Thursday, November 11, 2010

Baños Pt 2

This post is getting ridiculously long. Okay, for the rest of the story I'm going to have to borrow some photos taken on Michael's camera since mine was left, safe and dry, at the bottom of the waterfall. After getting there on bike, we hiked for about fifteen minutes until coming to the entrance ($1) where we all made a joint decision for future dry clothes over modesty, and left most of what we were wearing at the bottom. The climb up did get us soaking wet, since the mist from the waterfall fell heavily on everything around it.
To get to the very top-most point possible, one had to climb through a narrow rock ledge. These pictures look like something out of a different photo shoot entirely...
It got a little pagan up there...
"I stuck my finger in a waterfall!" - Tom
The gang! We all made it back to the town of Baños, safe and more or less dry, and ravenous! Thankfully, a completely random but delicious pizzeria was waiting...
followed by some dune-buggying; because really, why not? And thus concluded the Day of Doing Dangerous Deeds...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Weekend Update #5: Baños

or, "The Day of Doing Dangerous Deeds"

Gone are the days when news from the weekend quickly followed the conclusion of the actual weekend... Ecuador has gotten to me, guys. Anyway, after an uneventful weekend spent day-tripping to Mindo for butterflies and zip-lining (it was terrifying - the zip-lining, that is), we headed off the next weekend for a full three-day trip to Baños, literally "baths", known for its hot springs and outdoor turisty adventures.
Waking up early was rewarded by a delicious pancake breakfast :)

Super-organized Brian managed to convince us all to wake up and be ready to go at 8am (can you believe that) but it was all worth it - we had the most amazing bike ride laid out. For $5 each, we all got a bike and a tiny piece of paper with a map on it, showing us the route via a (thankfully) downward-sloping highway and some back roads, to an incredible view of a waterfall. This is our story.
We biked for a good while, down the winding highway in a light drizzle, before coming to this gem of a tourist trap: the Canyon Basket of DEATH!! (Okay I actually have no idea what its name was, or even if it had a name. Probably not, come to think of it.)
For the low, low price of $1.50, this guy:
pulled a lever that send us flying over the canyon beneath, over a double waterfall to the other side, where this highly trained operator:
let us out. Really, I wish I was kidding about this. But, since we survived that, we figured the next step would be to go bouldering in the canyon above the waterfall. Cost: 25 cents.
One of these rivers comes from the countryside. The other runs alongside farmland and a mining pit. Can you tell which is which?
Look for Michael...
Tom, the only one to still be wearing his bike helmet, stayed on the bridge. Laaame.
Michael got a little out of control...
But soon we were all back, and sent on our way by the three-year-old.
More biking along the scenic path next to the highway, until we reached Dangerous Deed #2...
Oh no.
Puenting. (Literally, "bridging," kind of like bungee-jumping lite.) Michael, Ben, and Jeff all manned-up for the challenge. Michelle also womaned-up, opting for the "swing" from the neighboring bridge from which we all watched. I got the following gems:
Jeff (wasn't quite quick enough on that one)
Aaand Michelle. The cost was somewhere around $20 to jump of the bridge, and even though it wasn't entirely out of the question for me to do it, I really didn't feel like paying that much, (I mean, that's like, a hostel and two-way bus ticket for the weekend!) Although as Tom pointed out, would you want to pay any *less* to jump off a bridge?? Point.