Monday, April 14, 2014

Yoo 600 - Canyoning and Karaoke

After dinner at an expensive ($6-a-plate) Mexican restaurant and before hot bathing with the locals, we searched around for an adventure company and something to do the next day. If something is adventurous, you can do it in Banos. Alisha had all these "let's Superman across a giant gorge or hang-glide off a cliff" ideas and I took the part of a tactful veto.

I would say age makes you more conservative but we were there celebrating her 30th so I guess that's not always the case.

We walked into a few different tour companies, unable to reach a consensus, before wandering into one where they sat us on a couch and started playing videos of all the things we could do. It was a really effective sales tactic! Twenty-minutes later we had all gotten excited about canyoning and dropped down a $20 deposit for the next morning.

I think this is the only not completely unflattering picture of me in a wet suit. If I learned anything canyoning, it's that I'm not ready to be casted as Catwoman quite yet. Darn...

My shoes didn't match.

Harness diapers!

The hike up was NOT in the video they had shown us! It was only 15-20 minutes but pretty intense. Especially in the heat and humidity wearing a wet suit. Also, Greg's suit was super tight because they didn't have his size and he couldn't breath to begin with. We were only half-dressed by the time we got to the first falls as a desperate attempt not to roast.

Then our guide dunked us to fill up the suits and I did not enjoy that. Still hate cold water.

"Guys, I didn't sign up to go first...he knows I'm not going first, right??"

Now THIS is a trust-exercise. She was perpendicular to the rock and we still aren't sure that that was what the guide wanted her to do, but he kept insisting on something and didn't stop insisting until she was posed like this...

As you can imagine, the rocks were super slippery. It was not the most graceful rappelling. Except for our guide. He was literally running down these rocks face-first.

I was actually impressed with Greg's rappelling skills. Except for the one time his foot slipped into a crevice while his body went the other way and he almost did serious damage to his ankle...which would have been a problem.

Alisha, was this where you peed in your wetsuit? I hope not!

For the record, peeing in your wetsuit is a unique experience, but not recommended.

There was one point during a rappel where the guide told me to stop for some reason and I wasn't even half-way down the wall. For me, rappelling is fun until I'm given an opportunity to pause and let my imagination run wild with the possibilities of equipment failure. It was no bueno.

This was about the scariest start to a rappel. We were on a super steep, super slippery rock and had to position ourselves on an anchored piece of ladder before jumping off.

Also related, our hands were pruney and we didn't have gloves.

Fifty meters was our tallest rappel. It doesn't seem that bad from the bottom...but from the top it might as well be an abyss.

It's all fun and games...

...until your guide rips off the top-half of your warm wetsuit...

...and makes you slide...

...into the freezing water.

And then you scramble out and he pulls you back in. Five times.

Alisha's getting all cozy with our guide in this picture because she didn't have the opportunity to on the salsa dance floor later that night. He asked her several different times! Unfortunately we had a bus to Quito to catch right after our trip.

Will dance for food.

Greg's food. This was shortly before I ate my whole plate, lettuce included. About 5 seconds after I'd eaten my lettuce, the meal conversation turned to how lettuce was almost impossible to clean and how you should never eat the lettuce. Apparently both Greg and Alisha knew this and hadn't been eating their lettuce throughout the entirety of this trip.

Guess who had?

Thanks for the warning guys!

Killing time waiting for the bus. We also ran into the missionaries! And they spoke English! Probably because they were both from Utah but it was exciting.

Also exciting was that time when I guessed right. We were buying our bus tickets to Quito and there were two different terminals to choose from. Each quite a ways from each other. I had no idea where we needed to be in Quito and where these terminals were in relation to that place but I went with my gut feeling and what do you know?


It actually got us within 3 blocks of our intended destination but we wouldn't know that until after paying a taxi $3 to drive us those 3 blocks...

We had a momentary lapse of judgment wherein we spotted a Papa Johns right next to our bus stop in Quito. "Well how exciting!" We all thought. "We're starving! Pizza for dinner!" But nope. We walked in and it was about $20 for a medium-sized pizza.


So instead we paid a taxi driver $3 to drive us 3 blocks. Remember this? We didn't know our way around at all but knew where we needed to be at 7am the next morning and figured we could just find a hostel nearby. Enter the search for a taxi because we figured we were a long ways off this location. And the driver assured us that we were.

We definitely weren't.

But we found a hostel and were wandering around looking for dinner when a mariachi man pulled us into his Mexican restaurant and the food wasn't good and the total for dinner was even more than the Papa Johns pizza.


And then we slept on super squeaky bunk beds in a room filled with incense.

Wait. I ALMOST FORGOT. Before the squeaky bunk beds and after the expensive bland Mexican food, we did karaoke.  Per Alisha's request who felt like we needed to party at least one night. Single people! So we slipped into one of the places with a flashy KARAOKE sign and sat at a table next to the only other group of people around. About 5 minutes later they were hitting on Alisha and buying us drinks. And by drinks I mean juice. Then we took turns singing our Spanish and English songs and about 5 minutes after that one of the guys (speaking thru an interpreter) informed us that he was a guard for the president's house and would like to give us a tour if we came during visiting hours on Saturday. The weird thing is I think he was actually serious.

It was tempting, for sure, but we had to decline. There were several more passes of the microphone until I finally convinced Alisha that it was bed time.

NOW enter the squeaky bunk beds.

Have a great day :-)

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