In some serious hot water!

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Mar 16, 2009

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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Sunday, November 23, 2008

Together with a friend (Wayne) we met at the hostel in Cotopaxi we shared the fare to Machachi where we planned to catch a bus to heading south .To break the long bus journey to the Peru we decided to spend a night in a little town called Baṅos which is well know as a bit of an adventure centre where you can partake in downhill mountain biking, white-water rafting, bungi jumping and many other fun activities.
We managed to flag down a bus heading to Baṅos which was already almost filled to capacity bus since most buses in Ecuador always have place for one more and stop for anyone along the road we were in luck. Only problem was we had to stand for almost and hour before a few passenger left the bus making some seats available.
Baṅos is one of many quaint little Ecuadorian villages nestled in a valley flanked by steep mountains. Being situated very close to the Tungurahua volcano which last erupted 2006 causing the village to evacuate, has created many little thermal springs which many visitors flock to. We were told the best was to arrive early as the water is replaced every morning and avoid weekends which are clearly very popular.
During our afternoon tour of the town we passed many little toffee or melcocha stores and witnessed them making the filling extracting candy, a real sticky mess. The town was also lined with store after store selling sugar cane pieced and juice and we wondered how twenty stored selling the same thing right next to each other could make any money?
On the morning of our departure we were up at 6am for a good soak in the thermal bathes before catching the bus. The baths situated at the base of a waterfall had only two operational pools, one with what I guessed was about 40 degrees centigrade and the other which was almost the temperature of the hottest bath you could imagine. The hot pool was so hot that people getting out were blood red. After observing the ritual for a few minutes I decided to venture in and test the waters, both Inge-Marie and Wayne refused. It took a lot of will power for force myself into the water and even though it was scolding hot it reminded me of the feeling of jumping into ice cold water. As you get the upper half of your body in your breath is temporarily knocked way leaving you sucking for air. But after a few seconds was completely bearable and unlike cold the less you move around the better. I can honestly say that I was in some serious 'hot water'!
When you've simmered for a few minutes and almost had enough you hop out, surrounded by clouds of steam in the cool morning air and make your way over the nearby waterfall where you now do the reverse. The fresh pouring water was as cold as the pool water was hot and turned out to be extremely invigorating more so if you repeat the process multiple times. It was $2.00 well spent and a nice treat before a long bus journey.
So after our long soak we hoofed it to the station where we caught a bus for the 8 plus hour journey to Cuenca. Fortunately this time we had seats but knew we'd have to change buses along the way to get to our final destination.
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