Rest assured there at least five or six Ecuadorians that won't be recording, "Do You Know The Way To Tena" anytime soon. Leaving Quito along Av 6 Diecembre, I am initially headed in the right direction for Tena, however my inquiry to a toll-booth worker adds the first bit of confusion.
She's not sure if I need to go "Norte" or "Sur" for Tena or maybe my command of the Spanish language is not as good as I think it is. All those trips to Taco Bell, wasted.
I head "Sur" but with an uncertain feeling.
Frequent stops to easy my uncertain feeling does not help until 30-40 minutes into the drive at a Petrol Station I am told to do a 180 and "mano a la derecha" in about 15 minutes.
Through small towns I witness the hustle and bustle of everyday Ecuadorian life. Children unload in colorful uniforms from school buses even as cars and other buses belching black smoke maneuvers nearby.
Somehow it works without crossing guards and requiring all other vehicles to stop.
About 4 hours into my journey, I get my first real confirmation that I am headed in the right direction. A huge road sign with "Tena" 90KM away.
A minor relief as I have practically spent the previous 3 hours continuously distracted from my dilemma by the fascinating landscape.
All of this combined with curving gravel roads, light rain and rainforest like foliage of various density and shades of greens makes for a natural escape from a feeling of being lost.
From Quito to Tena about 6 hours, doing it my way.