Published: March 29th 2012March 18th 2012
Wednesday 14th March - Quito to Baños
Goodbye to yet another hostel, the Huaki and off to the bus terminal. 2 city buses taking an hour and yet still at a cost of just 15p. I further confirmed in my mind how much we liked Ecuadorians after twice asking locals for help with directions, they were only too happy to point the right way and were even keen to try out their English and have a bit of a chat. I generally find at these times it goes down well to mention football and Manchester United and that Valencia is a great player seeing as he's from Ecuador. It was another 3 hours on the bus to Baños and it felt like more for both of us as we started to feel a little queezy. Baños is listed as a small holiday resort in the mountains and quite touristy and we can now confirm it's completely overrun with gringos. And to make matters slightly worse they seem to be more of the holidaying clearasil using variety rather than backpackers like us which we've found places them a little higher on the annoying scale in general, being the pompous and stuck
up travellers that we are. We had our traditional meander round town, eyeing up the restaurants and ended up walking into a Danish run cafe. The madhatter lady Danish owner proceeded to give us what probably is her standard 10 minute spiel about how clean her restaurant is, what great service she provides, how dirty latin americans are and how unintelligent they are when they try to sell you something. This was all quite odd when she then told us she was married to an Ecuadorian. Now despite her selling 6 dollar sandwiches and 3 dollar smoothies which wouldn't be out of place in Covent Garden and us being a little thrifty, we decided to stay put and give them a try which was probably down to her saying she had genuine cheddar cheese which we'd been without for the previous 4 months and during which time you could say Stacie had developed an almost unhealthy craving for. They were indeed good, albeit pricey given we were in a one eyed town in the mountains.
Thursday 15th March - Baños
Having felt a little queezy the day before we woke up or in fact barely got to sleep,
having been knocked out by some sort of flu virus. Being ill's obviously not nice at the best of times but particularly so when you're in the middle of nowhere, thousands of miles from home and you read the symptoms of flu on the NHS website coincide nicely with the symptoms of Malaria which is quite popular in these parts. After a day of lounging round, sneezing profusely and trying to keep warm in bed we ventured out in the evening for what was a lovely Italian and some spagbol and lasagne.
Friday 16th March - Baños
Another night of little sleep and this could quickly get quite boring to both read and write about. I made a visit to the pharmacy for some vitamins and paracetamol and successfully managed to find out there was a hospital about 6 blocks from our hostel. At this point Stacie's condition was unfortunately deteriorating and I was starting to get quite worried. We still though had just enough strength to muster a trip to a different Italian in the evening for some very nice pizza.
Saturday 17th March - Baños
I was now starting to feel a bit better
and instead was beginning to suffer from cabin fever as our 3rd day in a row locked up in our room continued. Stacie instead though had continued to get worse through the night and now was getting cold shivers and hot flushes and ticked off most of the symptoms of Malaria. In the meantime I was familiarising myself with the life and times of Margaret Thatcher, The Falkland Islands, The Beatles and any other random topics from Wikipedia which I can only imagine is how most retired people manage to wile away their days along with their frequent rest room visits. Thankfully as the day went on Stacie's condition improved and I popped out in the afternoon to buy some soup and noodles for us. If you're still reading this you're either very bored, retired, mental or possible even all of the above :)
Sunday 18th March - Baños
We both managed our 1st proper nights sleep in nearly a week but having been knocked out for the previous 3 days we were still unable to get up to much other than a spot of reading on wikipedia. Having concluded that the pills from the pharmacist were probably
actually making Stacie feel worse than before you can start to understand the popularity of witch doctors here. If I wasn't writing this now on the day, I'd probably struggle to distinguish it from the previous 3.
Monday 19th - Baños
Having been caged up for 4 days running and feeling marginally better it was time for us to go out. Wrapped up nice and warm, it was time to get a taste of the Latin American roads with a spot of dune buggying. Flat out and downhill, I think you can get about 30mph out of them which creates a nice que of traffic behind eager to get past and force you off the road. Somehow though we managed to survive in one piece after 2 hours on the road. The strangest thing we witnessed was a 7 year old girl bungeeing off a bridge over a river whilst completely petrified and clearly not interested in making the jump but despite this she was more or less picked up and dropped off by the attendant whilst being eagerly egged on by her family and mother. Yet another classic example we´d seen of fine parenting here.
Tuesday 20th March - Baños
We had been planning on moving on today but unfortunately Stacie had taken a turn for the worse so we sensibly figured it was best to stay put and get some more rest. Much more reading ensued and I can now say I´m far more familiar with the workings of General Eisenhower, Patten and Rommel and how they chased each other across the desert with dear old Monty.