Sunday, October 7, 2012

Banos, our last day!

It was our third day in Banos, and we knew that it is not going to be enough! Every time we come to a place like this, Johan would say with regret. "We could have stayed here for two weeks!" 

He started with a healthy breakfast with the Ecuadorians at the market, and enjoyed his 'plato' of pork, rice, baked potatoes and salad. Just to add a touch of health! I couldn`t stomach that so early, and went to Coco pan for a cup of herbal tea, and their freshly baked health breads, with a touch of very healthy sweet jam!

With all the spa`s around we could pick and choose, but unfortunately we chose the wrong one! How do you know? We went to a Chinese place, for a typical Chinese massage, and we thought the Chinese women was going to do the massage. But her wrist was injured, and we were at the hands of an Ecuadorian women. As I said it was no good, and I didn`t even feel like going to another.

We needed some fresh air, and after fetching Marco at the hostel, we started hiking up the road, on our way to some 'baths'. Luckily we got lost along the road, with Marco moaning, It was quite a challenging uphill road! Ahead of us, was the huge volcano, Tungarapua, and all the time we were in Banos, it was covered with clouds. It felt like we were climbing this volcano, although it stayed at a safe distance. We met a man next to the road, and he was curious about us. I think he couldn`t believe these three people walking this road. He said the word, Navasu, or something like that, but that word was not part of my Little Spanish lexicon.

A little footpath was turning to the right, and we had no intention really walking up a volcano, which erupted a while ago, so we took it. It was so beautiful, as we followed it, and we realised that it was going to the little place we saw from uphill. We came to the bottom, with the river and the waterfalls, and realised that there was no way we could cross the river. Oh no, there was no way I had the strength left to go up that hill again! A man came to our rescue, and waved from the other side, very happy to see us three. We were just as happy! He send us an iron kind of basket chair, and Johan went first. He was the heaviest, we thought, if that chair could hold him, we would be safe. It was such a feeling crossing a river on a chair.

Naguasu! It was the name of this little delapidated restaurant. The pools were dry, the place was dark, and we could see that not a lot of people visited this place lately. But Don Pedro, our host lit up the place, he filled the pools with sparkling laughter. He made us black coffee, and tea, no milk available down here.

 Something inside me stirred, and I knew this was the kind of place I could hide away from the world! I could heat up my water in the fire place, I could sweep the floors, I could wash the dusty curtains, and invite the sun into this place! We sat outside in the peace of the jungle, sipping our tea...

Don Pedro love this place, and I walked in his garden, sniffing at the crushed leaves of all the herbs I could find. He followed me, and soon was giving us a tour around the garden into his jungle, showing us all of it. We saw the striped caterpillars in the fennel, waiting to turn into the'marajilla mariposa' soon! He opened up fruit from the trees for us to taste, he showed us soft leaves, they use in the jungle for toilet paper, even nicely scented. Marco even got onto the swing hanging from a tree.

High up in a tree, we saw the tree house! Marco tested the swinging ladder going up, as his Dad and Don Pedro hang onto it. I had to go next, and believe me, I take my hat of for Marco being so brave. It was high and dodgy, but as I reached the top, the trees opened up to a beautiful view.

It was getting dark, and we had to say good bye to our friend. I left with a flower in my hand, a gift from his garden. Thank you, Don Pedro, for this wonderful memory in an unforgettable place.

We went back to town, criss crossing the river, and luckily not going up the mountain again. On our journey traveling the world, it is always unexpected days unfolding like this one that touches me
with a powerful force, staying with me forever. As we walked back, we turned around, and behind us, the clouds lifted, and we could see Tungarapua, majestically towering over the town!

Our bodies were tired, but we were exhilirated by the day, and we went down town to the Baths! It was not open yet, and we sat in a line with the other people.  Luckily we were early, and as the gates opened and we paid the fee, the hot pools were still empty. It was cold outside, and the water in the pools was hot, coming straight from Earth. If the water is so hot, I thought, how does that volcano look like deep down in this Earth, to keep it so warm?

We got out of the hot pools, jumping very quickly into the ice cold pool, but then we were starving. Pizza! We found the best pizza in along time, and a liter of fruity white wine! And that night I slept without hearing the noise in the streets!

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