Departures (2008–…): Season 3, Episode 7 - Ecuador - full transcript

Are you wondering how healthy the food you are eating is? Check it -
(upbeat music)

- [Scott] We're on route to Ecuador

and we just sort of felt like,

we hadn't seen enough of South America.

It's a big continent.

There's a lot to see.

And Ecuador provides
a lot in a small area.

(upbeat music)

There are some major spots
that we we wanted to see.

Before we head to the Amazon,

we wanted to get to the Galapagos islands.

We're gonna meet up with José when we land

and he's gonna take us out
of the big city of Quito

and out into nature.

Every step in this world trip

has taken us further away from home

to places we never expected to see.

- [Justin] Two years ago, I
would never have understood

how much this journey would change me.

- [Scott] This is why we travel.

This is the reason that we're out here.

(upbeat music)

- We're taking a bit of a
different approach this time

and wanting to have a wild adventure

to really kickstart this country.

We knew from the get-go
that we were in good hands

and we were gonna have
a good trip with José.

He did a lot of studying for ecology,

conservation, things like that.

We were able to get ourselves
deep into the Cloud Forest.

Of course, at the hands of José,

he knows how to pick the
places to really experience it.

You get to see right away

that he's really proud of his country.

In order get across the canyon

and to get to our rappelling.

We need to cross on a kind
of huge cable car, I guess.

(engine roaring)

Interesting to see how
they've rigged it up

to get this thing across the canyon.

- There's a clutch and everything, right?

So he can just shift up.

And there's like pieces
of it all over the place.

Feels like a ride at a carnival
or something, you know?

- Yeah.

- Kinda make shift, you know what I mean,

not sure how good they installed it.

- You don't wanna go inside?

Being above the trees

and being able to see
the landscape around you.

It was just a fantastic
way to get things going.

(soft music)

We're gonna hike to a point

where we can actually
rappel down a waterfall.

Hopefully get some really good vistas

and see some stuff along the way.

- Over 1600 species that
we can find in this forest,

mainly Cloud forest.

- is the common potoo.

It's a nocturnal bird.

And right now it's right
in the middle of the sun

that's coming up.

But, it's best defense is camouflage.

- That's the most incredible camouflage

I've seen in my whole entire life.

It looks like a part of the log

and I sat here forever

and then realized, like, that's a bird!

- Right here is called the angel trumpet.

This one has a very
powerful hallucinogenic.

It's extremely potent.

It can go through your course

just by rubbing it in your arm.

You can have a little bit just
to have a sense of the take.

I promise you, you won't be tripping out.

- [Justin] Will you try some?

- No.

- The important thing to acknowledge here

not to be afraid of all
these things is that

this plants are here to
give us certain power.

That's how our people used
to do it for hundreds,

thousands of years.

- The cool part about being
in Ecuador is, I mean,

you don't just wander
through these rainforest,

you know, these cloud forest.

You just get involved with them.

- You okay?

I haven't done this in a long time.

So I could come back a little bit.

You know, it's all about placing your feet

in the right Spot.

It's always scary from the top.

(upbeat music)

- I really get the
feeling that, with José,

that he shares the same sorta appreciation

for the world around you.

He knows where to go and
he knows how to show you.

- Welcome to the Mindo Ropes and zipline.

- José when you're
telling us we're gonna see

a bit of the Highlands.

This isn't what I was expecting.

- One of my best suggestions
to enjoy the cloud forest.

- It's around 65 kilometer per hour.

- This is by far the best
perspective you'll ever get

from the forest.

- Once you start breaking on this,

you're gonna feel some
heat in these gloves I bet.

- We'll catch you guys in the other side.

- He's lost some speed?

- Still going.

All right. Let's give it a roll.

- Definitely this is the
closest feeling to flying.

- This is where we're gonna be living

for the next little while.

So, let's enjoy it.


- Am I allowed to do this?

This is okay.

- [Scott] It's Refreshing
when you get off the plane

and you're greeted by
a friendly face saying,

"Hey, let's go do something
fun and let's get out there."

If you're lucky

that you actually made the decision

to come to this country.

Smell the fresh air and see
the tiny little micro-climates.

You really do realize where
you are and how lucky you are.

How much of a special place this is.

- We haven't been here 24 hours

and I've already, you know,

accomplished something
I've always wanted to do.

So, all in the first day.

The most perfect live
I've ever seen my life.

It just gives you that feeling.

It feels that you're just flying

through the trees with the birds.

It's such a great experience.

(soft music)

(Car whizzing by)

To get the night started off,

to get everybody pumped up,

we're jumping off a bridge.

We're jumping off the system bridge

that cars are gonna be going by.

I think there's a freeway
that's underneath it.

You know, it's just..

- Hey Miles, if you have the equipment,

you can jump up whenever you want.

So we're lucky enough
that José has gonna do,

try some test jumps today.

And if you guys are up for
it, I mean, we can go for it.

- That's good.
- Test jumps.

- Best safety in the third world man.

It can't get any better than this.

- The way it works is that

they just set up ropes
and they just jump off.

And there's no law that
says you can't do this.

So they're doing it.

- I'd say it's a hundred meters, maybe.

Somewhere between two and 300 feet.

- Look at that. Single knot.

- [Andre] All right, that's good to know.

- Wow.

Maybe a bad idea. I don't know.

- As all good friends
will normally suggest

to you at one point or
another in your life.

Why don't we go jump off a bridge?

And, what my mom told me about that

is a little hazy, right now.

I think she said,
"Always jump off a bridge

if your friends ask."

- Okay guys. So, am gonna test the ropes.

So, do it.



- [Justin] Here he comes again.


- Nicely done, man.

- [Justin] Good job, man.

- How do you feel.

- This is the way to start the night.

So who's next?

- Sorry.

This ensures it can be an open casket.

- My heart is just pounding.

So, let's do it.
- [José] Whenever you want.

- [Justin] Last words?

- Nope, no last words.

Nothing. I can't think
of damn thing. All right.

- [Justin] Ready?

- Oh shit.


- Can't wait.

- If you want to grab the rope, it's okay.

You can grab it from here.

- [José] Don't think of it, jump

- Yeah. The more you think
the more it gets worse.

- This is scary jumping this way.

I really don't wanna do it now.

- [Everyone] Four, three, two, one, soar.


- Okay. One more.

- We're pushing you this time.

- [Everyone] Five, four,
three, two, one, go.


(guitar music)

- Oh my God, that was
absolutely priceless.

Andre, you should do it.

Come on man.

- [Andre] No.

- Come on.

- Wonder if anyone knows about
my massive fear of heights.

Okay. I'm like, man, my
heart's just pounding.

- It's awesome man.
- Yeah.

- Yeah. I don't know if
you wanna do back backers,

it's just pretty scary for some reason.


- See you guys later.

- I think Andre did it the best way,

just to do it.

- So you see is a green
product, it's ecological.

Everything comes in bikes, goes in bikes.

- These guys are nuts.

They just carry their ropes

and then just tie it up to a bridge

and get the party going.

From here we're gonna fly out
into the Galapagos islands

to experience one of the
most unique ecosystems

on the entire planet.

- We were too anxious to
kinda wait around for the bus

to leave the airport.

We touched down in Galapagos

so we just jumped in
the back of this truck.

- Anything I've ever
read about this place,

it always just depicts how animals

and humans can co-exist in the same place.

There's not too many places on this earth

that actually experienced that.

The best part about traveling around.

You get to fulfill boyhood
dreams like I have just now.

Stepping on Galapagos islands.

Absolutely fabled places on earth

that people just don't get to.

- This morning, we're going
to dive with some hammerheads.

We're gonna go to a spot
called Gordon's Rocks.

- Sick. Sick on the
biggest day of the trip.

- I mean, if you're feeling lightheaded,

that's a bad thing to go diving with.

- This doesn't make any sense.

Cause I've been, there's
nothing I haven't eaten

that was different.

But something went in my system

and my body did not want it in there.

- So this is the day I would say you have

to be a hundred percent to go dive in.

Like, if you're not a hundred percent,

then you shouldn't be going.

(guitar music)

We just carved outside of the main channel

on the North side of Santa Cruz Island

in the open water on the
East side of Santa Cruz.

- I am completely psyched now.

I can't believe we're gonna do this.

The hammerheads are waiting.

The weather is perfect.

Seems like everything is going well.

Well beside Justin being not here.

But all the positive vibes
are lining up together.

- Pile of volcanic rocks over there.

That's Gordon rocks.

That's our dive site for today.

So hopefully there's a lot
of big fish waiting for us.

- Hammerhead sharks, hammerhead
sharks like the white meat,

especially from Canada.

- Come and get it.

- Well, it's been two hours

since the guys have left

and I feel fine now.

A thousand and one, a thousand and two.

I'll show you where I
spent my whole night.

The living laboratory of evolution.

They don't teach you
some stuff about birds.

13 species of Darwin's finches

evolved from a single....

(gentle music)

- I was so preoccupied with seeing shark

that I really didn't take notice at first

of just how much was around us.

Eventually you start

to see this definition
between the sea floor

and these dark figures,

these silhouettes of
what can be nothing other

than hammerhead Sharks.

It's a dive experience
that I will remember

for the rest of my life.

If you really want to experience

truly one of a kind
ecosystem on this earth

and you're willing to respect it

and give it time to learn from it

then yeah, this is a special place.

We've come up to the Darwin
research station here.

Someone from this station, Christophe,

has been doing a lot of research here

on and off over the past 15 years or more.

Being able to show us around here

and kind of tell us what we're looking at.

Probably one of the most iconic

of all the animals to see
on the Galapagos islands,

which is the giant tortoise.

With tortoises like these,

like obviously we can get close to them

because they've never
really developed that fear.

- That's the peculiarity
of Galapagos animals.

They just evolve without predators

and well they don't know fear.

- Have you noticed the time you spend here

and there has there been a change,

have you seen something?

- One of the last places in the world

where we had this kind
of relation to nature

and which is not the spring.

- They may be slow, but
they are intimidating.

Got a racer number, 58.

- After yesterday, I
never expected to be able

to beat the record of getting
that close to an animal.

It's easy for these guys
to grow to this size.

All you need is a lot of time

and without any real predators, you know,

it's easy to grow to the ripe
old age of 150 years old.

- This is how magical this place is. Wow.

- You know, these islands just came up

out of the ocean as a volcanic eruption.

They were never attached to
the continent at any point.

So, how did all this stuff get here?

How did these guys get here?

They figured that they
were probably a lot smaller

and they actually just got washed across

all the way from the mainland.

- It's just kind of sad to know that

when did they first started
studying this tortoise

there were like 15 species
around the islands.

Now we have 11 left.

- This island has a lot
of stuff going for it.

Not only are there tortoises here

but there are the marine iguanas.

From the landscape to the environment

and the vegetation around us you'd think

that we were walking through
Arizona or something.

- [Justin] I actually think
there's some magic here

because this island is very unique

and it's very unique to the world.

Some of the most amazing
types of species of animals

are here, in this area.

- This is the only species of iguana

that have aquatic behavior.

That live by the water.

That's one of the things
that amazed the most

to Charles Darwin was that.

To see iguanas by the ocean swimming.

- You're able to get to these animals.

That again, just have no fear of humans.

The only time that there's
been an interaction

between these animals and humans is

just been in the time.

It's spitting. It's spit on me.

- When they're on the lava rocks,

they're almost impossible to see.

They're almost invisible.

Not invisible, invisible.

- The camouflage is kind
of like unexplainable here

'cause they really have no
predators to fear about.

- Maybe it's because black absorbs the sun

and since they're in the water,

they're cold-blooded,

that kinda heats them
up a little bit more.

- Yeah, most of them are theories

and yours is a really good theory.

- There you go.

Diamond junior, DJ.

- The kids are gonna call you doju.

- [Scott] What made these
islands special were

obviously these plants and these animals

that are extremely unique

that evolved and developed on their own

without any kind of influence from man.

At least initially.

But, as we've seen,

and as we've learned with
our time here in the islands,

because of so many growing problems

and the increasing numbers
of residents and visitors

and the footprint that we leave,

extinction is rising

and the animals are slowly disappearing.

- You don't have to travel

to the other side of the world

to realize that there are
problems happening right now.

What was once a, island where no one came,

everybody's coming.

And because of that

the animals are suffering.

Us being here are we part
of the problem, sorta?

You know I think the best thing you can do

is ask questions, right?

- There's a lot more to the highlands

than just the pure nature itself.

There's a lot of culture

that's been here for a long, long time.

- (indistinct) the car, we get out

and there's like this parade going on.

And, apparently they're
worshiping the sun god

which is kinda weird

because the sun's not
out right now. But hey.

(guitar music)

- They're inviting us
to the party you know.

This is a conglomeration of
communities getting together.

This whole week is a lot
of drinking and enjoying.

The festivities are back.

This big group just takes over a house

and takes all the booze and the food

and then keeps going
and find the next house.

This keeps going on all night long.

See how they are getting
in the house right now.

(traditional music)

- Just looking for the open door house

and we're going in and we're raiding that.

- [José] I don't know,

they plan on going probably all night.

- I guess that's the idea.

You go until the sun comes up again.

- Well, we were driving
in the right direction,

it's paid off.

(traditional music)

- She's the owner of the house

and she's inviting you to
enjoy her very own recipe

of this chicha drink apparently prepared

from four days before.

And she wants you try it.

- It's like Halloween for grown ups.

You know, instead of candy
you come in, you get,

this sort of like, come in, here I am,

playing a song, I'm entertaining you.

Okay. Now give me booze and
food and am out of here.

In the spirit of Inti Raymi,

in celebration of the
sun and of the harvest

and good health and just an
overall appreciation for life.

It seems a celebration of life.

(joyful music)

In the morning, we were headed to town

and see a lot of the
different indigenous groups

take to the square.

(gentle music)

This morning, as soon as you get up

and even last night you can hear

that Inti Raymi is
still alive and kicking.

- This is about to get crazy here. Wow.

(gentle music)

- It's a bunch of communities
split up in two groups.

The guys from Kalera
and the guys from Topo.

- The way the police are decked out

you can pretty much tell

that there's gonna be
a boiling point reached

at some point today.

- This is a day where they release

all the little troubles

that they have in between their community.

- Ecuador obviously got its
name derived from the fact

that the equator runs right through it.

And a lot of people seem to feel

that charges Ecuador with strange energy.

- (indistinct) is one of the head chiefs

of the police force.

He's telling us that past years

there'd been some debts in terms of,

on this festivity.

The Inti Raymi gets
pretty rough sometimes.

That's why there's over
400 policemen today

trying to keep the order.

Of course, sometimes it gets out of hand.

That's why you can see all the tear gas,

all the cute bombs, all
the equipment heavy,

heavy armed police force.

(speaking foreign language)

- The last thing we wanna do
is float around this world

and see it all through
rose colored glasses.

It's that's just not the way it is.

Kinda scratch the surface a little bit

and you kinda understand the
world a little bit better.

- Moonshine.

If somebody picks up a
fight the fight will begin.

But this particular
group are pretty friendly

they don't wanna fight.

They're just dancing

and celebrating the Pachamama.

- It's just such a bizarre
sight. You know what I mean.

Everybody, from towns all around the area,

everyone's come down to gather.

They're all gathered on
the steps of the church.

The statue of Jesus Christ
looking out over the main square.

- [Justin] I find with
traveling you become connected

with the places you've been to.

And you feel for it.

It's not just a name on a map.

It's a part of me.

- [Scott] The longer you're here

the more divides you seem to find.

Every different region of this country

has their own struggles and problems.

Which makes it all the more interesting

and all the more amazing.

The fact that this country
stays together and stays proud.

This beautiful diverse land

with so many different geographic regions.

It gives way for so many different people

and obviously ways that both plant, animal

and human have adapted to that.

- [Justin] Now we're going to
the other side of the country.

We're going right into the Amazon.

- I think we've learned from the past

that the road can only take us so far.

For this trip in order to get
deep enough into the Amazon,

we're gonna need to go as
far as the road can take us.

And then from there take a plane.

This is a town of Shell.

It's a small town

right at the beginning
of the Amazon itself.

People came out here and settled this area

because of the oil that
was discovered out here.

The prosperity of that
gave the town an airport

and it gives us a chance to use this

as a hopping point to get
much deeper into the Amazon.

We got about a one hour flight
to get where we're going.

And soon we'll be amongst
the Huaorani tribes.

Weather changes quickly we
just wanna get in the air.

Right now the pilot is gonna fly low

so that we can get a really good look

at the surrounding area, the canopy,

and even below the canopies.

Some of the rivers that
are running through here.

It's amazing.

- Could you tell the
pilot to have some fun.

Do whatever he wants.

Let's feel some jeez.

(speaking foreign language)


(upbeat music)

- I usually sleep during
flights, not that one.

- We are now officially
in Huaorani territory.

We are in the middle of the Amazon.

- This guy is..

Is he picking us up on the way back?

I hope so.

(aircraft buzzing)

- This is Moi. He's the Huaorani leader.

Hey, this is the Anila.

This is Moi's daughter.

(speaking foreign language)

Hey, Moi, speaks a little bit of English.

- How are you?

- Nice to meet you.

- They'd been battling against white men

because, for them,
white men they come here

to eat their souls, pretty much.

And I can't blame them
because they've seen loggers,

they've seen oil companies come in

and they haven't had
a really good contact.

Right now they're starting

to get into this whole ecotourism deal.

And hoping that there's gonna be a change

and kinda like a new type of
relationship with white people.

- Moi has invited us to his house.

Just to sit down and
chat with him for a bit.

We're kinda interested to
find out a little bit more

about how they've
maintained a life out here

in the middle of the rainforest.

- So he says he's got four daughters.

One of them lives in Argentina,

the other one in Washington DC

and the other one in Africa.

So he earned because of
his family tradition,

through his father's work,

he won five scholarships for all his kids.

- Just how long has he lived here?

(speaking foreign language)

- [José] Four years.

- [Justin] Just four years.

(speaking foreign language)

- He says he wants to make make friends

with Barack Obama now.

He says that he thinks he
is gonna be a good friend.

- [Justin] Bush no good?

- There's an original Huaorani spear

that his father used to,

use for killing, for
battle, for territory.

This spear has actually killed people.

And the reason why they
put feathers of birds

is so this spear will fly
into the enemy like a bird.

- We just brought in a new blow dart gun

and he actually put a dart into this one.

Okay. Now I'm all set to try these loaded,

I'm gonna try to fire it
into the bananas there. Wow.

- The veins of a palm leaf to
make the darts, really sharp.

And they also use a type
of poison called Curare

which is made out of different herbs.

But it's the main vine that has the toxin.

And it's a very powerful muscle relaxant.

- With that muscle relaxant

that they put on those darts.

The last thing you wanna do
is take a really deep breath

too close to it.

Or else you are like...

(gulps air)

And now we've graduated
into a much larger,

a much more real sized up blow dart gun

that the Huaorani would
actually hunt with.

With Moi doing it, hopefully
a lot more lung power as well.

So we're gonna see how far we
can actually shoot this thing

and what kind of accuracy we can get.

- So this one has the poison, the Curare.

So if it goes inside

the monkey will break it

and leave the poison inside.

And with the temperature of the body

it will melt down and
go into the bloodstream.

- He also said he can take
like four or five monkeys out

before the whole group
of monkeys even realize

what's going on.

- It's a nation of warriors and hunters.

It's in their blood.

Yeah, absolutely. It's in their blood.

I mean, that's how they have
survived for hundreds of years

in this forest.

- Could one dark kill
a man can kill a man?

(speaking foreign language)

- In five, from three to
five minutes you're dead

after getting this on
your bloodstream. Okay.

- Make sure you put
the right end in there.

(speaking foreign language)


In order to try to protect
the Huaorani tribe,

the Huaorani territory
and the Huaorani culture

they've had to adopt modern philosophies

like introducing
ecotourism into their area

in order to protect themselves

and their land from the oil companies.

- They leave very very little footprint.

They do a really good waste management.

They have an organic farm.

Is there a certain thing, certain details

that make a real ecotourism project work?

- That's one of those
low emission ones, right?

They've done everything they can

to keep the culture and
minimize the impact.

- These guys might turn a small profit

but if they decided to,

oh, let's sell our land.

And you know, start drilling and drilling.

How much money they can make?

They can make millions upon
millions upon millions, right?

But they don't, they said, no,

we're not gonna do that.

Instead. We're gonna
build something on here

so nobody can destroy this land.

And that way it can be here forever.

(soft music)

- We found out that
the chief of the tribe,

his father has just passed
away as of yesterday.

- We're expecting the
delivery of his father's body.

He has invited us to join the ceremony.

- Well, it's really turned
into a full-out rain now.

Moi seems to be adamant
about the fact that

that rainbow is a really good omen.

- Here comes the plane.

(plane buzzing)

(gentle music)

Well for Huaoranis they
don't see death as we see it.

They kinda like have dealt
with death all their lives.

They have the highest rates of homicide

amongst any tribe in the world.

Most of the issues they
solve through spears.

As you can see, if my father
would have died yesterday,

I could have been, I'll be crying

or probably mourning for a week.

But for them it's something different.

(rock music)

- You can believe whatever you want.

But, the second that plane's
wheels left the ground,

it started to rain and
it's pouring right now.

Like, I know, I don't know what to say.

- We will take it, but
yeah, the casket is inside.

Just thought that you are hot here.

So, I'm not sure what's going
to happen now at this point.

(speaking foreign language)

- So, right now they're
speaking on Huaorani

in their own tongue

and they are explaining how
things went in the hospital.

Kinda like the autopsy.

- I feel pretty weird being here for this.

I mean, you know, it was just by chance

that we happened to be, you know,

making arrangements to come in.

And now that I'm here, I
feel like a real outsider.

- [Justin] When it comes to deaths,

it's one of those things
you're not too sure,

you know, how to really take it

and how you're supposed to deal with it.

You know, back home I kinda
understand what the customs are.

But when you're here on
this side of the world,

things are done differently.

- (indistinct), Moi's father and family.

They were one of the best
warriors that took care

and that defended the Huaorani territory

from the Napa river to the North,

to the Curaray river to the South,

trying to cherish the natives.

How good of a warrior is how well

they protected their own land

Moi's father was one of the first ones

that started battling

against the invasion of other tribes,

the invasion of the loggers,

the oil companies.

(speaking foreign language)

- Moi's father is gonna be
buried out in the jungle here.

So they've actually have
a spot picked out for him

and we're just kinda making our way

through like the forest right now.

- Moi's father, they've picked a place

to bury him out here in the rainforest.

He has a grave beside a
few other graves here.

And so he'll be placed with other family.

I can only assume.

I know, yeah, funerals,

never an easy thing to
go through, you know.

Obviously for these people,

we don't even know Moi's father

but it's just, it always has
show an emotion in the air.

- They threw in like a little
rabbit, a little bunny.

You throw them in there as offerings.

- [Scott] That was something different

than we've seen before.

- Those cute little bunnies
just tossed in there.

(soft music)

- Guess that was one of
(indistinct) weapons.

When he used to battle
against the other tribes.

- When you've just arrived to a place

and you don't know anybody.

Someone of great
importance has passed away,

it's just like, wow,

you are just kinda thrown right into it.

I'm really interested to see everything

and see how everything happens.

But at the same time,

I definitely wanna give them their space,

let them grieve, you know, let
them do what they need to do.

It's gonna be a few hours at the least

going down this river just
to get to the nearest road.

Which will give us access
to get to the nearest town.

Which will then give us access

to get to the nearest airport.

Moi and his father and
all of their people.

Are trying to stay away from modernization

in order to still preserve
as much of their culture

and as much of their
way of life as possible.

- Moi's trying to find that balance.

He's trying to save his land

and still yet welcome people in.

(speaking foreign language)

He's cut around the corner.

It's nice, scenic, the
beautiful cruise on the Amazon.

All of a sudden, as soon as
you hit the bridge in this area

you see pipelines.

Just running right through.

(Lorry rumbling)

(upbeat music)

- Ecuador as a whole

is a wonderful microcosm of other things

and issues and problems

that are happening in
other places in the world.

Issues with extinction, tribal disputes,

government, oil companies.

But people are fighting back

and they're fighting back proud.

- Great, good trip dude. Awesome trip.

Whenever I find a home
wherever that may be,

you're gonna be welcomed to come.

- [Andre] Try to mess.

- Andre, you're a good man.

- I walk away from a country like this

with an experience

but also in a different outlook.

- [Justin] Some of the
best experiences we've had

have left us with more
questions than answers.

(upbeat music)

- We're leaving South America

and we're heading back into Africa.

Ethiopia is a country where unfortunately

there are images in my
head that I can't shake.