal. Noy and I planned for her to run to check in whilst i pay and collect our bags.

The check in attendant wasn't too pleased with our late arrival. But reluctantly let us through despite looking at his watch in disgust several times. Through security we lined up to get in the shuttle bus to board the plane. Perfect timing!

The flight from Quito to Coca was short. You barely had time to recline your chair before it had to be out back up as we prepared for landing. The plane made some beautiful passes over the very rainforest that we were going to be travelling through for the next five days. Lucious thick green vegetation that hides the most amazing mammals, insects and birds.

At the airport we were greeted by Freddy, our personal guide for the trip. Freddy, one of eight children in his family, is indigenous to the rainforest. He shared with us the history of Coca, originally a small village, now grown into a large town of 50,000 thanks to the oil industry. The area around the town is home to some oil reserves that national and international organisations are capitalising on. It's actually quite sad to see this lovely, though now oily town, subject to the greed for oil that we all share directly or indirectly.

The flip side of course is that it brings much needed development and employment to the community. It too creates a port of harbour for tourists to explore the rainforest from a different side (most people assume the rainforest is only in Brazil), and provides an opportunity for the more economical transportation of cargo from the east to the west of South America (avoiding the expensive Panama Canal).

We arrived by taxi to our motorised canoe. The next stage of our journey towards the ship we will spend the next five days on. Life jackets on, ponchos at the ready and we were off.

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