Since we had a few days free and we were both healthy, we decided to get out of the city for a bit. So Tuesday morning we got up early, stopped at a restaurant in La Mariscal for pancakes and hopped on a bus to the Trebo. The Trebo is basically a big traffic loop, but it is also the last pick-up for buses leaving Quito. After a two-minute wait a bus passed which was headed towards Baños (our final destination) we boarded and about 4 hours later we arrived. Baños is a tourist town, but is by no means garish. It is nestled in a valley between volcanoes and on one end of town there is a waterfall and hot-spring baths. Tuesday we walked around the town, ate lunch and checked out the possible activities for Wednesday (we decided on a biking/rafting tour). That night we headed to the pools and soaked for awhile, enjoying the view and hot water. The next morning we got up early and ate breakfast in the gorgeous terrace at our hostel (eggs, fresh rolls with pineapple jam, tea, and fresh passion fruit juice). We met a nice Swiss guy at breakfast and discovered that he and a friend were signed up for the same tour as us. So we walked down the street to a “Rainforest Tours” where our guide, Enrique, handed over our bikes. Enrique is an Ecuadorian with the look of a Californian. He did an excellent job yucking it up with the clients. The bike-ride was almost completely down-hill and he liked to take both hands off the handlebars and sing “Vamos a la playa, la, la, la” which translates to “We’re going to the beach, la, la, la.” We stopped a few times on the bike ride to learn the names of waterfalls or national parks we passed (we were assured there would be a test later). At one waterfall you could pay a buck to ride on the longest and highest cable-car ride in Ecuador which passed directly over the cascade. It was flippin awesome. At the end of the bike ride we hiked in the forest a bit, saw another spectacular waterfall, a suspension bridge, and some rainforest foliage. Then we rode in a van to the launching place for the rafting. Enrique passed out wetsuits, lifejackets, paddles, and helmets and took us through a saftey demonstration where we also learned the commands he used (forward, backpaddle, get in there´s a big rock, and gimme five). He was an excellent coxswain “faster, faster, paddle faster!” He also liked to pull on the back of our lifejackets and dunk us in the river during the slow parts. We throughly enjoyed ourselves. The only problem was that Tim´s sunscreen washed off with all the splashing and his shoulders got fried. Hopefully we´ll get a chance to post some pics of the trip soon.
Sadly, we´re back in the city now and we both start work on Monday. But we´re excited to be moving this weekend – the cleaner air and proximity to work will be great! Plus our host family has been harder to convince that tim really can´t ever eat anything with milk in it (even if it has just a little) and that I not only don´t eat meat, but I also don´t eat chicken. So we´re looking forward to having a little more space and being able to control what we eat.