Out of the four-month, 20. 000 km South/Central to North America trip, we spent 3 weeks in Ecuador. We arrived into Equador through Peru by bus on the 1st January 2002. It was rather an awkward welcoming because everyone seemed hungover, but the rest of the trip turned out to be perfect.
One of the first places that took our fancy was the thermal spring town of Baños, based at the bottom of the
volcano. This volcano erupted a couple of years earlier and the whole village had the escape. Baños was covered in ashes, but gradually the population came back. Everywhere is town there are emergency evacuation signs painted on the road, in case of an imminent eruption. This is a very up and coming little town catered for tourists. They even have their own Hard Rock Café, where I had my first ever
Caipirinha cocktail. I preferred this city for its atmosphere rather than its hot springs, which looked more like swimming pools rather than natural springs.
Cable car crossing just outside on Baños.
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I also had my first and only tattoo done here by a young, but talentful artist. It was done early in the morning and I was not completly awake. When he started darting me with his needle gun, I had the feeling that all my blood rushed away from my brain and to my arm which was being "beautified", meaning I almost fainted. Sylvia was asked to go and buy some soda and sweets to help me cope. The deed lasted 30 minutes and it was thirty minutes of pure pain. Then it was the turn of Sylvia, whose third tattoo it would be. She decided on a beautiful but complicated design. Hers lasted 3 hours and 15 minutes. She made a face for that long!! Check out the video.
Paulp and Sylvia being tattooed
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We found the urge to have a little bit of an adventure and trekking into the Amazonas seemed appropriate. We found ourselves in a little village called Misahualli. It seemed a little bit like a ghost town. The little main square had its little family of monkeys, that were not afraid of grabbing your day pack to rummage for food. They were so cute that we could only laugh. During dinner at the restaurant, these little monkeys would land on your table, knock you glass of juice and start licking the table. What a laugh. While having a shower, Sylvia found a bat just resting in the cool of the shower tub.
Our Amazon adventure started when we met Domingo on the river bank who started telling us about Angelo the experienced guide.