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Published: July 21st 2008
Our hotel was right over there
Sorry NJ, I am moving to Baños.
There is so much to say about this past weekend! I have to be sort of brief because I need to go to lunch and then do a ton of homework and projects, but it was definitely my favorite place in all of Ecuador. I was told Guayaquil is the armpit of the country and after this I will agree, even though I love my city. Baños is very tourist oriented, not just to gringos, but also people from the rest of Ecuador. The city is beautiful and peaceful but bustling with interesting people. Since I have every intention of going back there next week I can comment more on the perception later. My weekend:
Left directly from school on Friday. Bus from Terminal Terrestre to Ambato at 11:45 and then to Baños, arriving at approximately 7 PM. Katie had pissed off Olivia´s abuelita by trying to tell her what to do in Spanish so we were left on our own after that. Our first hotel, El Marques was super cute and the rooms were awesome. I had my own bed in a room with Lizzy, Olivia, and Katie. HOT SHOWERS. The
landmark in Guayaquil
whole place is bright and colorful and has tourists and cool owners. I don´t remember if they spoke English or not, I think it was Spanish. I understood. Ya ya ya. Went to a restaurant called something like la Casa de Abuelita and ate overpriced food with shitty service. Well, I guess that paying $4.30 for pasta isn´t so expensive, but in Ecuadorian terms, it is. And it was tiny as well. We sat on the top floor balcony and people-watched. I got frustrated because Katie started talking. We went back to the room for a bit and then went out to a few bars to dance (well for me to dance) and finally ended up in one called the Leprechaun. Everything in Baños is on one street so it is very easy to get around. All the coolest tourists from around the world were at this one place, which was partially outside and had a big bonfire blazing. I met people from Holland, Ireland, England, Scotland, and of course a good share of Ecuadorians. I talked to the bartender and his friend (Edison and Diego) who also happen to be guides on a canyoning excursion. They were both cool
and talked nice and slow to me. The people of Baños are very accostumed to tourists and all speak super claro y super despacio.
On Saturday morning we were going to wake up early and watch the sunrise from the baths at El Salado but we didn´t remember our alarms. Went to breakfast at Casa Hood with a girl from Germany who was traveling solo (way cool- book exchange, movies, good food) and ended up being a half hour late to our horseback ride. At 9:30 we started out through the city on horseback and made our way up the volcano Turgunhua (spelled wrong). We got to ride through the area that was carved out by lava flow and i put my hand in water that had turned the rocks orange. Really incredible. On the way down my saddle had gotten messed up and now I have very bruised and swollen ankles and a bad leg. Still, incredible. And only cost $15 for 2 hours. And I had the prettiest horse. Macho. Hembra is a woman. That afternoon at 1 I went with Katie (quite an experience) canyoning. We had been told 2.5 hours. Ha. We put on wetsuits
Parque Historicó house made of bambú and pajas
and shoes and took a ride through some pitch black tunnels to end up at Rio Blanco. Hiked 10 minutes, which is a very long time to hike up a mountain in a wetsuit, and then climbed across a waterfall for a bit. Not knowing what canyoning entailed made it even more exciting. We basically rapelled down waterfalls, but it´s slower and scary and there is water all over pushing you. Describing it does nothing, just come back to Baños and do it again with me. All in all it was amazing, despite being scared out of my mind and sitting in cold waterfalls in the middle of a jungle for 4.5 hours. REALLY awesome for $30. I felt like crap by the time we got back and took a nice nap. Ate dinner at Café Good, not realted to Hood, and saw some native music live. We went back to the Leprachaun around 11:30 and I stayed long enough to find out I was too sore to dance so the wonderful Dayne and Gabriel walked me back to the hotel. Oh yea, now we were in La Posada del Arte, which is directly next door and also really cute
driving to Baños
but the owners were kind of mean.
Sunday I felt like death and couldn´t wake up to watch sunrise so I slept til 9. That´s very late for this trip. We ate breakfast at the hostel and then I walked around Baños for a bit, but it was raining so I came back. We got massages for $12 at 11:30. The ´back massage´ is really way more than that and it was great. Would have been better is Katie hadn´t been in the room next to me talking the entire time. Can you tell I am really sick of her by now? We barely caught our bus at 1:00 and went direct to Guayaquil for 8 hours. I sat next to Katie. I slept a lot but she talked more and at one point I had a smelly indigenous woman with her 2 kids next to me. They were interesting, but pungent. I was relieved to get home.
Today I skipped class so I could go print some pictures for my project. I still have to do the 2 pages, make the poster, write a one page essay about diseases, write 2 pages about my weekend, and then
outline a chapter. Seriously Ecuador, wtf. I wish I had just come to Ecuador rather than studying. Next time.
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