Tag Archives: Rio Napo

A Day in Shiripuno and Misahualli

Jun 22 – Today we accompanied Janis and Luisa on a six mile trip by taxi to the nearby indigenous community of Shiripuno and the town of Misahualli.

Shiripuno serves as a traveler’s hostel with the hope of attracting tourists. It is run by a women’s cooperative. Right on the Rio Napo, some of their crops were damaged by yesterday’s floods.

Plantain
Coconut

The women demonstrated how to crush manioc, a root vegetable that can be cooked as a sort of bread. It is mixed with wayusa tea, wrapped in sweet leaf and roasted in the fire.

In another recipe, the manioc is chewed by all the women, then spit back into a communal bowl where it ferments for several days or weeks, then used as an intoxicant. We were offered some wayusa.

We were shown a huge rock that is said to be spiritually powerful. In the rock you can see a face and a tapir.

See the face?
See the tapir?

The women drummed and danced for us. Janis said the blue outfits, beads and grass skirts are a recent addition to attract tourists, but the dance is authentic, characterized by the swinging of their long hair. Grass skirts may have been used in pre-Colombian times.

There was a three year old just learning the dance, who was having a very good time doing her own thing. So cute!

Then we ventured into Misahualli. Here they imported some monkeys in the hopes of attracting tourists. There’s a monkey statue in the square.

Luisa, Janis, Luisa’s sister Eludia and Jim

The town’s primary attraction is canoe rides down the churning Napo River.

Grilled grubs are a delicacy here. Live grubs are skewered, then grilled, still wriggling.

After a few minutes, they are ready to serve. Jim pronounced them juicy and tasty!

The capuchin monkeys entertained the visitors, very active for mid-afternoon.

Misahualli is a very poor town, with an interesting variety of tourist shops and expats.

Jim and I would have explored more thoroughly, but Luisa at 90 could not walk far, so before too long we took a taxi back to Iyarina. An interesting day.

Iyarina Research Center, near Tena Ecuador

Jun 16 – It rained all night and into the morning, reminding us that we are indeed in a rain forest. Here are some more of the beautiful plants growing all around us.

At mid morning, Jim’s colleague Charles and his wife Janis picked us up and drove us out to Iyarina Lodge, an educational compound about half an hour from Tena. Iyarina is in the Amazon jungle, right on the Rio Napo. Charles and Janice are both professors at Brigham Young University in Utah, and have been coming here every summer since the 1980s to study the Quechua people who live here. Janis is the authority on their language and Charles is a cultural anthropologist.

The center hosts college and post doc students studying linguistics, anthropology, and biology. It seems that some very interesting spiders đŸ•· and frogs 🐾 live here. We have a beautiful big room overlooking the river. Here is our view.

Here is our bathroom!

There are hiking trails and lava formations, and perhaps a trip to a local village nearby. Jim will present some sociology and shamanism to the students. It should be an interesting two weeks.