¿Adonde esta el Baño en Baños?

Trip Start Jan 22, 2006
Trip End Jun 23, 2009

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006

When I got into town I could tell I had made the correct decision in skipping Latacunga and heading straight to Baņos. The town is beautiful and nicely nestled in the mountains. I headed straight to my hostel and up on to the roof top patio to see who I could meet... that is where I found James from England. We talked for a while about great places in Colombia and then I met Victor and Kevin, two Irish guys who also just rolled into town and were looking to eat. So the three of us headed out and had a nice lunch. When I got back to the hostel, James and a few of his other friends were getting ready to go ride 4-wheelers around town, so I joined in on the fun (and by fun I mean stupidness). We were told to only ride them around town, even though safety tip #2 on my bike said "do not use on public roads"... oh well, this is Ecuador. We rode around for an hour and I only almost died once when a truck pulled out in front of me. But it was okay, I survived to tell about it. After a quick shower, I headed out to dinner with three Irish kids (Kevin, Victor, and Anna), and three English kids (Rebecca, Oli, and Clair). We had some nice big steaks, however, since I still have no appetite, Oli ate most of mine. We then headed to this little bar that Anna had read about that had a fire place. When we walked in we were a pretty rowdy bunch, and the guys told us we had to be quite, cause people were trying to sleep. So we settled down a bit and ended up watching the movie they had playing. It was about some guy from New Zealand who traveled to America in order to break the land speed record. It was pretty funny, only because we kept joking around about it and they were all giving me crap about all the funny American stuff they showed. It ended up being a pretty low key good time.

In the morning I headed off with James and his friends, Aaron, Lexi, Jenny, Elaine, and Paul to go Canyoning... which basically is repelling off waterfalls. Sounds safe right? No way would this happen in the States... way to many liabilities, that is why I had to do it in Ecuador. There really wasn't any instruction either... just a quick lesson on how to repel, and off we went. The first one was pretty hard, only because it wasn't very steep and you couldn't really get good footing, cause you couldn't lean back enough. The second one was really hard, cause I went on the more difficult side and kept getting pummeled by the waterfall. The third one was more fun, but also the scariest. As I went down, I lost my footing and ended up swinging underneath the waterfall and didn't really know what to do. Finally I pushed my self away from the rocks and was able to get my feet under me again, and made it down. However, now I was soaked and freezing. The wet suits didn't help that much. The fourth one was by far my favorite. I was finally getting the hang of it and was just enjoying myself. Then the last one was a bit crazy, because there was a big pool that everyone fell into (except Jenny) then had to crawl back out of before continuing down the fall. All in all, it was a really fun day. However, I was a bit worried when we were driving back to town... our truck stalled, and wouldn't start up again, right in the middle of the river we had to drive across. I just imagined us floating away when the river rose up. Somehow our guide got it sorted out and we were on our way. After showering, I was sitting up on the terrace with James and Elaine, when some how we started talking about my hairy legs. James suggested I just go get them waxed. I was a bit scared, since I never have before, but Elaine said she would go with me for support. So we were off! The lady was so harsh, even Elaine was feeling the pain. However, now since I have had it done in the worst possible conditions... it can only get better. After the pain, I thought I deserved some nice hot springs action. Baņos is known for its hot spring baths, however, they left a lot to be desired. I wasn't that impressed. There were only two pools and one was so hot you could feel your skin burning off, and the other was just barely warmer than a bath tub. After the baths, we were all starving and headed down to this really cool little cafe called Casa Hood. We had a table of 9 and had a great time talking a drinking it up. Afterward we headed to the Lepracan Bar and partied until all hours of the morning. One of the funnier parts of the evening was when this girl came up too me and Jessica (another Colorado girl... the count is now at 9) and said "Oh my god! Your from Colorado!!!" and we were like yeah, where are you from... thinking of course that she was from Colorado too... and she says "I'm from Kuntucky!!!" We both just stopped and didn't really know what to say. We were like great, okay, have a nice day. It was so funny, it was like we were the first people she had met from the U.S. The rest of the night Anna kept coming up to me saying "Oh my God, your from the States! I'm from Ireland!!!" We got such a laugh out of it. It was a really fun night, with some really fun people!

The next morning I wasn't feeling too bad, since I hadn't really drank that much. However, when I looked in the mirror I was surprised to find that I had a bit of a black eye. Then it all came back to me... I was such a dancing fool, I accidentally punched myself in the eye. It hurt a bit, but I didn't expect it too leave a mark. Too funny! I had planned to head down to Riobama to catch the Sunday Devil's Nose train, however, I was with such a great group of people, I decided to stay a few more days and get the Wednsday train. Since I had such an active day the day before, and since everyone else was super hung over, we just took it easy and hung out in Casa Hood eating and watching movies all day. It was nice and relaxing, however, not relaxing enough... cause I was still way to tired to go out again and party. So I called it an early night and was so happy when I got woken up by Victor, because he was too drunk (and tired) to climb up into his bunk bed. It was really funny, but he finally made it up there.

After a nice breakfast, I just read my book and waited for everyone else to wake up from their alcohal-induced-comas. When they finally did, we all headed down to Casa Hood for another day of hanging out, eating and watching movies. This place is running a pretty cool travelers business. I am sure we are not the first group of travelers to spend days just hanging out there. I then worked on the Internet for a while, before meeting up with the rest of the group. They had all had dinner and were getting ready for a night viewing of the near by volcano. So I jumped on board and we were off. We road in this weird converted van/truck/bus thing. While we were in town we had to sit inside, however, once we got out on a dirt road, everyone climbed on the top while we made it the rest of the way to the look out. We could see all the lights of Baņos! It was really pretty, but the coolest part was watching the lava explode from the volcano. Red hot rocks were shooting up really high in the air and then flowing down the side of the volcano. It was amazing... however, there were long pauses in between, so after a while we all lost interest and loaded back in the van. Our guides got the hint and we were headed back into town and off to the Lepricone. Since it was Sunday night I was pretty surprised to find that it was still open... but I guess it is Ecuador. I stayed out and danced a while until I just couldn't dance anymore!

Monday I hung out at the Hostel and read my book... I just haven't had the motivation to do anything. Everyone else when rafting, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Plus I think my cold is coming back, so I wanted to rest up for the evenings events! Since everyone was leaving on Tuesday we had a big night planned. We started the evening by playing some pool, which I lost badly... all the travel is taking away from my pool skills. The whole gang then met up for our last supper together at Casa Hood. We had a total of 16 of us at the table. It was so much fun! After which we all headed down to, where else, The Lepricone. The other group of Gingos actually cheered when we walked in... because we tripled the amount of people in the bar. It was a crazy night and everyone left happy... some more than others! The pictures tell a pretty good story of the nights events. I again was woken up by some crazy Irish guy (Victor) who was so hyper and just wanted someone to talk to.

The final day in Baņos was spent watching everyone recover from their hangovers. The only cure was a chocolate shake from Casa Hood... however, we all about cried when we found out it was closed on Tuesdays!!! NOOO! After we found another acceptable place to eat, we all packed up our bags and headed different directions. Victor, Kevin, James, Lexi, Karen, Paul, and Elaine were headed north to Quito. While Rob, Elly, Oli, Ben and I headed south to catch to train in Riobamba. Since everyone told us it was really bad, the trip can only exceed any expectations we may have. Should be fun!
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