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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Friday, December 28, 2012

We continued on to Banos in Ecuador for New Years with Claud and Dean. This is in the Central Ecuadorian Andes, at the foot of the Tungurahua Volcano where the streets are lined with hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops and very reasonable tour agents. The hostel we stayed at and Banos itself were really laid back. Here, we decided to do a few adventure activities. On our first full day, we took a tour of the waterfalls. The most impressive was Pail on de Diablo which we reached after a short hike. During the day, we also did zip lining which was good fun but very short. The bus we took was ridiculously cheesy and consisted of massive speakers blurting out dance music, being backed up by flashing disco lights. There was a group of really drunk Colombians behind us living it up. 2 of them had to be carried back to the bus after our short hike as the excitement sent them off to sleep. That night, we just took it easy watching the dvd "City of Angels" back in the hostel. This is a very enjoyable but harsh movie set in the slums of Rio. The next day, we did canyoning which involved us abseiling down 4 waterfalls in quick succession: 8, 12, 30, and 35 meters. The first two were more technical, while the third and fourth were vertical cliffs. This was so much fun, made better by the fact that we were part of a large group. At the end of the trip, organised jeep taxis brought us back to Banos. As our wet gear was sopping, we were not allowed sit in the jeep so about 9 of us were huddled in the back of it. The cold was mind-numbing but we spent alot of the time laughing away with 2 Argentinian lads. Both joined us that night for a few drinks in a local Irish bar called Leprechauns. The next day was New Yearīs Eve. We decided to relax in the early afternoon by going to the famous outdoor, hot springs. I donīt know what we were expecting but we got a land when we arrived at them. The water looked so dirty and the pool itself was so crowded. The thought of all the kids there, peeing in the pool was a massive turn off and instead we headed for a nice lunch. That night, we went out to celebrate. New Years is a really big deal in Banos. The town went crazy. Huge effigies were built and then burned at midnight. They also had an incredible fireworks display. Everyone in the streets were partying. All day and night, the men were dressed up like women blocking cars in the streets until the drivers handed over some change. New Years was dress up in most venues but at last minute all myself and Claud could find were wigs. Eoin was very creative and strapped a transformer toy to his face. Another Australian couple we met in Mancora joined us for the night. All of us partied the night away and it was the most enjoyable New Years we`ve had in so long. The next few days, we pretty much took it easy in the hostel, went for nice food and just generally made the most of our surroundings. The place was so cheap, therefore it was a good spot to do so. Banos is definitely a must for anyone travelling to Ecuador.
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