Monday, April 7, 2014

Yoo 599 - Swings And Baths

Our first stop in Banos was La Casa Del Arbol. You have a few options when attempting to reach this random site at a volcano monitoring station. The first is hiking, the second is hiring a taxi, and the third is a combination of the two.

We opted for a $10 taxi ride up the volcano and then hiked down. BEST DECISION. The hike up is brutal and would have taken us all day and we'd probably have been angry and then we would have had to share the swing. Instead, we got there refreshed and before anyone else had arrived.

The tree house is hanging over a ravine and both the tree house and the swing attached to it are awful for fears of heights but the imminent danger isn't quite as high as initially perceived. The ravine has a very gradual slope and if something were to happen, you'd probably just violently roll for a while...

I freaked out a lot though, especially with Greg swinging. THE WHOLE TREE MOVED. But it was fun after a while.

Also related, pretend all my spellings of Banos in the rest of this post have the squiggly line above the 'n'...

This picture almost does my fear and tepidness justice.

I eventually warmed up to the experience.

On a clear day, you're supposed to have awesome views of the volcano and all the surrounding mountains. We had a blanket of clouds but it was still pretty cool. Like you were swinging off into nothing.

The cow is licking his nose! Ok, there are a lot of cow pictures.

He's udderly impressed.

Then Greg approached and the cow licked him. It was weird. Greg was super excited about it.

He was missing his dog!

Hiking down saved us $10 and gave us the chance to enjoy the views and kill our leg muscles. AND, most importantly, sing "99 bottles" in its ENTIRETY for the first time ever. At least my first time ever. Have you made it all the way thru? It was 99 bottles of Coke on the wall, because Coke was the official beverage sponsor of this trip.

Alisha stopped to pee and I took pictures of Greg not looking. Aren't we glad this is documented?

I don't know what's happening here. It's like he's getting ready to pick me up and throw me down the mountain...

Let it be recorded that I did NOT lose my sunglasses on this trip. There is a first time for everything.

Banos below!

Finally finishing "99 bottles"!

Almuerzos! Usually 2-4 dollars for a filling soup, big plate of beans and chicken and rice and some veggies, and a drink or dessert. Pretty delicious and super filling. Plus, perfect if you're horrible at Spanish because you don't have to make any decisions and you generally know what you're getting.

Icecream cones as reward for surviving the hike down! Also, we ran into the German couple that we'd been on the first day of the jungle expedition with. It was a pretty exciting moment and we just love them.

They're on a year-long round-the-world trip and I'm a wee bit jealous.

Does this look safe to you?

 How bout now?

Bus selfie. En route to El Pailon Del Diablo.

Pailon Del Diablo.

Scared of heights. It was high AND slippery.

Side note, I would spot my dad on occasion and my mouth kind of reminds me of what my dad's mouth looks like when he's really struggling with his last rep of bench press. Go family resemblances!

We had to crawl thru all sorts of caves and narrow walkways on the side of this cliff to get to the top of the waterfall. Super fun as long as you didn't think about an earthquake happening right then.

This is a great photo.

My best attempt at a jumping photo at the top. It's blurry and I was getting soaked.

Alisha and her many selfies...


And me and my jumping photos.

It's super hard to jump on a swing bridge. Also, that swing bridge moved too much for comfort. Especially with Pumba stomping around behind me on purpose!

These puppies were fluffy and adorable and most assuredly had fleas.

This car was behind us as we were riding back in a random truck with a bunch of other tourists and we had to laugh at the roll of toilet paper on the dashboard. The lady in the front seat kept covering her face every time we tried to take a picture. The people in the car were actually really good sports and laughed about it. I was mostly jealous that they had toilet paper...

These hot baths are the namesake of Banos. We had high expectations, even though the German couple warned us that it was a total let down and they were far too crowded. I think that's really what egged us on. The main pool was closed so everyone was crowding in the hottest pool. It was bodies up on bodies and super hard to get real estate on the bench along the wall.

There was an awkward moment when a space opened up and I decided to start claiming my territory but the lady next to me commented: "that space is saved".

I defended myself by acting like I was really just there to get a picture of Greg and Alisha. It was a good save but I was still bitter I didn't get my wall seat! There were definitely too many people in that pool.

And they overcharged Greg $2 to get in and then we still had to buy these ridiculous shower caps. Not to mention the mandatory shower. Some Ecuadorian man pointed me and Alisha in the direction of the hot showers but there was nothing hot about the showers we found.

The bath was warm though so I won't complain about that.

"We just paid 35 cents to look this cool."

"So many semi-nude bodies. Also, the man behind me needs to stop rubbing his belly."

Greg's sunburn...

This is the picture that the girl who kicked me off of my wall spot offered to take when she realized I was "just moving there to take a couple pictures".

I think it's funny because Alisha is perfectly blurred out.

Also, Greg in a shower cap. I'm so glad the Internet gets to see this.

So, in conclusion, yes to the swing, yes to the waterfalls, no to the baths. Except, yes to the baths because it's an experience. But only once. And only if you have a gallon of cold water stationed nearby. They make you thirsty!

Have a great day :-)

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