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Published: January 1st 2011
Banos (not sure how to do the accent over the n) is spanish for bathroom.
The lovely staff at papa gayo clearly felt us incapable of catching a bus with out assistance so not only drove us to the bus stop but crossed the road with us and hailed down the bus (not necessarily the one we wanted but whatever). So off to Ambato to be thrown out on the roadside until we heard the chorus "a banos, a banos, a banos" (each bus has a personal spruiker/ticket collector who hangs out the door or runs alongside the bus calling out the destination in order to cram as many passengers into each bus as possible).
The most striking thing about the passing scenery is the height and gradient of the slopes that are being farmed, I always thought banana farmers back home were doing it tough but they've got nothin on these guys.
La Case Verde where we stayed is lovely: nice hosts (Aussie/Kiwi couple and their adorable "blondest Ecuadorian you'll meet" son); great spots to enjoy the view (inside at the bay window/outside in the hammock); excellent breakky (bread still warm from the oven and vegemite - yay); clean new rooms; good hot showers.
One of the thermal springs for which Banos is named is open of an evening (6-10pm) and has pools varying in temperature from excruciatingly icy to almost beyond tolerably hot and a few in between. Directly behind the pools is a waterfall and they have diverted a splash of the flow to form a "refreshing shower" by the warm pool. There are loads of locals and a visitors so Wayne made plenty of new friends. In fact at one stage he was talking to a Russian guy in English who was also chatting to a Croatian in Russian and an American in Spanish.
Banos is a real tourist town and the majority of businesses in town are restaurants, souvenir shops, massage/spa providers, buggy/bike rental or tour agents. Despite this it is pretty laid back with a nice feel to it.
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