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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

South to Baños!

Well, we´re off! On Monday we headed out of Quito, taking the trolley south to the bus terminal. we were intent on taking a bus south to Baños, and this was the place to catch it. But first, we had to have a good, hearty breakfast. Wow! This is always one of my favorite parts of the day. I had encebollados for the first time...it´s a soup with potato, hominy, tuna, onions...and you squeeze lime on top. MMMmmm. Susan had eggs, rice, papaya juice and coffee.

So! Off we go. We sat in the very back of the bus, behind this couple that were just hugging each other the entire way. They were talking, laughing, hugging...it was great. Well, I suppose we were about the same, too.
The bus we were on was experiencing some brake problems as far as I was concerned...so we took this bus only as far as Ambato.

That sound you hear (over the wind) is the brakes grinding, metal on metal. Yeah. Time to change buses...we did.

So anyway, we had a great time in Ambato, wandering around a bit and walking through the market. In the distance we could see the volcano gurgling...and right on the side was Baños, our destination.

On the way back to the bus terminal, we just had to stop and investigate what it was that ladies were selling on the street...We´d smelled it (so sweet!) and seen it, but hadn´t gotten that close to it yet. There was usually a crowd. We take a peek, and there is a pot full of black things, boiling away. What were they? Figs!

Of course I had to get one: a fresh roll, sliced open with some fresh cheese, about five or six figs, and then some of the fig broth poured over it. Oh! ¡Que sabroso!
On the way to Baños we stopped in Salasacas, which is one of the ´weaving towns´ that produce a unique product. We chatted for a while with one of the women there, and before we left she took us upstairs to where she had her loom. Here she is demonstrating how she makes the rugs that she sells:

We finally got to Baños in the evening...enough time to walk around, find a hotel ($8 per night) and then go for a walk down to the baths. Yep, Baños=Baths. With piping hot water from a thermal spring...right next to the volcano. From the hillside where the waterfall is, here´s a view of the baths. And the other picture is of course the waterfall.

Inside the baths, you can sit in the mixture of the hot and cold (which is about 90 degrees), the hot only, or dip in the waterfall water which is nice and cold. There are other pools in the same place with different temperatures, but we stayed right there with the rest of the people. The water smelled a bit, but was SO comfortable. Our skin was nice and soft the next day...

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