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Turning around

ECUADOR | Saturday, 26 May 2007 | Views [1097] | Comments [1]

So after my last post, I went back to the hostal and knocked on the neighboring backpackers' room door to introduce myself, and well we are all surprised to find out that I had met them only days earlier at Crossroads in Quito! What are the chances?! They had already been there one night and were leaving the next day, however, and I, realizing that I won't be hiking on my own or staying in a hostel in a cloudforest alone, have accompanied them. Maybe one day when I'm more experienced and less nervous I'll be able to stay by myself in the middle of the forest but that day is not TOday, and frankly right now I would rather be with people than not.

We awoke at 5:45am the next morning, to the desperate and frequent cries of roosters and various rainforest birds and insects, to catch our bus at 6:30. As it turns out, the bus to Mindo does indeed only leave Quito twice a day, and if you catch the one that leaves every 30 minutes you'll end up close to Mindo, but 8km away ;) I found out that the girls were headed to Baños, which I wanted to see anyway, so we are now settled comfortably in Baños (after 7 hours on a bus). Although I was almost robbed on the bus as it left Quito!

Vendors hop on and off buses pitching their goods, and one man in particular came to me, sitting at the very back of the bus in a rather open area, and literally held candy an inch from my face,¨"trying to sell" it. I looked down just in time to see his free hand on my mp3 player! So I grabbed it and said "No no, no, that's mine." He went away and sat down and I put my music away.

But literally a minute later he came back, holding the candy in front of my face again. By now I had moved my bags to the floor between my feet and the window, and my mp3 player was in my pocket. I looked down again, to see him sneaking his foot under my seat to try to pull out my backpack. I blocked it and he went away again. But he kept looking back, every 30 seconds. I would stare him down and he would look away.

All of a sudden one of the Swedish girls I was with said we had to move to the front. The back where we were was empty except for us, and the front was packed, so we sat in a crowded area, and the guy who had been watching me got off the bus.

I later found out from Bella that there had actually been 3 guys who were all changing seats and looking at us, trying to trap us in the back and block us from the view of the driver (who was also watching them)! It was quite scary. But after the initial shock wore away the rest of the ride was great, and the buses in Ecuador are faaarr more comfortable than a Greyhound! And now we are in Baños- today we hiked to the thermal baths (where the city got its name...Baños literally means baths in Spanish) and relaxed in the mineral-soaked pools among Ecuadorian tourists and locals, looking out at green mountains and rivers surrounding us.

It's beautiful here. And the people are just ridicuously sweet and helpful! It's touristy, yet not crowded and there are plenty of friendly locals. It's small but there's tons to do and it's loaded with hostels, restaurants (including vegetarian sections on lots of the menus!), music stores, and colorful handmade things. And everywhere you go, you get a gorgeous view of the mountains, waterfalls, and even the volcano!

Anyone ever in Ecuador, I 100% recommend Baños. And the Hostel Las Vegas. Come one, come all!

Tags: people

Comments

1

AAAH fuck your stupid countries of non-safeitude!!!
I'm so never going anywhere where english isn't the first and foremost language and I totally don't care what I'm missing out on :P

  carolyn Jun 3, 2007 9:47 AM

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