To my shock, there is a vegetarian restaurant here in Coca. This is very, very good news, as I have reached the point where the prospect of another plate of rice and beans is borderline soul-crushing. And to think, it was all of three blocks away from my hotel this entire time!
It is fitting that I would discover this restaurant yesterday, because today, I am leaving.
I´ve spent the last few days frustratedly trying to find something “exciting” to do this weekend. I figure that if I´m spending six weeks in the Amazon, I need to come back with a picture of me half eaten by a python or dodging spears. Yesterday, opportunity struck, in the form of a Huaorani friend who offered to take me into their territory for a few days. He seems like a nice enough guy, although the lengthy discussion of how, in traditional Huaorani custom, if you do something wrong they will kill you was a bit disconcerting. Still, I had a George Bush and Vladimir Putin I-looked-into-his-eyes-and-saw-a-good-man moment, and am going to let my trust in humanity get the better of me.
From a research point of view, I am really excited about this opportunity, which I think will be the cherry on top of my thesis. Everyone seems have to have a strong opinion about the Huaorani: about half say that they still live like savages, and the other half says that they are all rich off of oil company largesse. I don´t get the impression that many of these people have ever talked to a Huaorani, though, and while my own lack of Huaorani-speaking-skills and limited time means that I won´t be able to accomplish too much, I do think I might be able to add something important to the discussion.
This could be a total scam, of course, and I could spend all day waiting at my hotel for a guide that never comes. But in the event that he does, this blog will be silent for the next few days. If I don´t come back by Tuesday, you can look for a body near Shiripuno and Bameno. A soldier got eaten by a python the other day. That is all.