We have arrived in Banos, a vacation town for adventure sports and spa visits, for foreigners and Ecuadorians alike. We had decided it would be our next destination a few days ago, but with this weekend being a long holiday weekend for Carnival, we were having trouble getting a room. I think I’ll spare you the details because it involved me needlessly stressing out and Jose making about a bijillion phone calls, and then us getting something perfect and cheaper just by walking in the door and asking. Hooray!
This morning I thanked Jose for all his hospitality and help by giving him a Thai massage, which he’d never had before. He was a little nervous about it, but he meditates regularly so knows how to relax and breathe. I think, however, that he was pretty happy about it. His exact words were, “I didn’t really expect to like that, but …” then a while later, “I think I’m going to try to find more of that kind of massage.” 🙂 That’s what I like to hear!
Then we went to get cash and breakfast, but had more banking troubles, in which Matt’s card was eaten by the machine but they got it back out for us within 30 minutes.
And then… Transit!
A long taxi ride to the bus terminal Quitumbe, just in time to be the 2nd and 3rd to the last passengers on the bus, then a 4-hour bus ride south. It was only 3.50 per person!
Matt sat next to an American named Henry, which is one of my favorite names ever, and they chatted the whole way. Henry had an amazingly bizarre story to tell about his border crossing between Peru and Ecuador, but I had my earplugs in the whole way, so Matt will need to comment and add that story if he likes. My seat partner slept the whole way, which was fine with me! I enjoyed relaxing.
We arrived in Banos. I’d read in the Lonely Planet that it was pretty dingy, like a backpacker’s hostel town, which it is, but it’s also colorful and active, and everyone is enjoying their holiday. We checked into Hostal Plantas y Blanco, and got a corner matrimonial room, which simply means it has a double bed. It’s clean, kind of loud, and pretty cheerful. I’ve got earplugs, so I’m fine, and I like the plants all over our room. The view is great too. Our room has a balcony right over the Hostal sign on the corner, where we are sitting now.
Tomorrow we are hoping to spend most of the day at the public baths, then we’ll decide our plans for Saturday and Sunday. Sunday is Carnival, officially. Monday we may head, via Guiyaquil to the Galapagos Islands, or we may take a 2-3 day trek into the jungle from here. Depends on what news we get from Jose’s friend Ximena, who is a travel agent and arranges Galapagos tours, among other things.
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