On Sunday, not feeling my best, I did very little apart from walk in to town for supplies, once it had stopped raining, which it had been doing very heavily all morning. I have been very lucky with the weather here so far and, given that it is the rainy season, I can’t complain about a bit of rain now.
I was on the move again on Monday. This time to Banos, which I thought was a 4 hour trip. However, I managed to get an Express bus, which meant that there was no stopping and starting at random places. People were not allowed to board without a ticket and several people were ejected for this reason before we even started. Consequently, I was in Banos within 2 1/2 hours, which was wonderful as I had had enough of buses by this stage. It did take me by surprise, though, when we stopped by the side of the road and the bus conductor called out ‘Banos’. There had been a number of rather up market hotels along the way into town and I was wondering where I was!
It was pouring with rain when I stepped off the bus and walked across the road to the bus terminal where I was able to pick up a taxi to Casa Verde, the guest house I had booked that is a little way out of town. I was warmly greeted by Jemima and Quiquo (?), a Welsh and Argentinian couple, who are managing Casa Verde whilst its Kiwi owners are travelling. The house is set in a valley, close to the river and with a view of the mountains. There are plenty of books to read and I have a lovely large room with an extremely comfortable mattress, which is definitely a bonus, as the last one was more than a little thin and saggy.
Once the rain had stopped, I walked the 20 minutes into town and had a wander around, principally in search of a laundry (clean clothes situation being a little desperate) and an ATM. The former proved difficult to find and I was eventually directed to one in a hostel and could dispose of my load. Needless to say, when I was walking around the following day, I found dozens of laundries!
Banos is a very touristy town but still appealing, mainly because it is set in the mountains. It attracts people who like adventure sports such as canyoning and ziplining. There are several thermal baths and plenty of walking tracks so there is not a shortage of activities. The businesses comprise massage shops offering a variety of massage and beauty treatments, hostels and souvenir shops. It is very busy but the tourists seem to mingle in with the locals and don’t appear too obtrusive.
Once I had stopped at the supermarket, I then strolled back to the guest house where I spent a leisurely evening. I had a delicious quinoa and vegetable soup, an Ecuadorian specialty, for dinner at the house so didn’t even have to go in search of food.