Trip Start Sep 20, 2004
89Trip End Mar 30, 2005
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After tending to the patient and collecting emeregncy coca cola and water supplies, I took a tour up to the top of Baņos to see a live volcano. The tour was cheap and it was due to pick us up at 9pm for an evening viewing.....
At 9.30pm a chiva (open sided bus) came crawling round the corner with music, lights and about enough power to make a maximum speed of 10 m/h. This bus then proceeded to chugg its wayaround Baņos to pick up any other unsuspecting tourists and generally humiliate anyone on board
The next day the patient was feeling much better but we decided to give the 60km bike ride a miss as I could hardly walk and Bob needed easy access to the facilities. We braved the thermal baths that night with the water fall in the back ground which was very pleasant and was hoping for a miracle cure for my stiff muscles.
After further recovery time the next day we headed down in a bus (inside) to Riobamba which is south of Baņos. Thi is the starting point for the famous devils nose train ride. We got ourselves a room in the hotel del tren and cruised our way around riobamba taking n the sites...Weīll we didnīt find too many sites but there were lods of shops selling every kind of crap you could ever want. After a decent meal (well for everyone apart from Bob who suffered a pollo rellapse from arlier in the day) we settled in for the night in anticipation of our 5.30 am start the next day.
A swift breakfast at the hotel was enough before we trouped around to the train station for our ascent ono the roof of the train. The station was awash with Gringos and the roof was already looking pretty full so we quickly negotiated with the guys renting cushions before nestling in to our spot on the roof rack. This was going to be a long 5 hours !
Eventually the train pulled off and we spent the next few hours winding though valleys and mountains wrapped up with our woolle hats and layers. he first few hours were pretty green and there were famiilies farming the land right up to the train track. We got lots of waves from the little kids and a few bemused and indiffernt looks from soem of the older folk. Suddenly as we looked up there was a shower of broccoli flying though the air and some of the girls in the field laughing at our suprise. The favour was returned with some flying lolly pops back to the ground before they were gone and everyone was laughing !
We stopped in a couple of tinytowns which the rail track ran straight through which must have once been thriving towns when the train was used for other purposes. Still, Alaussi was still bustling and we watchd th goings on whilst stretching our legs. The train still managed to transport soem useful things and mnay bags of concrete got unlodaed wih careful precsision onto a trolley before the porters with there special train hats pushed it across the platform before it all collapsed onto the floor and they had to start again.
Several pigs seemed to be in various states of life and death and roasting. We watched a few women negotiating with a dead pig biger than them which was in th back of a pick up truck and seemed to be the next victim of the spit. We opted for slightly more safe foodstuffsand tucked nto our popcorn and nack which we bought from the various kids and women who were ricking lie and limb hopping over everyone back and forth along the train roof.
As the train started off again the next few hours were a slow descent though mountains to the famous devils nose rock, before starting the ascent though a number of slow switchbacks back up to the top. By the time we saw Alaussi again we were quite pleased to get off. If fact I was so pleased I managed to fall the last steps of the train onto the platform in a general heap, pulled over by my rucksack. Nothing broken though !!
We managed to retieve our big rucksacks and by soem stroke of luck wee the first so we said our farewells to our fellow travellers and legged it to the nearest bus. After brief negotiataion we decided to tr and hot foot it all the way back to Quito...arrived 6 hours later into the mist. Quito was covered in a blanket of mist that made everything look quite ominous but we made it back to the hostal tired and very hungry but happy !