Friday, July 20th
We went to Sinamune this morning and had orchestra rehearsal. However, no students were coming and after waiting an hour doing nothing, Zach, Paige, and I asked if they had anything for us to do the rest of the day. They said no, and let us go ahead and leave for Baños.
This was a good thing because we ended up getting very lost on the Quito bus system trying to find our way to the Southern terminal Quitumbe, where we would get a bus to Baños. 2.5 hours and four buses later we still hadn’t made it to Quitumbe, so we made the decision to split a taxi. Fortunately, taxis are very affordable, and we easily made it in the taxi. (PSA: Just because the bus says QUITUMBE on top does NOT mean that it goes to Quitumbe.)
We bought our bus tickets to Baños and settled in for the 3.5 hour ride. It was scenic and not too long. Upon arrival, I contacted our AirBnB hosts, Mayra and Manuel. They met us to show us the apartment and they were the sweetest old couple. They had lived in Baños their whole lives and were very proud of their town. Mayra made us jugo de babaco (another new fruit), which was delicious! Then they offered to take us on a tour of their town. They drove us around in their truck to the beautiful viewpoint on the top of the hill and also showed us the baths in the city.
The others were arriving in Baños throughout the evening, so we waited and met them. Katie arrived from Quito, Sarah and Jane arrived from the coast, and Jonah and Emily arrived from Riobamba. It was great to see some old friends and to meet some new ones.
Saturday July 21st
Unfortunately, it rained almost all day today. Paige and I found some great coffee shops, but we didn’t get to do all of the outdoor stuff we had intended because of the weather. At least, though, we all went on a tour to Casa del Arbol, where we rode “the swing at the end of the world.” It was exhilarating and made the trip worth it.
Sunday, July 22nd
Paige came with me to mass this morning at the Basilica de la Virgen de Agua Santa. It was a beautiful basilica and service. After that, we got crepes for breakfast and were ready to head home. We were soaking wet and exhausted and still had the bus ride to Quitumbe and then from Quitumbe to our houses. Katie came home with us.
The way back was much easier and we found the right bus from Quitumbe to go home. Baños was a beautiful little town, and I’m sad that the weather was so miserable. Apparently they were having record low temperatures this weekend, and there were a lot of mudslides there this weekend that were all over the Ecuadorian national news. I would love to go back sometime and truly get to experience all the town has to offer. For now though, I am happy to be snug and warm in my bed in Quito.
Pictures to come soon! I am working on figuring out how to upload them, haha.