Toilet town

Trip Start Jun 26, 2006
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Trip End Feb 28, 2007


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Friday, December 8, 2006

Time to visit the land of the bathroom!!!!
Wasnt that far to Banos, so enjoyed a nice breakfast in the hotel.....before treking to the bus station. Were we hearded onto a bus to Ambato, where we had to change buses. We got a front seat which was cool...and meant our bags werent cluttering the isle. Journey was about an hour...and uneventful.....the driver actually drove us right up to our next bus in the bus station at Ambato...they are so friendly here! They actually put our bags under the bus this time and we were off the Banos. This time the drive was amazing....high windy passes......and amazing views....specially coming into Banos itself....which is completely surrounded by very high mountains and an active volcano.
Hiked miles to our hostel.... actually it wasnt but it felt like it.....i was still suffering from my horse riding the day before! The hostel was really cool, run by locals...who didnt speak much english but had everything you could ever want to know and more translated into english! We got ourselves a nice private room.....yes we are treating ourselves a little too often these day! And went to check out the cool roof terrace with its amazing views. Couldnt wait to explore....and it was still only early afternoon.
Headed to a cute little place for a beer.....Banos is really nice....very touristy but in a nice way.....were happily enjoying our beer when some bloke came out the restaurant mumbling at us....something along the lines of....have to shut....police coming....we were very confused but hastily downed our beer and left the poor man to his problems. We presumed it had something to do with the parade which was just starting further down the street but it never went anywhere near his place.....so god knows what his problem was. Decided to go check out the parade. It turns out it is the festival of the founding of Banos....we are doing well on the old festivals arent we! The parade was cute......loads of people in colourful costumes dancing down the street.....it went on for ever and when they started to sell umbrellas and sun hats we knew it was gonna be a long long parade!! Decided to leave the rest of the fun to the locals and went off to check out fun things to do tomorrow. Banos is supposed to be excitment capital so....couldnt miss out oon the fun.....there was heaps to do.....but having done white water rafting.....hiking volcanoes....and not fancing getting a chiva to see the volcano errupt...we thought we would opt for the Canyoning! Now we just had to find the best price. There were hundreds of tour operators in town, so went round them all, most of them didnt speak english...so we kept looking...eventually found one that did and it looked good.....so after some deliberating (mainly on my part cause my body still hurt from horse riding and i wasnt sure i was ready for more punishment) we signed up for half a days canyoning....which is abseiling down waterfallls in case you were wondering!
We went back and chilled....and i i tried to come to terms with the crazy idea of canyoning.....it started to rain....but we were hungry so braved the rain in search of food. And man did we find it!!!
We found a french restaurant, complete with french menu and french owner and enjoyed the most amazing french food.....for stupid prices. Big juicy steaks in amazing sauce with yummy french style veggies! All for a couple of quid!!!! Its amazing the food you can get out here....its worth travelling just to eat the stuff you could never afford back home!!
Incidentally it turns out that Banos has got nothing to do with toilets...much to Neils disappointment....and is in fact a spa town....or something similar anyway!!!
Today was canyoning day. Now if im honest i have to admit i was scared! Who wouldnt be....i was about to abseil down a 45 meter waterfall!!!! But it also sounded fun. So after breakfast...which i couldnt eat cos i was too nervous....we headed off to get kitted up.
we bought a dodgy disposable camera cos we gotta get pics and i was paranoid about getting ours wet! Then we had the fun job of putting on a wet suit and groovy canvas shoes!!! Then we all piled into a taxi.....us and our two guides....and drove 10 minutes up the rode. Did see the volcano puffing smoke on the way.
We arrived at the waterfall.....looked pretty! We scrambled up to the first one.....where our great guides set up the ropes and stuff.....while we enjoyed the scenery! The it was time to abseil. Neil went first....i wanted to see how easy it was.....didnt look that hard i had to admit! When it was my turn i just about managed to scarmble to the top....people seem to forget i only have little legs! and then it was time to descend. Its amazing to be honest...as soon as you get the safety rope on you feel fine....and before long i was on my way down the waterfall....just like an expert!! Well thats probably not true but it didnt take long for it all to come flooding back. The worst bit of the whole thing...apart from trying to scaramble to the top of the bloody thing.....was jumping in at the bottom. It was quite deep....so you had to let go and jump backwards....which would have been fine except for the fact that the water was bloody freezing!!! It was so cold it took my breath away! We both then had another go....this time more in the water.....it was cool.....if ya like waterfalls you gotta try this!
They then gave us the opportunity to us the side of the waterfall as a slide.....neil volunteered...it looked cool....was funny to see our guiding explaining by actions rather than words....his english being limited to about one word! Neil said it was fun.....but i chickened out cause the water was too bloody cold. The other guide....the crazy one, then decided he was gonna jump in! He said we could do the same.....but after seeing his face as he hit the water we decided not to bother....cold wasnt the word!
We then had a go at waterfall number too! This one was steeper and slippery, but our guide made it look easy...so off we went. Neil went first.....and even though he will kill me for saying this....i had to laugh when he slipped! I reckon he thought it was a little easier than it actually was! I of course went down perfectly.....!!!! (well almost!) Was a lot harder than the first!! We had another go....getting in as much practise for the big one as we could. These were only like 5 meters in height....the third one was 45!
Then it was time....we went over to the edge....Neil went first again....you couldnt even see the bottom....so when he was gone...he was gone! I chatted in very broken spanish to my guide about how scary it was! He said it was fine.....or at least i think thats what he siad! My turn.....i slžpped down the first bit....and then saw the drop! Made my heart skip a little! But once over the edge it was great.....no wall to walk down.....just rope, water and air! was fun.....seemed like ages till we were at the bottom! Looking up it looked like a long long way! Our guide zippped down in seconds....and looking at his watch asked if we wanted another go....no way were we gonna say no....was really cool. Little did i know what awaited me to get to that other go! We had to get back up to the top....and that meant an insane 45 meter scramble over trees and loose dirt....literally crawling up the dirt!!!! Still i made it....as did neil of course. I was knackered.....but neil insisted i go first so he could take photos of me in my sexy wetsuit! So down i went...still out of breath. Nearly fell off the top but was so tired....but once over the edge i relaxed and this time took in the view properly.....the inside of a waterfall is pretty amazing!!!! And that was it....well actually no...we then had to scaramble up the waterfall side again and further this time. I was exhausted and our guides thought it was funny! Still ill let them off as they were cool guides!
We all got back in the taxi and headed back, where had even more fun trying to get the wet suit off again!
We chilled for the rest of the day....sat in the hsotel playing draughts, till the place was taked over by a kids party? Confused yeah so were we!!! We left and headed out for an early dinner....went to another cool place...were we had seabass....was damn good and oh so damn cheap! Where can you even get seabass in england....let alone for a few quid!! We had a beer then headed to bed....as the childrens party was still going on in the hostel!!! One long party.....was a shame we couldnt enjoy the cool terrace...but we had a great day so werent too fussed!! Long live toilet town!!!
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