We took a 3 hour bus from Quilitoa to Latacuanga (a lady used my leg as her headrest for most of the ride). We stopped a bus on the side of the road going to Ambato, took a taxi from the North Ambato bus terminal to the South terminal and made it just in time for the bus pulling out of the station to Banos. Probably about a 7 hour day of travel. We were dirty and tired so we splurged at this nice little art hotel. The rooms were filled with handmade indigenous art and our porch had a hammock facing a waterfall.
Banos has been an amazing little adventure. Banos (Baths) received its name for all the naturally occurring hot springs in and around the town.
While in Banos we did some level 4/5 white water rafting with a group of Chileans. No one spoke English which made the hour safety instructional class pretty interesting. It went something like this: The guide gave a speech of incomprehensible Spanish, taking breaks to look me in the eyes and reiterate “muy importante!”and then spoke at length in more incomprehensible Spanish. After the hour passed he smiled at us with thumbs up and said “bueno” we all responded “bueno” and jumped in.
While on the river we determined one of the Chileans spoke a little English. In between rapids the guide would speak in Spanish for about 3 or 4 minutes, flailing his arms with a variety of mannerisms. At the end of his talks we turned to the Chilean guy and asked “what did the guide say?” The Chilean would respond “He say, big waves ahead!” Christina looked at me with a face of concern “surely that’s not all that he said”.
But the Chilean was right! There were always big waves ahead! (ha). Best of all we made it out alive and happy. I was really proud of Christina after this journey. She was the only girl white water rafting with 2 guides and 10 macho Chilean dudes and she did great!
- It is a lot cooler white water rafting when everyone is yelling in Spanish, it is a reminder of how out of your element you are. Also, now I will never forget what “pare! pare!” means. (it means stop)
- Our Chilean “translator” fell in the rapids but we fished him out.
- During Carnival we rode bikes down the mountains and every car that passed would spray us with foam in celebration of the holiday. I think they enjoyed the celebrating more than we did.
- We worked a lot during our time in Banos, but it was fun to spit up our days between work, learning Spanish, waterfalls, hiking, biking, water rafting, and hot springs.
- Catching buses in Ecuador is interesting. If you see a bus going in your direction you wave them down and ask if they are going to the city you are going to if not you repeat this process. Sooner or later one of the buses is going where you need to go.