Time to leave civilization, or at least the modern one we know, and head towards the jungle. Our little team has grown a little bigger with 2 new members. Simon Monk, the founder of WORLD NOMADS and Bruce Poon Tip, the founder of GAP Adventures. 8 a.m. we all hopped in our little minibus and started our trip. The trick was.. in order to go down, we had to go up. In order to reach the Ecuadorian Amazon, which is at a lower altitude than Quito, we had to first cross the Andes, which is at a much higher altitude, close to 3000m above sea level.
The view was just getting spectacular, as the city fell behind us and we were driving next to volcanoes, with the clouds in our eye level. I realized a bit of altitude sickness was kinda getting to us as we went all the way up then started descending again, but I think no one admitted it in an attempt to rough it up :)
Fiver hours later we entered Tena, our entrance city to the Amazon. We left our minibus and got into more rugged pick up trucks that could withstand the terrain from there onwards.
Refusing to sit inside, we all sat on the back as we drove in deeper into the jungle. My lungs have never been exposed to fresher air as I stood up feeling the rushing wind just blow in me and through me. The magnificent greenery just devoured us sucking us deeper in. Gotta say, coming from Cairo, where green is not the most common color, I felt like I was not only in a completely different continent, but more of a completely different planet!
Our first stop was the local school that WORLD NOMADS funded it's building and renovation through it's micro-donations. It was just a completely different feeling to connect with those kids. What's funny is that I was comparing little children of my friends that would be so shy upon first meeting someone new, as opposed to these kids who would literally get thrown into your arms laughing!