River Rafting with horses and rum in Baños
Trip Start Sep 26, 2009
55Trip End Jan 06, 2010
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We are so glad we didn't miss out Banos… its another gem of Ecuador – so much to do, so little time! We got the bus to Tena and then onto Banos, lonely planet had said it would be 5 hours… so we settled in ready for the long haul and arrived in 3 hours (I think some of the roads must have been paved in the last 3 years!) We had a passport check and the bus checked by the anti narcotics team on the way, which is apparently normal coming from the oriente, got a hostal and enjoyed our afternoon in Banos, lunch and a few drinks in some quirky cafes…We then booked onto a rafting trip for the following day, had a Mexican dinner and to bed!
We got kitted up with wetsuits, wet shoes, lifejacket and helmet and jumped on the bus *on the way to the river, they stopped at a view point to look at the volcano, its hard to imagine something so peaceful looking could cause so much damage, as it did 3 years ago)… a girl came over and said she knew us from the machu piccu trek as she had been doing it at the same time as us in the other Peru Treks group and knew Amy from our group… she did look familiar but I would never have placed her from there… that seemed so long ago! She was called Becky and her partner, Kevin… they were really nice… and ended up being in our raft with us and a dutch couple, Eric and Maria. Our guide was called William and we definitely got lucky with the guide! He was funny but thorough with his safety talk…!
We got in the raft and set off… for 2 mins… he then got us out, and made us play a game to improve our reactions / I lost which meant I had to go and have a shower in the waterfall first , it was lovely and refreshing actually,..! Then off we went down the river, at speed.... how amazing, such a thrill, we were flying down the river and at times, just floating down, reacting to Williams shouts of "left first" "right first" "faster" "in boat" like an army commander... my quickest reaction was the in boat, I actually flew from the side into the boat... my feet were wedged under the rope bit so had I fallen out at any point, my feet would have stayed in the boat!
I wacked my oar in my mouth at one point, and spat blood for the next few minutes, but soon forgot about it, as another set of rapids approached... we stopped in the middle of the trip, parked up the raft and jumped into the clear side river for a swim.. we then took it in turns to get behind the little waterfall ... and then we continued down the river. He swapped our positions so everyone had a turn at teh front, I got to the front with Becky and got completely soaked on numerous occasions... mouth wide open *swallowed quite a bit of river water@. At one point, whilst going down a calm bit, William asked Maria what was wrong with her shoe, so she looked at it, and he said "no, the other one" so she got that one out of the ropes, and he just pushed her back into the river! IT was hilarious, he face was a picture! He then showed us how to get someone in... then Becky jumped out, and because I was sat opposite her, I had to get her back in... good job she was small or it could've been hard work! We beaqched on a rock at one point which was funny, william had to jump onto the rock and push us back off! / at the end, we all had lunch together and headed back to Banos!
A fantastic day!
Last night in Ecuador - Rum night
WE decided as it was our last day in Ecuador, we should go out for a typical Ecuadorian meal...but we racked our brains and could only come up with "fried chicken and chips" which we didnt fancy, so we went for a cheese fondue at the swiss place instead. It was beautiful - we had a glass of wine each wth it, and then whilst I was in the loo, the power went out (which made finding the flush and the sink and the door a little hard!) I had a torch in my bag, but that was at teh table! anyway, the lady at teh hostal had told us the power would be going out for a few hours...but it doesnt stop a friday night in Banos.... we finished our drinks and headed to a local bar for a few happy our rums... well, it was all candlelight and aftr a few rums, we got chatting to an irish couple who were ontheir honeymoon... a few turned into a few more, and I stared to feel a bit tipsy... when the power came back on, an hour after the bar hould have closed, we decided to head to the bar where the rafting people said they mgiht be... had a few there (couldnt see anyone we recognised... but they may have been there, I felt pretty drunk by now, which is rare for me... the bar started handing out free popcorn... and then we headed back....I woke up the next morning, bright and breezy for horseriding and felt terrible... a hangover? i think, its been too long for me to remember what they are like, and im getting too old for them, after a tender few hours, i felt much better just before heading out for our horseriding trek!
We decided to go horseriding the following day so booked it with Becky... Kevin was going canyoning instead... which none of us fancied! Anyway after the rum night, we went to find our horses! I got the biggest one, and also the naughtiest looking one called Bonito - he was 9 years old, Al got Princessa, we rode for an hour and then stopped at a waterfall... walked up to the waterfall, and paddled in it, my foot went numb after about 2 mins, so I decided not to swim! on the way back, she made us gallop... the first time, my horse was pretty reluctant, he was a lazy bugger... but she kept telling me to kick him whilst she whipped Als and Becky\s horses...! The second time, mine went for it, and I just had to hold on for dear life, wishing that I had worn a sports bra not a swim suit!
When we got back from horseriding, we went and did some shopping, bought Stuarts birthday present (!), called Paul and spoke to dad again too :) and packed up to get the bus back to Quito for our flight in the morning. The lady at the hostal had asked us to go and speak English to some adults at the local school but sadly we had already booked the horseriding... so couldnt go. All over Banos the sweet makers are stretching their candy stuff around a bar on the door.... so on the way out, we bought some of therock like candy.
And got the bus...back to Quito.... probably the worst bus ride ever...