Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Places to Go, People to Meet

It would be right to say that I am finding it difficult to leave Peurto Lopez. Despite my descriptions of dirty streets, failing structure etc this place has a relaxed charm, feels safe and every local friendly as can be. The intention was 2 nights, but already I have stayed 3 then woke up this morning and decided not to leave. Maybe this has something to do with my adventure yesterday which goes back to an encounter, I failed to report, when I first arrived here. I alighted the bus right next to a 'fish stale', something I have never been able to resist. Whilst scanning the catch a couple from Glastonbury of all places stopped for a chat, put me right about this hostel and suggested I might be able to use their Internet in town. Saying they'd be in touch we parted company me thinking little more of it.

Arrived by 'Chicken Bus' Superior

The Main Drag, Peurto Lopez

The Communal Restaurant

A typical Hacienda

Hostel Colombia Entrance

Hostel Colombia Garden

Mama and son Gallo the Owners

Breakfast, fresh fruit, home made bread, eggs & coffee

Yesterday morning I once again visited the fish landing area on the beach, then after breakfast headed for Ayampe a small hamlet 45 minutes south of here. Unfortunately, none of the afore mentioned 'endemics' were seen, but Speckled-breasted Wren, Masked Water Tyrant and Ochre-bellied Dove reached the World List, while Variable & Lesson's Seedeater were both additions for the trip. The area is described as a river valley, but little of the Rio remain save patches of ankle deep water blocking the path. which occasionally took some crossing. It was a good morning and on my return Gallo the owner told me that the Somerset people had been looking for me with a view to paying them a visit.

Brown Pelican

Masked Water Tyrant - a delightful Wheatear like bird.

Variable Seedeater

Yellow-rumped Cacique

Pacific Parrotlet

A quick phone call soon had the meet arranged and via a motorbike taxi arrived at their house at 14-30. Richard Lunniss an Archeologist and his partner Deirdre Platt an Ecologist arrived here in 1982, since when they have hardly ever left the place and now appeared to me to be completely 'native'. It was most interesting to here how the land they now live on was an ancient township including huge houses, markets and Shaman places of worship, but thus far Richard had resisted the temptation to dig up the back garden. Deirdre on the other hand, had contented herself with forming their own wildlife sactuary planting trees and bushes to attract birds, insects etc. I didn't get round to counting her garden Bird List but noted there were 'many' species I would like to have added to my own. They were also able to further my progress by giving me the names of 2 birders in Salinas, my next destination, and where to find them. Texts were also sent to each to brief them of my arrival, so who knows, it's anothe 'wait and see' situation! After a cup of tea and making another 'world addition' of Scrub Blackbird we said our farewells and I headed back to town. There I was hopeful of getting another quarter chicken from the spit-raost man, but he was our of action. Second best was the lady with a BBQ so I bought 3 pieces from her. These were obviously select cuts, only selected by the butcher to 'throw away', seen-off again. With the Internet back at base playing up, all I was able to do was edit the photos and get an early shower and head down.

Motorbike Tuk-Tuk, first class transport to visit my new found friends.

Deirdre, Richard & Me enjoying tea in the shade.

Scrub Blackbird

This morning (Tuesday 5th January) I was down the beach again at first light, to find twice as many people and 100 x more fish, the New Year holiday was over. Now in addition to the small Tuna there were Hammerhead & Sand Sharks, Groupa, Red Mullet and even a Pacific version of Herring. What did come as a surprise, and a shock, was the landing of Manta Rays. I have never given a thought to this fish being a food source, and in my naivety considered these the 'untouchables' (along with Dolphin) of the Oceans.

The rest of today, I'm simply going to chill (if I can possibly get any more chilled than already), catch up on my notes, photographs and Blog, then go down the road for a cup of the local coffee which, in keeping with the rest of the trip, is superb. In fact Deirdre has just popped in, as this is by coincidence 'their office' and Internet that I'm using.